On my last tour in the Navy, I transitioned from military warfare as a Naval Aircrewman to military welfare as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. During my training to be certified, I learned many tools to help the patients understand that certain people, places, and things can be triggers, which can jeopardize their recovery. In addition, understanding emotions and feelings, while utilizing healthy coping skills was critical to enjoying a life of sobriety.
These lessons I had learned to help others, would prove invaluable in my own journey to clearing out the clutter and garbage. If someone made me upset or frustrated, those negative emotions led to toxic behaviors. It took me a while to self-reflect and get to the root of the issue. On the surface my emotions were anger, sadness, depression, and so on. However, below the surface was the feeling of hurt. Many times I didn't want to look under the surface because of what it might reveal. Why did I feel HURT? Because of EXPECTATIONS. I experienced many let downs because I had high expectations of others. I put them on a pedestal holding them to the same morals and values that I had. And just like flawed human beings, they didn't live up to my standards. So I became disappointed and suppressed my feelings, mixed it with low self-esteem, and BOOM BAM just like that, I had a recipe of DYSFUNCTION! I didn't realize my denial fed the suppressed sewage of negative emotions that bubbled inside. Eventually, it had spewed out like toxic waste threatening to ruin everything I loved, starting with myself.
Finally, I was faced with dealing with my mess because God was trying to take me places, but my baggage was heavy. I had to lighten my load in order to walk in my purpose. I needed to acknowledge what led to the baggage of self-pity, jealousy, depression, low self-esteem, fear, and worry. Believe me, I am a work in progress. I didn't change my standards, but I applied wisdom to the expectations of others and myself. This shift led to healing and ultimately forgiveness.