Oftentimes when I go see an action flick in the theater, and there’s a car chase of some kind, I leave the theater with that car-chase-speed-force in me. I catch myself driving faster than normal, changing in and out of lanes, just like the scenes I just experienced. It only happens for a moment before I’m conscious of it and choose my normal pace.
After watching a deeply touching movie, I often leave feeling a little tender and emotional.
Or if the lead role, like Rocky Balboa, has a triumphant experience, overcoming great odds, I leave feeling like I can do anything, like I too am triumphant.
We are so easily influenced by our experiences, whether they’re real life or not.
It’s then no surprise the lasting impact that our life experiences can have on us, especially when we’re exposed to them repeatedly.
For example, sometimes when I’m sitting on the couch watching TV or reading a book, and my wife starts moving about around me, cleaning, organizing, etc… I feel uncomfortable and a sense of unease.
I feel like I should be doing something.
I feel like it’s not right that I’m sitting relaxing while she is working.
I feel like it’s better to stop what I’m doing and help her or else she’ll be upset.
I feel like I can’t relax because I can feel her active energy.
What’s interesting is that the unease I feel has nothing to do with my wife or the present circumstances.
It does have more to do with the experiences I had growing up.
You see when I was a kid, and my mom was upset about something, it made me feel uncomfortable. I was on edge. Anything little could have triggered her, so I walked around on eggshells and learned that if I to did things to please her, then I might possibly avoid being yelled at or at the very least, her moodiness would subside quicker.
Once she was at peace or at least not on the edge of volatility, then I felt safe to relax.
These kinds of experiences happened countless numbers of times. Each time it did, I was more deeply imprinted with the vibration of unease. I learned to believe that I couldn’t relax and do what I wanted.
So now, 40 plus years later, that inner unease is still a part of me.
The difference now is that I don’t let it control me.
There were many times earlier in my relationship with my wife when I did let this inner discomfort influence my actions. I would react in the same ways I did in the past with my mom.
These days, I’m much more conscious of it and can make different choices. When the unease gets stirred up, I take a moment to breathe consciously to train my nervous system to know that it’s safe to relax in this situation. There’s no imminent danger. Once I feel a sense of ease within, then I continue to read or watch TV and let my wife do what she wants to do. If she needs my help, she’ll ask.
We all have these energetic imprints. So much of our energy and time is wasted on trying to avoid hurt and conflict because we experienced them so viscerally in the past. Often the only thing that holds us back is our old familiar ways of reacting to past experiences.
To be able to feel free to be who we are, we need to do this type of work of being present to the discomfort while practicing embodying new states of being.
If you want to learn a few ways you can move through discomfort, sign up to receive my Lighten Up video.
Or if you’d like more personalized guidance, let’s have a conversation to discuss what would best support you.