In the last few years, my biggest lesson has been this: “The more upset I get about something, the more underlying baggage and shit that I’m avoiding dealing with. Irrationally large emotional responses are like our psychological metal detectors, they’re screaming to us, “Better start digging here! I found something!”– Mark Manson.
What topics make you angry beyond reason? What fears trigger you into hate? What actions, beliefs or behavior trigger you into shaming someone? That’s not the other person’s shame, it is yours. You are merely attempting to make her feel it too. But you carry that guilt, shame or fear inside your own chest. It is very much your unresolved crap that you don’t want to deal with.
We are all convinced that whatever we feel is justified, because we all believe that our crap is clean. I’m not toxic, you’re toxic. My belief isn’t detrimental to my own well being, yours is what is wrong with the world. “It is people like you, who…”.
But if you are capable of inflicting shame, guilt or fear onto another person, it means you have plenty to share. The most dangerous belief we could have is to think that we are rightfully reprimanding and teaching other people to behave better. What qualifies you or me as the teacher? Who ordained us with universal wisdom? No one. We are just not acknowledging our crap, and we are flinging it onto other people. If we see crap on their face, boy does it feel good! They earned it, they deserve it, you see, how crappy they are? You knew it all along.
Some people go a lifetime, preaching, teaching, shaming, guilting and inflicting fear onto other people. Innocently, a lot of children believe it, then grow into adults who can’t understand why they are afraid of their own thoughts. Projection of our own shit onto other people is what’s sickening the world. Admit it, we all do it. Scroll down your Facebook home page, and every second post is about crap slinging. What’s amusing is that every person is armed with “facts” and “expertise” that qualifies their shit as absolute truth.
We can all acknowledge the toxicity of this behavior, yet we all project our own crap onto other people. Those of us who are “smarter” and have more expensive credentials have an added layer of proof that our crap doesn’t stink. but yours surely is unqualified.
So what to do with that crap that festers inside us? That sewage will make you sick emotionally, mentally even physically if you refuse to acknowledge it as only yours. But you know it is there because those unprocessed emotions, that sewage triggers you into anger, shame, guilt or fear. The fact that you erupt violently, is an important tool, not something to be covered up, but something you can work with.
It is not enough to trace the source of your crap. Immaturely, we all trace it to our childhood, parents, lovers who refused to cooperate with us, people who wouldn’t coddle us. If that is all the digging you do, and you see others as the source of your unprocessed emotions, you are likely to accept it as their affliction and forget to acknowledge it as your own. How many adults still blame their inabilities and failures on a rough life?
What are you doing to get that crap out of you? To clear it, you must actually deal with it. Are you in therapy? Are you working on it spiritually? Are you addressing it with those who have hurt you effectively, or are you sweeping it under a brand new rug?
What people don’t realize is that the crap IS actually their life path. It is the reason you haven’t attained those trappings of life and hard work that you think you deserve. It is what is blocking your bliss, your self-realization. It’s there, you’re just not working on it.
Recently, I witnessed a whole pile of my own crap. It is being triggered daily by an unexpected situation. Mom is in the hospital declining fast, and my mind and body are reacting to a natural phase of life- we will all lose our parents. The kind of responses my own body is producing of pent up emotions buried for decades are like a volcanic eruption. Every night I wake up screaming. A work colleague offered me some of her Xanax and it sure was tempting, but I realized these horrible emotions have presented themselves now so that I can deal with them, and release them forever. They are not something to be covered up, they are here to be addressed, understood, then released. I have no intention of being scarred for life by them, my intention is to be free of them.
The fear I am experiencing now has been inside me for decades. Maybe we all carry a fear of losing our parents. But, I just realized that my fear and panic have nothing to do with the woman laying in bed. My fear is much bigger than her. I have enough compassion to understand that she wants to be released from her pain, and I can let her go. I am slowly realizing that my fear is of myself. Over the last 47 years on this earth, I have stuffed a ton of emotions into this body. I carry a ton of unprocessed emotional baggage. It is all erupting like a volcano. It is this eruption that I have been fearing all my life, and now I have to deal with it. I understand mom at her stage of life. I don’t understand this pile of shit. It is a weight I have carried for so long, yet I don’t want to stop carrying it. It is a part of who I am. Here comes another painful life lesson, after which I will emerge as a bigger person. I am bracing for this.
We cannot heal the world when we refuse to heal ourselves. It is hypocritical to think that our shit doesn’t stink, and to believe in other people’s toxicity, while refusing to acknowledge our own.
You can’t claim to be enlightened when you are carrying the weight of your own toxicity. You must see it within yourself first, then slowly shed it. You cannot strike a yoga pose, and see that pose as proof of your own universal wisdom. No, the crap won’t be cured by a detox shake, nor your extreme, restrictive diet. That restriction is how you are restricting your own self.
Your emotional triggers and automatic responses are the most important tool you have. Think of them as an X-ray, a snapshot of exactly what is going on inside you. Don’t shut down that X-ray machine, just because you don’t like to see what is showing up on film. That image is YOU. It pinpoints exactly what is wrong, and exactly what you need to work on. Right there, on that film is YOU. That is the part of you that you have to cure.
I love this quote by Mark Manson: “Irrationally large emotional responses are like our psychological metal detectors, they’re screaming to us, “Better start digging here! I found something!”– Mark Manson.
He has a Facebook page where he shares his views on self-responsibility. His words inspired today’s post.