Sometimes we’re held hostage. Maybe we have an idea in our heads of how things “should” be, and we just can’t open to other possibilities; we’re chained to our vision. Or we might feel oppressed by fear about something we’re feeling that threatens the “way things are.” Sometimes we’ve become prisoner to someone else’s instability. It’s a terrible feeling when we aren’t free to do and say what feels right in our hearts. There are certain practicalities in life; we need a place to sleep that’s warm and safe, and we need food, and we also need connection, and sometimes we sacrifice a lot in service to those realities.
The thing is, it’s incredibly draining to engage with people who make us worry that they can’t handle the truth, whatever the truth may be for us. Having to sit on your hands or shove a metaphorical sock in your mouth so you don’t rock the boat, is not a sustainable way to go. At a certain point, you’re going to burst, and anyone in the near vicinity is going to get hit in the face with the shackles that were binding you.
We can allow ourselves to be held at bay by someone’s manipulation. Maybe we’re allowing ourselves to get sweet-talked, or we’re feeling guilty even though we haven’t done anything wrong, or we’re feeling guilty because we’re afraid we have. We may be stifled by our own self-limiting beliefs. We may be hostage to self-loathing or shame that was planted within us long ago. Whatever the case, and whatever the cause, you’re here to be free. You can’t utilize all of your energy if you have to divert a lot of it to dealing with what someone else insists you be for them, or what you insist on being for other people. You really have to be true to yourself to be free.
That means you have to heal old wounds, or they’ll own you. You have to reckon with your pain to liberate yourself. Free people aren’t on the run, and they aren’t numbed out, either. Living in alignment with what’s true for you is necessary if you want to be at peace. Sometimes you have to fight for your freedom, and then you have to guard it with boundaries. You have to get to a place where you can speak up and say, “No, that is not okay for me.” Living in fear isn’t really living, it’s like trying to breathe with an elephant sitting on your chest. You can’t manage other people’s pain, you can only keep your own side of the street clean.
Also, if you have some expectation of yourself that you aren’t supposed to make mistakes, you’re going to be disappointed a lot. If you feel the need to apologize to someone, and you don’t think doing so will be painful to them, or disruptive to their own healing process, by all means, go for it. Maybe you’ll be forgiven, and maybe not. Sometimes people have a story they’re holding onto to avoid doing their own work (sometimes we are all those people), but usually, eventually, we get bored of telling ourselves stories that keep us stuck, or make us powerless. Whatever the case, eventually you have to forgive yourself. Guilt doesn’t serve anyone. It doesn’t make things better for those we’ve disappointed, and it doesn’t help us do better moving forward. Shame rides with guilt, same scenario.
Life is too short to spend a lot of time living a life that isn’t everything it could be if you listened to your heart. That doesn’t mean you don’t try to do whatever you have to do with compassion and care for those who might be affected, but it does mean that the best thing you can give to yourself, to this world, and to the people you love is your heart, on fire.
Sending you love,
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