Emotional Responsibility



How we become more emotionally responsible for ourselves is a very individual journey, which includes how we manage our own internal emotions, what we put out into the world, how we react to situations in our lives, and how we hold our space in the face of other people's fear. Creating healthy boundaries is a part of that journey.

We cannot get through an emotional experience if we are judging ourselves for the very experience we are having. That is where we get stuck and then often go through years of having to heal ourselves, sometimes for just one moment in our lives we tripped over life. Every single one of us is going to trip over life. We are going to slip and fall on the ice. We are going to be rejected. We are going to scrape our knee. We are going to not get what we want in the moment. And we are going to get stuck sometimes, and have to find ways to move through it. No one on this planet is free of these very human experiences. Not even the wisest sages on the planet!

Last year I witnessed a mother taking care of her child who was having a temper tantrum. It was actually very healing for me to observe her actions. The child was on the floor, screaming and crying, occasionally pounding his head on the ground. She wasn't frustrated or angry with him that he was in this tantrum for a very long time. She let him squirm on the floor, she let him get it out, and she gave him space to manage himself eventually by just being kind to him through his experience. She patted his back, she offered him tissues to clean the snot off of his nose, she asked him if he wanted food or a toy or to be held. And eventually, he calmed down and just came out of it.

It seemed obvious to me in that moment that through this compassion, love and forgiveness, he would eventually become an adult who could take care of his own emotions. He had been taught that it was okay to not know what he was experiencing, that his experience was valid, that he was not bad or wrong, he was just experiencing an emotion he needed to work through. He was being taught that it was ok to be afraid, be upset, be unclear, and that he would be loved and supported through his journey into it and out of it. And he would eventually be able to give that same love and support to himself, or seek it out when he needed it.

We start to learn how to live with our emotional selves as children. But there are spaces where we just haven't grown up yet. And that can be so painful, because as an adult, it can feel really challenging to be able show up and be present as an adult in so many ways, and then this little part of us appears that can't seem to step up and be strong and clear and act from a space of integrity. Until we truly dig into those places, and stop seeing them as faults, but rather as a communication for an opportunity to see where we keep tripping over these little children inside of us that just don't know how to manage fear yet, we cannot actually move forward.

Last year I learned a lot about emotional responsibility. I've treaded through places and spaces in my life where I need to be more emotionally mature and I've had to work through how to handle other people's emotional immaturity. How to not make other's emotionally responsible for me and how to not take on other people's desire to make me responsible for their emotions. It is a GIFT to have someone just stand on their side of our relationship, and not try to heal my pain, and it is a GIFT to stand on my side of a relationship, and not try to heal someone else's emotional pain. To be honest, I am most drawn to friendships and relationships that will stand up to me, not coddle me, and call me out on my shit.

One piece of advice for moving forward into becoming more emotionally responsible for those parts of yourself that you still get caught up in old patterns with... Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a big key to becoming honest and real with ourselves. Nurture these parts of you with forgiveness, compassion, space, and love and give that internal child guidance to learn how to be safe in the world. No one can do it for you. It's up to each one of us to clean our energy so we can thrive!


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