Dogs who are kicked are often skittish. I was not kicked or hit or abused, but my family, God bless 'em, made me skittish because they had an opinion about EVERYTHING!
About things like:
- Don't eat while walking down the street.
- Don't comb your hair on the stoop.
- Don't go outside without combing your hair.
- Don't tell people your business.
- Don't ask questions that open cans of worms-- even if it's your own can, and you want to know what's in it.
- Don't leave the price tag on a gift for fear of being judged as either boastful or cheap.
Such a family can make you feel damned if you do and damned if you don't. When the people raising you have a lot of shoulds that seem random and come out of nowhere, it makes you an introvert. (Not somebody who doesn't want to be around people. The kind who has to recharge by having some alone time.)
I didn't realize it till recently, but sometimes when I'm having a glorious time in my zone (thinking and cooking and writing and gardening), a nervous feeling runs through me. The peace is gone. My mind starts churning. This is because when you're raised with an onslaught of input, you expect interference. You expect that your zone is going to be infiltrated at any minute. So out of nowhere, my fight or flight response is activated.
I know it's all leftover crap from childhood. It's that feeling that people are watching and waiting to catch me or correct me or remind me or want me to do something else. A lot of shoulds embed the belief that People want me to be other than what I want to be and People want me to do other than what I want to do.
What does it mean?!
In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle shared an interpretation of families that promote a slew of shoulds. "My disapproval of you is intended to make you feel so guilty and uncomfortable that you finally conform to my wishes." This is probably why I have dubbed myself a warrior. Because I always felt I had to antagonize my way down the path of my choosing. I became fiercely independent early on, so I had the right to do what I wanted on my own terms. The Catch-22 is that such a person rarely feels supported. There's an underlying feeling that "they" are still invalidating "me," and that's what makes me a bit skittish. Without even realizing it, I can tighten up-- expecting negative judgment or subtle manipulation. At such times I feel my claws emerging.
Of course our families generally want us to do what they want us to because that's how we humans are. We think our way is the way. I'm guilty of it myself, but I'm getting better at that. Because as reasonable adults with minds of our own, we need to relax into our own way of being, and breathe life into our vision of ourselves. We can't live with the feeling that we're about to be caught doing something wrong when all we're doing is making choices about how to best live our own lives.
1) Release the emotions associated with other people's reactions to our harmless choices about our own lives.
2) Plant our feet and minds firmly in the activities of our choosing and enjoy the hell out of whatever they are.
3) Be brave enough to accept the consequences of our choices without whining.
4) Allow other people the right to do the same.
How does this get rid of skittishness?!
We can relax when we accept at the core of our very being that there is no right way to do life-- no matter what we've been taught. This applies to relationship choices, career choices, introversion, extroversion, fashion statements, whatever. If we're not hurting anybody, then we should just RELAX.
Acknowledging that I'm the expert when it comes to my wants and preferences and actions is grounding-- the exact opposite of skittish.
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Angela Belcher Epps
- Thanks for checking in. We all know life can be EXTREMELY complicated. I blog about recognizing and removing the barriers that sabotage our living well. - Nobody had perfect parents, so we all have issues.- We struggle to keep up with work, personal goals, staying healthy, and all kinds of relationships.- Our minds are busy, and they seem to often work against us.- At the end of many days, we're disappointed about what didn't get done, how we failed, what we should have done.So I blog about increasing personal awareness and finding balance so we can cut ourselves some slack. Let's stay grounded as we move forward in manageable steps. Perspective is everything, and I try to see around the corners so we can leverage what we've already got into more of what we want.Follow me and give me feedback. You inspire me, and I'll try to inspire you.