The Words Within - Janet Raftis

The Words Within

I’ve been struggling lately with a piece of my puzzle. Throughout my life, speaking my truth has been one of my most challenging lessons. It’s always felt scary and unsafe, and it was exacerbated after being raped. The fear of my voice not being respected, of it being stifled and repressed and ignored by another, has followed me into my forties.

I’ve spent the last 10 years working to release it. I’ve done energy work, journaled my little heart out, written scary vulnerable stuff and had hard conversations even when I didn’t want to do so. I’ve held myself accountable and allowed myself to do so in a way that has felt safe while still moving forward.

This practice helped me out of a marriage that had ceased to support me and my ex-husband, it led me into publishing my words and it allowed me to leave a line of work that was unfulfilling so that I could pursue my dream of facilitating healing and growth in others. It has been nothing short of marvelous and miraculous.

A few years ago, in the midst of a huge personal growth spurt, I became very close to someone, and I trusted her completely. She pulled me in, she made me feel safe and she helped me to heal and grow; she encouraged me to use my voice even more.

And I did. I shared in a way that I had been inspired to share, but when I did, my honesty wasn’t appreciated; she didn’t like what I had to say. She pushed me away, and she did so in a way that was hurtful and cruel, and it triggered all of my fears.

I hunkered down and healed even more. I shared with friends, I did pattern release work, I looked at unresolved traumas. I actually expanded even more and ultimately the experience has helped me to feel stronger than ever. I am expressing myself in the world in a way I never knew possible for me.

And then I was triggered this week. I’ve been growing closer with someone that means a lot to me and I’m noticing that I have been really fearful of speaking up, of potentially upsetting any waters. I have become quiet and subdued when it comes to things I feel might be risky as far as our relationship is concerned. I don’t want to lose this connection.

Things reached a critical mass the other night, and I needed to speak my truth, to really share on an intimate and deep level, and I panicked. I was asked to do what I always advise others to do, what I spent years learning and cultivating and practicing, and I froze. I felt all of the words catch in my throat, I felt myself struggling to please, just speak already, while at the same time not even being able to feel myself. I was a deer in headlights, completely trauma triggered. I could hear the voice outside of me, letting me know that it was safe to share, that I was supported, that everything would be okay and yet: I couldn’t even form a sentence.

At some point, thankfully, the tears started to roll out of my eyes and down my cheeks and I felt released. I was able to mumble a few things, to at least express my inability to understand what was happening, to start the process of unfolding. I slept and throughout the night, I integrated everything. I slept late and woke up feeling clear and able to adjust myself ever so slightly. I began the process of sharing in a new way. There are still words that need to be said, but they no longer feel trapped within me. They are rolling around, finding form, looking for a way to express themselves more fully. The thought of doing so feels slightly scary, but more good to me than not, and my relationship with this person has already shifted in a very positive way.

The process of healing and expanding never ends once started and the more we ask to grow, the more we are given the opportunity to do so. The truth is that I don’t want to be shut down, and I want to be able to trust myself enough to know that when I speak my truth, the other person’s reaction is completely up to them and that it actually has nothing to do with me. If I am rejected for sharing from a space of vulnerability and the other person doesn’t respect that (regardless of whether he or she agrees or not) is entirely on them. All I can do is trust myself, feel strong in my core, and remember that if the emotions and words within me don’t find form to express themselves in the world, I will ultimately suffer. I don’t want to feel closed down and shut off. That version of me is better left in the past.

I love using tools that can help me move through things. Not only does lavender oil smell great and help you to relax, but it’s wonderful for helping you to speak your truth!

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