One morning just after putting on my favourite pair of jeans I heard a screeching sound. It was the sound of fabric tearing. There was a massive tear in my jeans. It was quite high up on the leg. We all hold belief systems of what is ‘proper and acceptable’ in our eyes. That tear was too high for comfort. Thank goodness this happened at home!
Sometimes our emotions are like my torn jeans. It is like a sudden anger outburst, or speaking words that cut like a knife or bursting into tears in a public space. What one person might consider acceptable behaviour, another might find completely inappropriate. Often the warning signs are there earlier, if only we would take note. There was a small tear at the belt the previous time I wore my jeans but it was not really visible. It should have been a sign that the jeans were ready for retirement.
Often it is like that with our emotions as well. There are warning signs: a slight irritation, feeling a bit agitated. But when we choose to ignore it, to not acknowledge it and take appropriate action to resolve it, it builds and builds until that moment when the lid rips off the pressure cooker. When the built-up emotion is then released our behaviour could shock us (and others). It might not be “appropriate” behaviour for our environment, it might cause discomfort for us and others, and we might even feel embarrased.
The secret lies in noticing the warning signs early; acknowledging and making the time to deal with the little offences that are stretching the fabric of our emotional resolve to its limit well before we get to that point.
That is what caring for self means to me. It is taking care of what is building up inside me and ensuring I let go of what is not uplifting or would not serve my goals. It is forgiving myself when I have erred, and forgiving others for the hurt I suffered at their hands. Interesting, as far as belief systems go, there seem to be others that feel the same about forgiveness: