Definite Chief Aims
- Pay off final parking ticket
- Play catch up with Fox entertainment on most recent changes
- Revisit my bullet journal
I’m still digging deep, researching and learning more about shame. Thinking about my dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) course, shame was typically described as a secondary emotion, not a primary one. That is, we tend to experience or feel some other primary emotion (e.g. fear) first and then shame would follow. Regardless of whether we place shame in either the primary or secondary emotion bucket, I want to learn more about it because as I reflect back on both recent and more distant life experiences, I realize I actually experience quite a bit of shame.
First, soem level setting, I want to explore my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in a non-judgemental way. And that’s what this blog post (as well as the other daily reflections) is all about, a mechanism for me to — from a place of curiosity – question some of my own thought patterns, behaviors.
Yesterday, I was hanging out with a friend (let’s call her N), someone I have recently starting developing attraction and feelings for. At the same time, I’m still experiencing grief, sadness, disappointment, anger and many other emotions, a direct consequence of my in-progress divorce. I bring this up because my feelings are not black and white, they are more complex, more nuanced. Historically, I had this belief that: you should only pursue someone if and only if you hold no other feelings for someone else. Of course, most of us would agree that nobody likes being on the receiving end of a rebound relationship, when one person in the relationship hooks up with another person in order to sooth or numb themselves. But that’s different than what I’m experiencing right now. I’m not moving away from those more (lack of a better word) negative emotions. I’m learning how to feel them, recognize them, label them (as my therapist says: “Name it to tame it”).
Name it to tame it
Anyways, back to last night: I was feeling VERY vulnerable because I wanted to share with N that I was developing feelings for her, that I’m becoming more attracted to her. I can say that honestly, in my adult life, I’ve never verbally expressed this sort of vulnerability or feelings for someone. Typically, in the past, there are a couple different routes I would take:
- Feel SO certain that the other person likes me that I’m able to make a move (e.g. hold hands, kiss on the lips)
- Feel uncertain so not shoot my shot, for fear of rejection
And now to explore another path that I’m creating for myself. Share with the person what I’m feeling, being excited that they might recipropcate, AND at the same time, preparing myself (in DBT, we call this “cope ahead”) that they might not feel the same way. In the event that there are unrequitted feelings, then I’m learning to teach myself that they are not rejecting me as a whole person; it was this belief that I held on to and for so much of my life, experience shame, as if the person was writing me off and then me internalizing this, thoughts in my head like “What’s wrong with me.” Instead of these self inflicted criticisms, I’m hoping I can nurture a more self-compassion approach. Now, the conversation I have in my head resembles something like: “Hey, you are both nervous and excited to tell this person: you are being vulnerable and courageous. And though the other person might not feel the same way, that may hurt. And, they are not saying NO to you as a whole person, but rather, you may not fit their own preferences (in the same way you have preferences too).”