Updated: Jan 18, 2020
Have you ever had that gut feeling that something was wrong? Maybe you didn’t know exactly what it was at the time but you knew to pay attention to the warning sign. Growing up, I learned to dismiss that instinct. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to express my feelings. If I was upset at my sister for mistreating me, I had to give her a hug and be happy about it. There was no “I’m sorry” from her. The offense and the problem never got resolved, it was just “swept under the rug”. In that environment, I learned it was normal to ignore a problem. Just cover it up. I became an expert at stuffing my feelings and ignoring how I felt. Putting on masks to cover up my true feelings and not speaking up became second nature. I was like a chameleon, changing my beliefs, my behavior, and responses in order to please others. I was afraid I would be rejected, disliked and no longer included if I said what I thought and felt. I would say I agreed while in my mind, I disagreed.
Can you relate? Are you stuck pleasing others? Do you stuff how you really feel about a situation in order to keep the peace and not “stir the pot?” I used to live my life that way. Through community, I learned why I couldn’t tell others the truth. I was driven by deep rooted fears of rejection. With counseling and encouragement from my friends, I learned to speak up and speak truth.
Have you ever noticed when you learn a new principle, God gives you an opportunity to walk it out? It’s what I call a “do over”. A situation came up at work awhile back. I had more work than I could feasibly finish in the allotted 40 hour work week. Working longer and harder was not solving the problem. I was overloaded and felt inadequate to accomplish the job. I considered quitting without addressing the real issue.
My friends encouraged me to bring the problem to my manager and invite her input for a solution. I started to feel like a failure. I was afraid she would dismiss the problem or blame me for it. With my friend’s support, I met with my manager. We were able to look at my workload together and came up with an action plan that worked! Had I not addressed my true feelings about the workload, I would still be feeling inadequate and suffering from the heavy load. I would have fallen into my old pattern of pushing it down and moving on. Since facing the problem and speaking up, I have a renewed peace and enjoy my work.
I regret that I went through half my life not paying attention to my gut, it is our built in warning sign. My relationships are deeper and more authentic. Find out how I learned to take off those masks and speak truth as our three stories intertwine. You will discover there is hope in the dark. You will laugh, cry and learn. Love Gone Wrong is coming out soon. Go sign up for your copy of our limited first printing. You won’t want to miss reading it!