I wanted to scream and lash out.
I felt angry. I felt unheard and neglected. I wanted to run away and hide and shut down all at the same time.
Across from me sat my husband, completely unknown to the fury swirling around inside me. And why should he? On the outside, everything seemed fine.
We were on a nice morning walk into town together, chatting away. We both shared our plans for the day and I told him I was going to sit and work from my favourite coffee shop. He said he would join me. On our way, we walked past a restaurant where we’d enjoyed a coffee together the day before. He asked if I wanted here again, it was nice yesterday. Sure, let’s just go here.
But unbeknownst to him, I had a preference for the other option. And in the deciding moment, rather than choose the courage to state my own wants & needs, I chose ‘easy’. Oh, it doesn’t really matter anyway, I don’t feel that strongly about where we go.
We sat down. He ordered a green juice, I asked for the same.
Why did I do that? I’d wanted a coffee, why did I order a juice? I had been looking forward to the taste of coffee all morning. And actually, I wanted to go to the other place. It’s our last day here and I wanted to have a final coffee at the other place.
I’d brought a little pot of porridge that I’d made this morning with me. I was looking forward to eating that after my coffee. Why did I order juice?
I can’t even eat my own food in this place. And also I was going to pick up a gift for my mother from the other place. I have a set itinerary. Does this place even have wifi? That’s why I made the porridge.
Why did he have to hijack my plans? I had a plan. Now it’s ruined. I can’t even work from here anyway. There’s too much noise and distraction. Plus this chair is uncomfortable. Why did he not ask me what I wanted to do first?
I need to get over myself. It doesn’t even matter anyway. I can just go to the other place later. I’ll order food here. But I don’t want any of it. Why can’t I be more fluid and just go with the flow more? I can’t work here, it’s too noisy. I can’t concentrate.
Suddenly I stopped and saw the spiral I was going down.
I realized I was staring into space, completely frozen and visibly sulking. My husband asked me if I knew the wifi password, I snapped and asked why he didn’t just ask the waiter? He looked upset and confused. That’s when I knew I needed to move. Thank you embodiment practice!
I quickly took myself to the bathroom where I let my body express what my voice could not. I thrashed my arms around, squeezed up my face and stomped my feet. As my body shook, all the energy that had been swirling around moved and released. All of a sudden, I felt calmer, my face muscles lifted and I laughed at myself. I felt renewed and had a brighter outlook.
Upon leaving the bathroom and my shaking session, I told my husband how I felt and apologised for how I’d responded. I told him about my original plan to go to the other place and acknowledged that I didn’t make that known to him. He affirmed that he had no preference and that if I’d told him earlier, we could have gone there.
Working with Nati and Centrd Life, and having developed a stronger sense of my bodily sensations through my embodiment practice over the years, I’m better able to recognise my emotions and feelings, and importantly know what to do with them. Rather than getting ‘stuck’ in a state, I’ve developed the tools to know what to do when I feel a certain way, and what that part of me needs. The part of me that felt frustrated and unheard, and all it needed was to be heard. By moving my body and shaking, that energy could move and release from my nervous system. Instead of having a conversation from a place of anger and frustration, I was able to make my needs heard from a calm and centred place. I can see how arguments in the past evolved when the unheard part of myself was in the driver’s seat. And it always ended in frustration for both sides.
There’s nothing wrong with having needs or preferences. There’s nothing wrong with feeling frustrated at a situation or person. But there’s something very wrong with not expressing those needs and feelings, or at least making them known, and then feeling bitter and resentful when they aren’t met.
I’m incredibly grateful for having the open and supportive husband that I do, who is constantly empowering me to voice my wants and needs. He’s my mirror and my training ground. Within the safe container of our relationship, I can unlearn old patterns and create new, balanced ones.
But I know that not everybody has that in their relationships with others, for one reason or another. We’ve found that it usually comes as a result of the other person not being emotionally mature themselves, which means they can’t be a good mirror for your emotions. As such, instead of helping you navigate your feelings, they can deflect them, ignore them, minimise them or reflect them right back to you. Which isn’t constructive or pleasant for any party. I know that dynamic certainly plays out in some of my other relationships with family and friends.
That’s where having others to talk to is helpful. Having others who are equally committed to becoming more aware of their emotions and feelings and wanting to become more emotionally mature is helpful. Within the safe container of your interaction, you can learn to feel different parts of yourself, and practice expressing your emotions and feelings in a healthy and constructive way.
Emotional maturity and feeling all of your emotions is a skill that can be developed. Come develop it with us: Book a 1:1 coaching session with Nati, or sign up for our next round of Introspective Explorers, our group coaching programme.