Growing up, it was a struggle for me to feel a sense of belonging regardless of where I lived or who was in my life. It seemed like I was living in my own world most of the time and seemingly oblivious to what was going on around me. I always felt somehow different and disconnected. It felt like there was something wrong or missing in my life that I couldn’t quite grasp.
This presented me with a massive challenge throughout most of my life, as the core need I sought after was to feel loved and connected to others. But it seemed that no matter how hard I attempted to prove to others how “worthy” I was of their acceptance, it would only push people away.
This led to a lot pain and suffering as I could not understand why others would seemingly just gravitate towards each other in close friendships and romantic relationships and yet I was struggling to barely fit in.
My subconscious belief at the time was that people didn’t accept me because I was not “good enough” for them. I believed that if everyone simply saw how smart, resourceful, creative, and kind I was, that people would finally accept and love me.
But the harder I tried, the more people pushed me away. I was constantly ostracized by my peers and rejected by women that I conveyed interest in. These experiences further ingrained the belief that I was inherently unlovable and worthless if others would not accept me.
It was only later in my early 20’s, when I began to work on myself more seriously, that I realized how disconnected I was from my emotions and learned to shut myself down to avoid feeling all the pain and heartbreak I experienced in my life.
I actually took pride in my ability to remain completely emotionally detached from life and live up in my head. I believed that relying on emotions was a weakness and made us flawed and illogical which held us back.
This inclination towards valuing knowledge over emotion served to help me grow intellectually very rapidly. However, my relationships suffered immensely. I began to see that no matter how “smart” I got, or how much stuff I knew, it did not seem to win me any friends or make me any happier. I only managed to grow more lonely and depressed as time went on.
It was time to make radical changes in my life. I needed to shift my priorities and values to allow myself to begin truly experiencing my emotions and doing what it took to finally be “happy” and feel connected to others. This decision took me down the path of serious emotional healing work.
“… without a doubt the heart is an inexhaustible source of love, insight, and intelligence that far surpasses that of the mind.”
― Baptist de Pape
It felt like I had opened my own emotional Pandora’s box and was not prepared to handle what came out. All my old wounds involving my insecurities, abandonment, rejection, and heartbreak rushed to the surface screaming for my attention.
Growing up I had accumulated a plethora of experiences to ingrain the belief that I was worthless and unlovable, from regular bullying in school to mental abuse at home. I adapted to absorb it all by shutting down emotionally so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain. However, if you shut yourself off from feeling pain, you also shut yourself off from experiencing much of anything else too.
Until then, I never considered myself an emotionally sensitive person. But after beginning to navigate this unknown emotional landscape, my only impulse was to attempt to shut down again in the hope of avoiding the intensity of a lifetime’s worth of pain.
On this journey of healing, I recognized and began to embrace my emotional sensitivity as a gift. And the lesson that I am continually reminded of (often painfully) is that we must learn to keep our hearts open despite the pain.
“When you open to your heart, your entire world changes–it opens up around you. You see yourself as part of a friendly universe, one that is full of possibility, one that is generating and regenerating a positive energy.”
― Baptist de Pape
My greatest breakthroughs and lessons came from staying with the pain and continuing to remain present with my feelings rather than shutting down. As an emotionally sensitive person, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and simply to shut down and build up walls in attempt to protect your heart.
I had suffered many years before I learned this powerful lesson that completely shifted my experience. It didn’t shield me from other inevitable pain and disappointments, but it provided me with the capacity to continue feeling my feelings despite the circumstances.
It has made me and my heart stronger knowing that I am capable of moving through any experiences that may arise, no matter how challenging. In the face of great emotional turmoil, I will stand my ground and not run away or shut down.
“The power of the heart is to be connected with who you are at the deepest level.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
This is ultimately the path of true transformation and growth. If we truly wish to experience the fullest depth of our being and what is possible for us, then we must have the courage to face ourselves and continue to keep ourselves open.
Alexanndre Levan is dedicated to living a self-actualized life. He shares his facility to bring wisdom and consciousness teachings down-to-earth to empower those on the path of spiritual awakening. He is especially committed to illuminating and activating the path for Millennial Leaders to live meaningful and purposeful lives, realizing their potential through embracing the higher-consciousness that is coming into the world today.
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