"You want me to share my feelings? No, no, no. I don't do feelings. Nope, not for me."
Meet me 10 years ago. Actually, meet pretty much everyone you know. Because we don't have emotions in the United States, didn't you know? And if we did, we sure as hell wouldn't talk about it. That would be uncomfortable, intolerable, painful, and gross. Just gross. No. Everything is fine. I am fine. You are fine. It's fine.
This is the reality most of us know. Except it is total crap. And it doesn't matter how much Poo-Pourri you use, it is still gonna stink.
For example. Once, I had a coworker. Very nice woman. Friendly, funny, sweet. There was just one problem. She didn't do her job. She barely showed up for work. When she did show up, all she accomplished was a thorough perusal of Facebook and juicy gossip over steaming mugs of coffee. Very important tasks, but not appropriate for work. The first time push came to shove, she asked me for help. But she was actually asking for me to do her job for her. I felt uncomfortable and angry, to say the least. But instead of saying, "I can see that you are struggling to complete your task on time and that you are very stressed. I would be happy to lend you 15 minutes of my time to talk about how you can complete this part of your task. However, I will not do any part of your work for you. I have my own work to do and I feel it would be inappropriate and wrong for me to do your work. In the future, I ask that you not make requests like this again," I said "That's fine." But after the third time, it was not fine. Not at all. I was so angry that I could barely look at her. I said all sorts of nasty things about her in my head and even out loud.
Instead of expressing how I felt and clearly stating what I would and wouldn't do, I shoved everything under the rug. Until there were so many emotions under the rug, that I constantly tripped over it. And this was just one scenario. But we are constantly shoving things under the rug. No, I don't have a problem. Everything's fine.
But we get to a point where not even the black hole under the couch that sucks up socks and cat toys can handle our repressed emotions. This is when we start lashing out at people we love. When we turn to wine and Netflix for oblivion. When we can't sleep at night. When we are so stressed out that we can barely crawl out of bed in the morning.
If you want to stop living like this, I invite you to read these books. They are mind blowing, soul shaking, and life changing. To be completely honest, these books will give you superpowers. The power to cut though bullshit (yours and everyone else's) like a knife through warm butter. The power to be so courageous that Superman looks like a wimp. And the power to live so fully, so beautifully that your heart will burst. But don't worry. I have lots of herbs that treat burst heart syndrome.
1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
"To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace."
2. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
"Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection."
3. Rising Strong by Brene Brown
"The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends."
4. The Dance of Connection by Harriet Lerner
"We need words to begin to heal betrayals, inequalities, and ruptured connections. Our need for language, conversation, and definition goes beyond the wish to put things right. Through words we come to know the other person—and to be known. This knowing is at the heart of our deepest longings for intimacy and connection with others. How relationships unfold with the most important people in our lives depends on courage and clarity in finding voice."
5. The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu
"In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again."
6. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
"Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction."
What books have changed your life? Please share in the comments below. I am always looking to add to my reading list!
I'm Dr. Carly and my mission is to create a health revolution. I believe that another prescription is not the answer. I believe in using natural therapies that go beyond the symptoms. And I believe that doctors should spend way more than 7 minutes with a patient.