Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nursing Stress - Emotional Coward

Just the other day, I heard a man say, "I used to be an emotional coward when it came to relationships..." I was floored. First of all, that it came from a MAN! Second of all, I had never heard those two words put together. But that phrase, "emotional coward" struck a cord in me big time. I've been working with my mentor (this really neat lady that I trust deeply) about "clearing out" some internal stuff in me that I've been carrying around for a while. And I've had a huge revelation. Would you like to hear it? Here goes. I am very, very childlike in certain areas of my life. Surprise!

Now, on the other hand, (and this is the confusing part and why I haven't been able to see it for what it is) I am extremely responsible. I've been a mortgage holder since age 21. Never missed a payment. I've been married for 20 years. I have 3 great teenage kids, one of which we just sent off to college. I'm a nurse for goodness sake. I dispense morphine. I've worked at the same job, same employer for 5 years. Sometimes doctors ask me what to do with their patients, and I make suggestions that move the patient's progress along for the better (in other words, sometimes I tell doctors what to do and they listen)! I am an enthusiastic patient advocate. I precept student nurses and I'm good at it. I am a responsible person!

And I always thought that being responsible meant that I was automatically emotionally mature. Or that, at least, that I wasn't emotionally immature! But what I'm learning about myself is that I've been blessed with certain aspects to my personality that I've mistaken for emotional maturity. For example, I've been blessed with a kind heart towards my fellow man. I'm usually pretty calm. I am smart (or shall we say, I have good common sense). And I can be extremely patient, giving, compassionate and tolerant. These are gifts from my creator, and I am truly grateful for them.

All that being said, those traits do NOT automatically equal emotional maturity. And in certain areas of my life, I have been emotionally immature. I've been childlike. But I can't just call myself childlike and stop digging. I'm a 41 y/o woman! I want to grow up for goodness' sake! So what's behind this childlike feeling that takes over me in certain situations. All of the sudden I feel very small (emotionally). I feel inadequate. I get intimidated. I feel less than. It's fear! And one of the biggest fears I have is that "you" (whoever you are) aren't going to like me. (see...childlike)

Now we're getting somewhere. If I worry about what you think of me more than my own emotional serenity, I'm screwed! All the wonderful assets that are part of me that I listed above (patient, loving, kind, tolerant) get tangled up within me when I feel childlike. And I become an emotional coward. Usually this takes the form of not speaking. I've even named that behavior. I call it turning my "mute" button on.

But there's hope! There's hope, there's hope, there's hope! At least I can see it now. Those childlike feelings are fear. The fear is masking my pride and ego (remember "what will they think of me?"). And sometimes it's my pride and ego IN REVERSE ("I'm no good. I'll never measure up to them.") And somehow, I've gone into competition with YOU (whoever "you" are at the time). So when my childlike feelings kick in, I am going to call them what they really are. Pride and Ego and Competition with my fellow man!

And then guess what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna stop fighting. I surrender. There's no competition here. I refuse to fight with you. I'm a grown woman. I'm a spiritually centered, grown woman. No less than, no better than, not even equal to. I'm me. I'm uniquely me. There is no competition with you. I'm on my own journey with my creator. Unique. I'm me. No competition. Blessed.

Learn more about the link between "Growing up emotionally" and abundance. It's making all the difference for me.

God bless,



Roxanne said...

I was just looking at my feed reader last night and wondering where you have been. I guess you've been off GROWING!!

Keep up the great work!!


Mikelle said...

Hi Theresa! I'm so happy you made a new post! And no, you're not just good at precepting students, you're GREAT at it! I'm SO grateful to have you as my preceptor. You're such a great teacher and REALLY patient! I've already learned so much and I'm so excited for what's to come! Thank you!