Sunday, April 17, 2022

Soul Cleanse 38: Shadow Work Updates


Greetings everyone! The Unleashed One here. Before I dive into this Soul Cleanse ...

For those who celebrate Easter, Happy Easter. For those who do not, I am sending positive, peaceful, and productive vibes your way.

It has been close to three years since I've done my last Soul Cleanse post.  The title of it: Nope, not today. This Soul Cleanse isn't going to be a continuation of what was occurring back then. It's more so an update on how I've been doing, especially topics I've been addressing during my Shadow Work.

Without further delay, let's get into it.

Update on Shadow Work 3: Inauthenticity

One of the topics I wrote about in this post concerned my inability to express to people (mainly those closest to me) that I'm not doing well. In the post, I covered all of my reasons behind that, so I won't rehash them here. However, how can I open the door for loved ones to be there for me if I keep silent? I also recognized the emotional and mental carnage that was placed on me due to being silent.

Since that post in September 2020, I have made significant strides in not using the default answer when asked "How am I doing?" with those I consider close. Funny enough, I am more apt to disclose emotional discomfort than physical discomfort, which is strange because I have written about my medical struggles in multiple entries. I guess it just depends on which one is more bothersome at that time I am having my experiences. 

What I do still need help with is how to communicate with others that just because I am going through something or expressed an issue, that doesn't automatically mean I want the person to fix it or that it's an open door to give advice. Most of the time (I say about 95%) when I say I'm not okay and I express what is troubling me, it's to have an outlet, so I'm not stewing on the topic. Admittedly, some topics, I get deep in my head about, and that deep dive, dependent on that trajectory, can land me in the Sunken Place.

If I do want advice on something, I will say, "What do you suggest?", "What do you think?", "Am I looking at this wrong?", "How would you handle it?", etc. I recognize it is on me to not preface prior to speaking on my issue, "I'm not looking for advice. I just need to vent." 

Another struggle involved utilizing my "no" in social settings where food was being served that I don't eat a lot of or no longer eat at all. I went into detail in that post involving how I was brought up ... that to say "no" when food was being offered was seen as rude. If I wasn't going to finish the plate in one sitting, then one took it to go. There was no "throwing away food".

Since then, I've dealt with it in the following ways:

(1) If I'm able to avoid attending the event, I will just say no.

(2) If I know in advance there is an event coming up that doesn't have or provide some of my healthy options, then I make preparations. Some of those preparations range from fasting or eating light days prior to the event to adjusting my fitness regimen accordingly. I may even have a filling meal prior to prevent overindulging in the food options at the event.

(3) I now avoid taking food "to go". Since eating healthier, if I don't eat the dish in that setting, it's less of a possibility I have it for leftovers. If I can't get anyone else to eat it, then I just leave it at the restaurant.

I am feeling less guilty about not eating everything that is on my plate. It does help that the plates I use are plates with dividers or the salad size plates rather than the traditional dinner plates. It assists me in  portioning, so that I can have a realistic view of what is proper to consume versus overindulgence.

Update on Shadow Work 8: Heartbreak and Personal Accountability

In that Shadow Work, I revisited a topic I hadn't written about much since it occurred almost 14 years ago. Many online got to know me through journal entries concerning this particular person. The Shadow Work asked if I was somehow responsible, and although difficult, I worked through my part in the demise of the situation and was able to do so without the pain surrounding the relationship bubbling back to the surface. 

Doing this Shadow Work exercise opened the pathway for me to become more forthright when expressing my discomfort in relationships. Since I do remain dedicated to "making stuff make sense", it can be a process for me to get my thoughts together. I am working on being less concerned about the person's reaction (re: going over different scenarios in my head) and more focused on the benefit of me stating my piece to avoid having my peace disrupted. With people who are not on the top totem pole in my life, I don't have that length of hesitation. It's mainly with people I care about.

There are some who don't like my approach (re: could be "kinder"), but my directness gets misread as being rude, uncaring, or ruthless. People who really believe that either (1) don't know me at all, (2) lack the emotional maturity to handle real, honest, conversations, or (3) I've tried communicating in other ways but it just hasn't been effective. 

I can offer apologies for hurt feelings, but I'm no longer offering apologies for speaking on the topic. If a friendship or romantic relationship is made of grit, one should be able to talk without there having to be a full-on meltdown. Everyone's communication style is different as well as how conflict is handled. As for me, if I'm extremely livid, I do need to disconnect and reassess. I don't like going back and forth with people. I don't like people trying to gaslight me or invalidate my feelings. I don't like people insisting on getting the last word or continue to talk once they know that I need space. Otherwise, my mouth can get foul, cutthroat, and reckless ... or the most frequent outcome, I shut down.

When I'm given the opportunity to calm down and process, then I can come back to the table. If I don't come back to the table, then said individual really messed up, because only people whose company I don't give a damn about get that finite treatment.

Now, I'm not afraid to let go of those I've outgrown. I can appreciate the nostalgia without being with the person in any capacity whatsoever. Note: Not being afraid doesn't mean that it isn't difficult; the decision just doesn't have as much emotional impact as it once did.

Update on Shadow Work 10: Promises to Myself

In the last Shadow Work, posted in January 2021, I spoke about certain relationships and behaviors I unexpectantly returned to. In particular, patterns that existed in romance. After my last romantic involvement ended in late summer of 2018, I have put a pause on activity as it relates to dating. 

I'm not going to say that it doesn't have moments where it can be lonesome, but that loneliness never sticks around for me. Having this space where I am not involved with anyone has given me the opportunity to reconnect with myself, as well as redefine what I want and what I don't want. 

Am I any closer to giving it a try? I have branched out to do research. I may try a different site that I haven't before plus visiting someplace familiar, just to see if the landscape has changed. Who know what has happened since 2015/2016? 

Is it an experience I'm for sure going to do this year? Well, the jury is still out. If I decide to tap my toe, I am going to chronicle my experiences. It'd be cool if there could be an organic meeting of someone, without the presence of technology, but that's almost like anticipating a million dollars to show up on my doorstep.

Just like I would take the million dollars, I wouldn't mind the start of the "How we got together story" to go ... "I was taking a morning walk when I saw the other person, waiting patiently for his pet to finish peeing on someone's yard" ... or some such. For me, that sounds more romantic than matching on Facebook dating or Bumble ... 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♂️

I think I've given everyone enough reading material for now.

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