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Personal Mottos Can Add to Emotional Repression

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Feb 22, 2022.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    For many years, I lived my life by a few deeply personal mottos, sometimes lighthearted, but always meaningful little sayings that applied to me and my life. But when I was healing from widespread chronic pain (diagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme, Hashimotos, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue...you name it) I began to realize through my journaling practice that some of my life long personal mottos were not serving me. in fact, they were adding to my tendency to repress emotions.

    Let me give you a real life example. One of my mottos that I had for many years was, “Live life without regret.” Sounds great, right? I thought so too, and I thought I was indeed living my life with little remorse. So imagine my surprise when, several months into journaling, I suddenly realize that I am riddled with regret. Life choices, career choices, parenting choices, relationship choices, you name it, I had REGRETS! Big ones, little ones, long ago regrets, and regrets from the day before. There was not a portion of my life that didn’t have regrets. In fact, I suddenly saw very clearly how impossible it would be to have no regrets.

    Hard stop. Big gulp. Oh. Oh. Oh.

    It was like a house of cards falling down. A lifelong motto was actually hurting me. Instead of using the “no regret” thing as a way to add joy, my little perfectionist brain had used it to repress very valid emotions. Yes! Sometimes we make decisions that we later regret. Yes. Everyone does. And sometimes those decisions are huge, they impact our entire lives and we regret them. Deeply. Yes. And there I am. Just right there. In the knowledge that I have regrets and it’s okay.

    After the regret epiphany, I’ve gone on to view other “mottos” that percolate in the back of my mind and examine their overall helpfulness to me and my desire to live a three dimensional life. When one surfaces, I usually take it to my journal. When did I first adopt this motto? What was happening in my world then? Do I hear another voice other than my own saying it? Why did I adopt this particular motto or sayings rather than another? What am I afraid of if I don’t live up to the motto? How has it served me? How has it hindered me? When might I set the motto down and walk away from it? Is there space to moderate it, neither abandoning it nor always believing it? What emotions come up with each of these questions? Where do I feel the emotions in my body?

    Me? You might say that I regret having the “live life without regrets” motto.(smirk) One thing I do not regret? This beautiful crazy work of knowing myself.

    Much support to each of you.

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