- Charlotte Otto, MS, LPC-S
When I am overwhelmed with life or other situations, I find it is time to do some "inner-work". I remember to stop, think a minute or two, then act. If I am really angry about something ... I take a few deep breaths and call a time out. And sometimes, when I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, I forget and react and create a new situation that is not necessarily my best case scenario. I forget to HALT before I say or do something that I am going to regret later. So my inner work begins.
I am not always aware of my emotions, if and when I am emotional, am I ready to talk or to understand what is going on inside me? As a young child, growing up in the countryside with my big sis and my lil' sis at my side, as forever playmates, I was sort of invisible. Growing up with older parents (gosh, really, they were born in 1911 and 1917), I heard the message "little children are to be seen and not heard." I also learned when I was upset and crying over hurt feelings or rough housing or a stolen toy, that I had "better pipe down or I'll give you something to cry for". So at a very early early age, I learned to hush up, and stuff my feelings. In my early years , I often felt invisible. I have learned over the years that I am not invisible and that I have a voice and that I don't have to stuff my feelings. And at times I forget, and fall into old patterns of reacting! That's time to do my inner work "hey, what is going on with me" before blaming someone else, I learn to make amends for my actions, words spoken or things done or left undone.
Regret or guilt can prompt me to know that I have a choice in my actions and I have to be true to myself and others, because it is never my intention to hurt anyone with my actions or words. It is better to clear the slate on my side of the road and repair any damage done. I have learned a sweet simple prayer to say in times like these, when I have done wrong ... said the wrong thing ... or even thought the wrong thing. "Change Me; Bless (first name)". It helps me to let go of things.
I am no more perfect in this world than the work I am willing to do on myself. So beginning to own my feelings, check them out: what is my part? my intention?what do I need? Sometimes, putting others first, what do they need? How can I be a better communicator in relationship with the world, my family and friends, my spouse?
Am I willing to begin and be as honest as I can be, with myself, to make changes needed to better myself and family? It doesn't happen overnight. It's possible to get to that better place, begin to feel deep inside without fear, and clearly voice what needs to be said ... it's a daily process.