It's Hard Being Human

At least once a day the phrase “it’s hard being human” enters my brain. It usually arrives on the heels of my sons arguing with each other and me trying to teach them how to communicate more effectively. As a result of feeling hurt, one will lash out at the other, and before we know it the great domino effect of anger feeds off each other until they’re both in a rage. When we’ve slowed them back down to somewhere near neutral, I’ll say something like, “Next time he hurts your feelings, can you try saying, ‘That hurt my feelings’ or ‘Let’s take some space’ instead of lashing out?” It’s a conversation I’ve had a hundred times with them, and only recently has it begun to take hold so that once a while one of them will resist the impulse to lash out and instead say, “That hurt my feelings.” That one micro-moment changes everything, but how hard it is to catch the habitual, protective response of anger and take the risk of expressing ourselves with vulnerability! It’s hard being human.

My boys turn the conversation back around to us when my husband and I argue. “Why do you have to fight?!” they bemoan with pain in their voices. I give a litany of explanations: “We lose each other sometimes. It’s normal to argue, but we always find our way back.” But my husband simply says, “It’s hard being human.” There are a hundred ways to miss each other during a single day. There are hundred ways to miscommunicate or touch on an old wound when interacting with people that you love. We all have our particular form of madness: the wounds, insecurities, assumptions, expectations, deficits that arise simply from being human. And since so few of us received training or role-modeling for how to navigate relationships effectively, it’s a small miracle that we’re figuring this out at all.

It’s not only hard in relationships; it’s also hard in life. And if you’re highly sensitive – if the shield over your heart is thinner than most, if you’re aware of the nuances and textures of living that glide by most people – it’s even harder. An address on a piece of paper reminds me of my grandparents’ house and a wave of grief wells up in my heart. One day I said to my husband while we were washing dishes, “We never stop missing the people we lose, do we?” Having lost his dad at a young age, my husband is very familiar with grief, and he responded, “That’s because they’re still gone.” We have this idea that grief is an isolated event in response to acute loss, but for the highly sensitive person, grief is a daily experience. The passage of time alone is enough to send us into a small tornado of grief; my son will turn 13 in a few months and my heart aches for the baby he once was and soars for the young man he’s becoming. An unfettered heart feels everything, which is both our challenge and, ultimately, our gift.

For there is no doubt that it’s also a gift to be human. At least once a day my heart shimmers in a small fireworks display of gratitude and joy in response to the beauty that surrounds me. One day I brought home a mini seedless watermelon and when I sliced it down the middle, the subtle white star design that criss-crossed the pink flesh took my breath away. “Come look at this,” I called to my boys. “That’s so beautiful!” my younger son observed. “Nature is amazing,” said the older one.  Their appreciation of something as simple as the inside of a watermelon took my breath away a second time and sent a waterfall of smiles rippling through my body. Or walking into the little apple orchard in spring when the white blossoms are heavy with fertility and I lay under the tree to absorb the sounds of a hundred bees buzzing. “How do they make that sound?” I wonder aloud. “It’s their wings,” my science-minded son replies.

The challenge and the gifts are the flip sides of the same coin, of course, and the more we accept and embrace the challenge – which means opening our hearts to the full range of feelings that enter and leave in the course of a single day – the deeper we delight in the joy. One of the great myths of the ego is that we can protect ourselves from feeling the pain of life and only seek joy. It doesn’t work that way. Sadness and joy, like the film Inside Out so beautifully depicts, co-habitate in the heart. Anger, jealousy, fear, disdain, disappointment, excitement, and happiness live there, too. To be fully human means to allow ourselves to feel everything, and to love ourselves through the feeling.

It’s not only our hearts that make being human a challenge, it’s also our minds and the thoughts that endlessly populate them that create a daily obstacle to wellness. If wellness depended on learning our multiplication tables and being able to identify nouns and verbs, our education system would serve us beautifully. But true wellness does not depend on these things. True wellness is about liking who we are and knowing who we are, and in order to know ourselves and like ourselves we have to be able to work with our thoughts effectively. We have to be able to identify when we’re caught in a story and learn how to detach from that story so that we can settle back into the present moment. Where do we learn this in our early education? We typically don’t.

To be human is to ache with both sorrow and joy. To be human is to hurt the ones we love and to be hurt by them as well. To be human is to feel lonely, jealous, envious, angry, alone, joyful, peaceful, excited, and serene. It can be so hard being human, but the challenges are only exacerbated when we judge those hards moments and fall into the trap of believing that they’re evidence of our brokenness. Having an argument with a loved one isn’t evidence of brokenness; it’s evidence of our humanity. Getting stuck in the sticky web of intrusive thoughts isn’t evidence of “badness” but of our sensitivity and the ego’s attempt to consolidate our anxieties into one, clean – albeit torturous – thought. The more we accept our humanness, the more we can bring kindness to ourselves, and that kindness – that balm of self-compassion that can believe that maybe we’re okay – is one of the keys to freedom. When we stop fighting who we are, we grow into who we are meant to be.

71 comments to It’s Hard Being Human

  • looking4peace

    Hi Sheryl, beautiful article once again! I always take your words to heart, especially this article. Lately I’ve been struggling with feeling sad sometimes whenever I think or see my boyfriend. The thing is, I don’t really know why it is I’m getting sad because things are going better between us but still I’ll get sad. This happens especially when he does or says something sweet to me, and it’s been giving me anxiety. I have asked myself a million times why I’m feeling sad and I still don’t know… Do you have any situations? Any advice is helpful.

  • M

    Being human is so hard at times. My husband’s ex committed suicide on Friday. I feel so bad about the whole thing even though I only met her once and she cheated on my husband when they were together. My husband seems to be doing okay, he said he is sad, mad and disappointed that she just gave up on life. I have never known someone personally who has committed suicide.

    • My goodness; I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending love.

      • M

        What should I do? I just feel so bad.

        • Also M

          A few years ago, my ex-husband took his own life. I went through waves of emotion. Hurt. Disbelief. Anger. Sadness. Guilt. More sadness. More guilt. Still more sadness. I’d never known someone who had taken their own life either and didn’t know how to deal with it. I tried a grief group and a suicide survivor group, but being such a highly sensitive person, I found the groups unbearably sad. And since I was divorced at the time of his death, I also felt that I didn’t deserve to feel as much hurt as the people whose current spouses/family members had died. Of course, this isn’t true. Pain is pain, regardless of how we stumble into it. But in the end, the groups became too much for me and I stopped going. So, what did I do instead? Over the years, I’ve talked to him, written letters to him, cried for him, yelled at him, laughed with him, and a hundred other things. While I think I have healed a lot, I don’t think I’ll ever come to a time in my life when I’ll be “over it.” It changed how I saw life. I knew intellectually that suicide happened, but I didn’t really believe it could happen until I directly experienced the effects of it. It deeply affected how I saw my own life. About a year ago, I finally found a therapist and talking did help, but by that time, I’d already sorted through a lot of it on my own. While I can’t tell you what you should do, I can say that looking back, my healing came through allowing myself to really feel what I was feeling, whatever that was. Music is a real outlet for me so I made this playlist of songs that helped open me up to what I was feeling. I’d turn on the music and just let it all come. Then, after a bit, I’d be all cried out or not mad anymore and feel okay enough again to go on with whatever was happening in “regular life.” If nothing else, I hope reading about my experience will help you feel as if you’re not alone in this. So many of us out here have walked (and are still walking) this same bumpy path.

          • Thank you for sharing your experience. I have no doubt it will help.

          • M

            Thank you so much for your reply, it’s very much appreciated! I can definitely relate to being highly sensitive as well, I was surprised how much the death affected me even thought I only met her once. My husband and I have been talking about her over the course of the week, and I think it’s been helping both of us. Our families have been very supportive as well and told us to let them know if we need anything. Thank you for sharing your experience, it helps in knowing others have gone thought this as well. Hugs to you.

  • Roxie

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

  • Newly Married

    This weekend I got very spiked as a friennd of mine told me my relationship was not good because i had very difficult feelings towards my husband. Do you think my relationship is a bad relationship Based on the what you know sheryl?

  • Lisa

    Hi Sheryl, great article and beautifully written. Do you think you’ll ever write something about ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) and its relation to relationship anxiety?

    • Katie

      I have fomo a great deal at the moment and I’m always blaming my relationship for it. I worry more in the sense that my boyfriend holds me back from the typical “college lifestyle” (partying, drinking etc). I’ve never really been one for partying and I’d say I’m more of a home bird, but since my anxiety got bad I’ve constantly wondered whether that’s what I should be doing instead of being in a relationship which is silly because I know I can do both, my boyfriend is always encouraging me to go out with friends and have a good time. I suppose I just struggle with the message that society portrays about being young and in a long term relationship. What’s worse is when I do think about spending time with friends I get all the fear based thoughts “what if c isn’t busy, wouldn’t you rather be with him” “what if you go out and realise you want to cheat” “what if you go out and you don’t think about c at all?” And I just spiral and then end up cancelling. How does fomo come into play with your relationship anxiety? I’d love to hear

      • Lisa

        Hi Katie,
        thanks for your reply. It’s very soothing to hear that other people have very similar thoughts to me 🙂
        My anxiety is very similar to yours really. I also think that because I’m still in my 20s (I’m 25) and because these doubts have been there for nearly 6 months now, that I should just break up and “experience” things and once I’ve done that my anxiety will be gone next time round. However, I know that it’s not true, just like you said. I have had these FOMO thoughts in 2 other relationships and ended them mainly because of it (there were other problems so my fear had an easy job to convince me to leave). This time, nothing is wrong and the guy is perfect and I’m refusing to throw that away. Your thoughts about wondering if you don’t miss him when you’re out or if you’ll cheat just mean you don’t trust yourself enough. I have had similar thoughts such as “what if I’m going out with girlfriends and realise I like it more/realise I want to be single”
        At the end of the day, that is just us not trusting ourselves and our fear/doubt speaking. Most of the times in the past when I went out and had a really good time I wished my boyfriend was around to share it with him. And there really isn’t anything wrong with having a night out without your bf and simply enjoying yourself, enjoying the attention you might get from other guys. I personally think it is even necessary, for me at least. But I know what you mean. When you are in the middle of your anxiety, going out and exposing yourself to all these potential risks is the last thing you want to do. However, always cancelling is not the right way to go about it either. You give your fear so much power, it shouldn’t be that way. For me FOMO is also a lot about “other people are travelling/enjoying the single life, maybe I should do that”
        Our culture about how young people should live definitely plays a big role. What helps me at the moment is to keep asking myself “what is most loving for you?” And although I’m not always 100% sure, when I do have moments of clarity I know that if something terrible happened to me, my boyfriend would be there. I know that if something happened to my family, he would be there for me. I know that I can manage anything life throws at me with him by my side and that is so much more valuable than any party or one-night stand could ever be. I still get caught up in my fomo thoughts but I just try to remind myself what is really important in life. Another thing that has really helped me is to journal with my different fear based personalities. Only yesterday I journaled with the “doubter” and it really opened my eyes. Although the “doubter” has some good arguments, at the end of the day, by writing them down, I could see just how much all of these arguments were based on needing certainty and trying to protect me. They aren’t based on actual truth. You don’t really want to be single or life that party life in my opinion. A part of you wants you to so it can avoid risk, avoid love, avoid disappointment, avoid pain, avoid making a mistake. And after reading so many of Sheryl’s articles I just know that there is no guarantee for any of these things.
        I hope this helps, try the journaling, it really helps.

        • Katie

          Thank you for replying so fast, I know in my clear head that it’s just anxiety trying to convince me because before I had relationship anxiety I would happily go out without him, party with friends and be in the present with all my friends. I do have trouble differentiating between what’s anxiety and what’s not tho, you say you’ve had relationship anxiety before but there were true troubles in those relationships so it was easy for fear to convince you, what kind of troubles were they?? (if u don’t mind me asking). My boyfriend is pretty much perfect but he has his flaws (as do I) and I focus on them so much recently and I find myself arguing with him over absaloutely nothing, I’m pretty sure we don’t have any real serious problems but anxiety is such a convincing thing

          I’ve only ever had relationships where I have had to do the chasing after the guy whilst they’ve pushed me away, for months on end I would chase these guys and be so caught up in them and then when they wouldn’t reciprocate I’d slip into a depressive episode (much like the one I’m in now) and now that I’ve got a relationship where my boyfriend is definitely the persuer I feel all this fear. I’m wondering if I’m “addicted to the chase” and that’s where my anxiety stems from Haha. I know the loving choice is to stay, well at least I think I know that (I can never be sure of myself totally). My family love him, they can’t do enough for him and he’d do anything to help them out, I know we’d be there through the toughest times and he’s already shown that through other things that have happened in our 2 year relationship.

          Journalling for me is a struggle but I am trying my best to get all my fear based thoughts out. Often I don’t have time to sit down and write (especially with exams around the corner) so I just make little notes on my phone when a tthought creeps up and then I’ll write them all down in my diary before I go to sleep.

          Sorry for going off track and writing a lot lol x

          • Katie

            Sheryl has written about “the grass is always greener” syndrome in a few of her articles, although they aren’t exactly about what we’re talking about they may help address some of your fears x

          • Lisa

            Hi Katie, yeah I’ve read those articles. I’m doing the break free course and they are in there as well.
            The struggles in my previous relationships were that in my first relationship, when I was 15, I really was too young and the guy was very controlling. So I think my thoughts/fomo coming up there were probably somewhat real/healthy. The 2nd one was when I wanted something more serious than he did. I was quite clingy I think, wanted to do all these couple things and it became clear after 2 years that he didn’t want that. Also, he was American stationed in Germany (I’m German) so that was an obvious reason to break up. He went back to America and I was still in school here/no one wanted to get married haha.
            The one after that was not very long but he cheated on me, so ending this one wasn’t too hard.
            After all this I was going to be single, just have fun and forget about all the stress. I went to the UK to study and met my current boyfriend there during university. Fast forward, we’ve been together almost 3 years and I’ve moved to the UK for him. We moved in together 7 months ago.
            One thing this whole anxiety made me realise is that these feelings have always been there. I could never make sense of them because I always thought “doubt means don’t” but this time, nothing is wrong with the relationship. Yes we argue sometimes but that is normal. When I say nothing is wrong then that means there are no red flags and we pretty much want the same things. So when the doubts came up again, after about 2.5 years, I thought “hang on” why is this happening again now. I gave my fear what it wanted before, I was single, did all the stuff I thought I needed to do and here we go again. Before I committed to my current boyfriend, we were more or less just friends during that year in Uni because I didn’t want to commit too early. I had this “genius” plan that if I wait long enough and do XYZ, then I can avoid the doubts I’m dealing with right now. Turns out that wasn’t true because they popped up anyways. All this just made me realise that it’s always been me. Sometimes the doubts were justified but right now they definitely aren’t. I think an important thing to understand is that we can give into the fear and let it run the show but it will never be satisfied. if you break up now and do what your FOMO tells you to do then it will be quiet until you are in the next serious relationship. Because there is always something to miss out on. At some point you have to be your own loving adult and put and end to this madness 😀
            With regards to the chase, I can relate to that as well. Before I found this website, I had such a distorted picture about relationships. Our boyfriends are available, of course it’s exciting to chase someone and have all that drama but that is not what a real relationship is and it’s not going to last, no matter who you date. The loving choice is to be with someone who backs you up in everything you do and will always be there for you. Everything else are just parts of us that are scared of growing up, scared of making this step.
            I also don’t always find time to journal, I mostly do it on the weekends or at night for 20 minutes. I make myself do it though because I know that next time round, when a really bad anxiety episode is going to hit me, I’ll be needing what I’ve written down during journaling.
            You are making up all these arguments because part of you is trying to sabotage the relationship. Part of you is trying to find more reasons to leave. For me making up arguments was also a problem in previous relationships. I think it’s because my parents argued A LOT and I was the one to solve their arguments for/with them. I know it sounds weird but I basically got used to the drama that came with these arguments and then when in a relationship, I tried to recreate it. I’m still sometimes doing it but not as much as I used to. Do the break free course, it’s amazing and don’t let your fear take over, it’s not worth it

    • Katie

      Thank you Lisa for going through my fears with me and making me feel less crazy!!! I’m so excited to take break free I really do want to put an end to all of this so I can feel at peace and even when I don’t feel at peace I’ll be able to deal with it. I’ve just got to save up some more money!

      • Lisa

        no worries 🙂 I think it’s important to be able to speak to other people who are going through similar things. At the end of the day it’s all just fear and not reality. Committing to someone is scary and part of us, or part of me at least, doesn’t want to grow up. so it’s coming up with all kinds of stories to stop me from committing to someone and moving on with my life. that part of me wants to remain stuck forever and is clinging on to old memories. it’s time to move on/grow and our relationships are helping us grow, that’s why it’s so hard and why we are coming up against so much resistance. It’s like Sheryl said in so many of her articles, the ego fears change and doesn’t want to die.

  • LightAtTheEnd

    What a beautiful article. Very relevant to where I am at. I definitely find it hard being human! Largely because I feel the ‘bad/uncomfortable’ feelings waaaaay more than the joy and happiness. It’s like am really unbalanced and it’s exhausting feeling ‘low’ a lot. It’s like all my negative thoughts are directed onto my husband and i feel the joy/serenity parts with other people. I wonder how best to counteract this happening so my heart is also more open to him..and the life I’m creating with him…

    • There’s a big difference between feeling the uncomfortable feelings like sadness, fear, jealousy, etc and projecting our negativity onto one’s partner. Do you understand that difference?

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    I try to avoid arguing with my husband by holding back what i really feel. So you can say we dont argue much. I usually speak to my husband in a calm manner. I have lashed out at him when i was in the high voes of anxiety. Is itnormal not to argue? I feel its not healthy, I have this immense phobia of speaking my mind because im affraid he will leave me.. he is a highly sensitive man like myself.

    • Some couples rarely argue and others argue a lot. What matters isn’t so much the arguing or not arguing as making sure that you’re letting your husband know how you feel. You can certainly do this in a constructive and gentle way that is less likely to start an argument.

  • LovingKindness

    Hi Sheryl,

    I think this is where I struggle – really internalizing that it IS hard being human, and that is universal. “To be human is to hurt the ones we love and to be hurt by them as well.”

    I have a hard time seeing the common humanity in my situation. I feel like “good” people don’t hurt their friends, they don’t mess up and lose friendships.

    I started reading Self Compassion by Kristen Neff, and in taking her self assessment (even going through all the healing I have done so far with your courses) my Common Humanity score is LOW and my Overidentification score is high. I am working on it, but it’s difficult to BELIEVE that what I am experiencing is not evidence that I, in fact, am bad.

    Still more growth to be had!

    Thanks Sheryl,

    LK

    • There’s no possible way that what you’re experiencing is evidence that you’re bad, but it will take you a while to believe that. It’s all a work-in-progress and you’re doing great work.

      • LovingKindness

        Thank you, Sheryl! I hope to continue doing this work for a lifetime with your guidance through your courses and blog posts. I can’t thank you enough for how far I’ve been able to come using your wisdom as a compass.

    • agnes

      LK, there is no way that you are bad. You know I struggle with that as well – you’re not alone in that. I love reading your posts on the forum; so often you take the time to give your compassion and wise-words to others. You are a wonderful & important member of this community. I have those equations about what ‘good’ people are and do also AND on top of that, any sort of self-acceptance feels like psychopathy! (‘oh you feel okay about yourself do you? *some sort of Patrick Bateman/American Psycho figure appears in my mind* funny, really). You are doing great work xx

  • Katie

    I’m confused. It seems as though “I don’t love him” thoughts shifted the other day, they’ve came back a little today though.. but today I seem to be overthinking everything. I work in a pub and I have noticed sometimes when I’m working (not all the time) if I see a atttavtive guy my head makes me think/feel that I’m always looking at them and that I’m having to force myself not to look, when I’m working I’ll sometimes think to myself “I wonder if they’re looking at me” and then even though I’m just doing my job it makes me feel like I’m trying to impress them when I’m not? I don’t even chat and have a laugh with the younger male customers because it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. Yeah I find other guys attractive but I wouldn’t dare cheat on my partner or anything. I have no interest in being with another guy. I have noticed I find guys attractive in a different way than what I did when I was single, when I was single which I was for like 5 years, I used to love the attention and being abit of a flirt, if I saw an attractive guy I’d be like “wow” in my head and keep looking, now when I see an attractive guy I acknowledge in my head that they’re attractive but it’s not like an “wow” attractive if that makes sense. Is any of this normal? I know everyone says love isnt a feeling but I can’t seem to move the false beliefs out of my head. I don’t want to lose him but I feel sorry for him with me having these thoughts, he doesn’t deserve it. He is so amazing. Im so scared that the thoughts are my truth 🙁 I can go days without any love feelings. Is this normal?

    • Sophie

      Dear Katie, thank you for choosing to be brave, for choosing to feel the many varied emotions you are experiencing, for acknowledging these and for sharing your sense of confusion. May I invite you to allow yourself to choose to feel ok, good enough, loving self enough, fully loving and acknowledging yourself just as you are, right now, which is simply perfect. You are perfect, your boyfriend is, I am, everyone is. From this place of inner knowing, trust, self-love, connection with all, peace, unity, clarity, one’s own definition of perfection/good enough/good/bad, if a definition is needed, I have been able to accept myself and others as we all are, and therein there is no need for judgement, of self or others, I can simply be and therefore attract to me those who choose similarly, those with whom our energies resonate harmoniously, hence no intrusive thoughts, anxiety, worry, fear, or any negativity, I simply choose to trust me, the divine universe/ Goddess/God/Angels/infinite quantum energy/power/chi/Source/Great Spirit/Kunda or any label desired for that living loving spark of creativity/creation.

      From my upbringing I learned to judge, form opinion, criticise, feel the need to intervene/give my opinion whether asked for or not, find fault, fix, repair, be in control, manipulate, endeavour to please everybody, listened to and gave power to everybody else’s opinion of me, learned to play on my own, how to be separate and not connect, be responsible for others, accept the consequences of my actions, I learned of fear, worry, anxiety, lack, prejudice, spiteful and mean ways of behaving, to dismiss my feelings, to feel I was invalid, a nuisance, in the way, that ‘life is hard”, “rich people are nasty”, “competition brings out the worst in people”, “it doesn’t matter what job you do, you must like the people you work with”, that success was only for men, that asking for my needs to be met was wrong/greedy/not ‘ladylike’/inappropriate, that I must love my brother no matter what he did to me (incest), love my family members irregardless of abuse I experienced; I learned and chose to hide my pain, confusion, fear, worry, anxiety under an external ‘I’m fine” smile because that enabled me to survive.

      Turning 50 this year, I am truly enjoying living, not merely existing as a shadow of myself, for I have faced my inner self, my shadow/my fears/my ‘demons’ and I am proud to say how much I love me, I love loving and being me, I love life and all her opportunities. I love being in charge of me, my thoughts, emotions, actions, feelings, reactions. I am free. I am free to be me. I admire and am thankful that many people are coming to self awareness so much younger in their life; I desire that the formal education system worldwide chooses to accommodate and teach such awareness, for I choose to believe that this offers a path to peace. Once at peace with oneself there is only desire for peace with others, Love begets love, peace begets peace, like attracts like (and to my understanding, ‘opposites attract’ to provide an opportunity for growth/soul growth/learning, for me this was meeting my shadow self and acknowledging all the aspects I’d been raised to ignore, dismiss, push away, be embarrassed by, not accept ie me as I fully am, wonderful and lovely, faults and all, for I needed to love and accept me even initially superficially [‘act as if principle’] in order to fully love and accept me, to accept all the aspects of me that my ‘family’, upbringing, societal messages said were unacceptable, wrong, bad).

      I enjoyed and benefitted greatly from Sheryl’s ‘Trust yourself’ course in 2015, and from many life experiences beforehand including childhood suicide attempt, emotionally-dysfunctional family with little external family or other interaction, and similarly strict, emotions-unacknowledged schooling and employment experiences, parental divorce, my major health restrictions following ‘accidents’, miscarriages/pregnancy ‘failures’, marriage, breast cancer, divorce (my introduction to journalling and self-awareness), awareness received by training as a youth and community education worker, counsellor, holistic and sports therapist, riding instructor, secretary, participating in counselling and psychotherapy, CBT, a community choir (where community is as important as the singing and everybody is welcome) and much spiritual enquiry, which lead to taking Sheryl’s course, reading blogs, books, watching many videos, participating in numerous free Abundance and Law of Attraction webinars, helped me to explore the values, beliefs and expectations I had formed and was acting upon, to explore my subconscious, to understand the impact of my subconscious on my ‘conscious’ actions/thoughts/feelings/ emotions/choices. I learned that the values, beliefs and experiences of my childhood (as my memory allows and acknowledging that in ‘remembering’ I may be re-creating these differently to how I experienced as a child) which some people say is affected by the Theta brain wave state being dominant from ages 2 to 5-7 lead to the baby/child absorbing like a sponge until the fontinell on top of the head closes, when Beta brain wave activity dominates and thus the consciousness starts forming although based on the previous un-conscious/sub-conscious with those experiences and emotions forming the foundations for future thoughts, beliefs, actions, rea ruins, emotions, feelings and becoming set for how the world is then experienced, unless a conscious decision is taken to acknowledge what is deeper inside and decide to choose if those values, experiences, beliefs and attitudes, reactions, thoughts, feelings and emotions are helpful to the adult life now available.

      I now hold the belief, and therefore that, I am in control of my life, co-creating/in partnership with my souls, spirits, bodies, minds and those of the universe, many galaxies, all, that ultimately we are all of one energy and consciousness and love and experience and that the human condition is a temporary learning experience for the human soul, that my spirit is linked to this lifetime and my infinite soul can connect with the greater spirit/God/Goddess/Source/Universe/divine energy/quantum love and light of the infinite eternal power of consciousness to learn of my present, past and future, to shape my experiences and understanding. All is in flux, flow and ever open to change, so I am also 🙂

      I choose to experience life as I choose. I understand from what you’ve written that you are choosing to give value to one feeling or thought or action or emotion or reaction more than another. I accept that’s your choice. I choose to believe you. I choose to invite you, soul to soul, to ask if your spirit is serving you well. Are you happy with your conscious choice to choose to feel co fused? Can you choose to feel something different, nicer, more self-loving? Can you turn the pity you describe you feel for your boyfriend into something supportive and loving for yourself? Do you use your energy wisely? Is choosing to put energy into feeling negative a happy experience for you? The happiest you can be?

      Can you choose to transmute the negative energy of such fear-based thoughts and feelings into positive action to choose to think, feel, act, react, emote differently? What would you need to do to achieve this change? What can you say, think, hear, feel, touch, smell, taste, do, be to soothe your scared inner child? Can you parent yourself lovingly and then allow others to do that for themselves? Their reaction will mirror your’s if they choose to raise their vibrations, or you will perhaps be drawn to others who do meet this vibration, perhaps the choice is always your’s – your free will versus your soul’s desires?

      Much love, light and blessings to you dear Katie xxxx

      • Sophie

        Apologies for previous typo – “reactions” not ‘rea ruins’! Though I would add that fear ruins so that rhymes nicely and maybe my typo was intended so I could add this! Xx

        • Sophie

          Additionally, I note on commenting on your ‘confusion’ I typed ‘co fusion’ – perhaps as with co-creating with the universe, we co-fuse – when feeling confused perhaps we are co-fusing our conscious and subconscious minds to create new thinking/feelings/actions/reactions/emotions/opportunities for growth – maybe out of the chaos of confusion comes calm, peace, more self-love and trust, a new way forward or around or up, or other, depending how you choose to consider life?

          • Sophie

            3rd time lucky! As I finish re-reading what I typed, I learn that in writing of co-fusion, instead of my ending comment of soul versus free will, maybe all bodily parts and various energies which form the hologram I am, can co-fuse and be a simple blended loving harmony – an expression of love, peace, gratitude, understanding, patience, kindness, calm, tolerance, acceptance, joy, bliss, so many positive attributes – and I thank and attribute to Christie Marie Sheldon’s free webinars via MindValley on-line the notion of choosing to raise my emotional vibrational frequency to that of ‘love and above’ – her description which I choose to honour and share. I also recommend EFT (emotional freedom technique/”tapping” and Nick and Jessica Ortner’s free on-line resources/tapping videos and scripts to release unwanted feelings, experiences and subconscious blocks easily, with a process of acceptance of the feeling, acknowledgement of where felt in the body, hearing/saying out loud if possible the pain/fear of choosing to bear this, the effect and gently tapping on hand and face/head/body acupuncture meridians to release the negative energy and replace with positive, to create change and raise vibrations), Rev Michael Beckwith’sBeckwith’s free webinars on soul purpose (also via MindValley), Natalie Ledwell and Sonia Ricotti and Sonia Choquette re LOA (laws of attraction and abundance), Donna Eaden and many on Hay House publishing who offer energy healing and advice re how to self heal. Whilst I have chosen free materials and courses and been blessed with some scholarships for reduced fees, as I previously didn’t feel ‘good enough’ to warrant receiving a bigger income, had learned to not be successful, to not have what I desire, to ‘be careful’ what I spent my money on, to ‘not waste’ or be ‘foolish, silly, stupid, ridiculous’ in my choices, to thus limit myself through perpetuating the fear that ‘life is hard’, I must ‘get it right’, ‘be perfect’, ‘get it right first time’, ‘no excuses’ and so much harshness and non-loving, I now see/understand I was limiting myself, and now I choose to allow myself to receive the very best of positive abundance in all areas of my life, for in so receiving I can also give, serve, be grateful, fully love xx

      • Katie

        Thank you for your comment. I just struggle a lot with what love really is. I’ve grown up thinking this is love..
        – feeling love all the time (if you don’t feel it then it’s not love)
        – whenever you’re away from your partner you always miss and think about them (if you don’t miss or think about them then again, it’s not love)

        I don’t feel love all the time, I can go days without feeling it and then a day will come when we are having a cuddle or we are out for dinner and a sense of warmness will flow through me. & in that moment I know I love him.

        When I start to feel okay and accept that you won’t always feel love but it’s about loving actions (which I always show my partner) and I know this because I spoke to my boyfriend the other day about my thoughts and his reply to me was “I would never know you are having a bad day though because you don’t come across that you are, you’re still the same with me).. when I start to feel okay I sometimes find myself looking at a photo of us trying to “feel” love, I find myself asking myself “how would you feel if you broke up with him” and my head responds with “nothing” & I get a thought like “stop lying to yourself, you’re still with him just because you don’t want to hurt him.” Yes, yes I don’t want to hurt him but I also believe that it would also hurt me. The thought of never seeing him again makes me feel sad, the thought of him meeting someone else makes me feel sad & I don’t even want to meet anyone else. He is the only person I want to be with him. I don’t want to lose him but I feel like he deserves to be with someone who feels love all the time for him.. but at the same time, I want him, I want to make him smile and happy, he’s the only person I’ve ever wanted a future with.. I don’t really recall having anxiety before though. Can it turn up at any time in your life? I’ve always been an overthinker / worried though.. before we broke up near the beginning of our relationship I remember having a dream once (not a nice one) and even though I knew it was just a dream, I found myself worrying that what happened in my dream actually happened in real life for months.. all these other thoughts about wether or not I love him all occurred once we got back together after he broke up with me.

      • Thank you for your generous comments, Sophie. I can feel the love and wisdom in your posts.

        • Sophie

          Bless you Sheryl, I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from your posts, my reactions and thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions. I so love life, love love, and am so grateful to be able to dive in, soak lazily, splash noisily, contemplate softly and re dive the generous guidance and protection of my inner well/my inner spirit and soul. Perfection at last simply by loving and accepting imperfect me. Was simple once I found the key, amd I’m so grateful to you Sheryl for all you’ve offered and shared and continue to. Brightest blessings to you and your family xxx

          • Sophie

            Typo alert!! ‘Re dive’ was originally typed as ‘receive’, though if life is about remembering what our soul has forgotten through transitioning, experiencing and travelling on earth, then to re-dive into our well of inner wisdom seems apt! X

          • Blessings right back to you, dear Sophie.

  • Mary

    Thank you!!

  • rochelle

    Such a lovely piece of writing, I’m going to send that to some people I love. thank you

  • Katie

    When I start to feel okay about love not being all feelings all the time and it’s about actions (which I always act lovingly towards my partner) it shifts to what scares me about breaking up.. hurting him, never seeing him again, him being with someone else and vice Versa. & my head is like “you are only staying with him because you don’t want to hurt him” yeah I don’t want to hurt him but also the thought of never seeing him again and being with other people scares me more. I don’t ever want to not see him, I don’t ever want to be with anyone else but him. I know deep down I love him but when I start to feel okay about that, it shifts to “you are just staying with him because you don’t want to hurt him, stop lying to yourself”

    • growinglove

      Hi Katie,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling so much at the moment, but I think the advice remains the same. It appears that you really just don’t trust yourself, and fear making the wrong decision, which in turn makes you feel like you’re not with the right boyfriend- these thoughts will continue shifting until you address the issue from its core… that you do not trust yourself or love yourself enough. I can sympathise with you, I’m in the same boat. However it’s not so much about being concerned with the thought, if you imagine this: when someone goes to a Zoo, there is a barrier between you and a lion, so you are protected knowing there is something in between, however if the barrier were to be removed, you would think the experience feels so much “real” and “scary” as there is nothing between you or the lion, to now protect you. My point here is that, sometimes when we appreciate something with the barrier in between, we do not get the full experience (in this case it is yours and mine anxiety for our own individual situations), but when the barrier is removed (anxiety, fear, irritation, numbness- whatever it may be), we are invited to the rawness of the experience. The thoughts are the symptoms of your inner hurting self, the thoughts themselves don’t need attention but what lies underneath is where your healing is. I can see from the comments just how much pressure the thoughts are putting on you- to strive perfection but with inner work I swear you’ll get to where you want to be- or even better! Keep persisting, but remember self love exists whether or not someone is in a relationship. A relationship will not fulfil your every need, you bring your own Self to the relationship and your partner brings his Self, and you guys co exist and make it work. Hang on. X

      • Katie

        My main thought is around love “you don’t love him because you don’t feel it” I’ve grown up thinking love is a feeling and you know you love someone when you feel it, if you don’t feel it then it obviously isn’t love. If you don’t miss or think about them when you’re not around them then it isn’t love. All this Hollywood version of love is what I’ve grown up was thinking real love and because I haven’t been told or heard any different it’s what I still have drilled in my head. I know I don’t want to lose him though and the thought of never seeing him again and him being with someone else make me feel sad!

        • Katie: I know how much you’re suffering and how desperate you are to make sense of your thoughts and find relief, but my blog isn’t intended to be a place to receive ongoing support. Please email me so we can discuss other options. Interestingly, over the years I’ve noticed that it’s those who have commented a lot on my blog who end up coming back to offer support to others, but only after they go through the course and do their inner work. You have wisdom inside of you waiting to be tapped and gifts waiting to be mined. It’s time for you to discover this for yourself.

      • Growinglove: Beautiful and wise and a testament to all of the inner work you’ve done. Thank you.

  • Maki

    Hi, I’m Maki from Japan. I found your website recently and it made me realized that I have a relationship anxiety. I’ve been with my boyfriend(we’re both 20) for almost 2 years and we’ve been in a long distance relationship for almost a year now.(Japan-U.S.) I’ve been questioning myself “Do I really love him?” and I wake up every morning these days feeling like my romantic feelings for my boyfriend has gone. It really freaks me out and scares me because he’s so amazing and sweet. I feel comfortable around him and we love each other. Imagining breaking up with him or living the life without him is hard for me. Even then I question myself “Am I just too obsessed with him?” Even if I really didn’t love him, I don’t think I can break up with him because it’s too painful. The time we can spend together is too short(we visit each other twice a year) and when we’re not together, I only think about bad things like some dull imoments I had on our dates and some weird moments which I felt like “Do I love him?” My boyfriend loves me a lot and I feel guilty that I feel this way. I’m sorry for the long comment and bad English but I really wanna make my relationship work.

  • Katie

    I’m really sorry, I don’t mean to comment a lot looking for support but until I find the money to get the course it’s just temporarily relief and nice to hear some comfort. The last 2 days I’ve been feeling abit better, kept telling myself that it’s okay to not feel love all the time and it’s about actions and the little moments of sweetness that you feel with your partner. & then today when I finish work, I put my hair down and there’s this group of guys that come in and my head was telling me that I was putting my hair down to make myself look half decent in front of this guy. The annoying thing is I have no interest in wanting to be with anyone else. & that thought has took me back to questioning my feelings/love for my boyfriend as I shouldn’t be wanting to impress other guys.. what is your email?

  • Newly Married

    I think I figured out that my husbands jealousy games and him leaving me back then before we got back left a deep scar in me that surfaced childhood wounds. I suffer from retroactive jealousy with him after all the games but I think and I might be wrong but its probably from childhood experiences the problem is that I am not sure how to work or what to do now that I think I am hitting the problem that lives in me, its like I can bear the thought that he was with this other woman, I dont care about any other woman its about her the one he played games with me to get me jealous and the jealousy drives me inside to the point that it brings hate or repulsion so now I have to think on what to do with this which I am not sure but the good thing is that I am starting to become aware. If anyone has suggestions I would deeply appreciate them. Thank you

  • growinglove

    Admittedly my boyfriend is quite a clingy person and struggles to kind of separate himself from me which doesn’t help with my tendencies to want to distance when things get serious. This has been going on for months where I feel like I am quite suffocated by the love I am receiving, a mixture of not really knowing what love is (unloving father etc) and also a mixture of the fact he is generally who smothers me even when I tell him to back off. I’ve forgotten my own interests because of the pressure I can feel from the anxiety and from the relationship. It can all be a bit too much. But you know what, he is the most loving person I know and I love that about him regardless of how it can make me feel sometimes. He has so many good qualities. Yes there are things “wrong” with him but there’s also things that are “right” with him. My best friend told me at this moment in my life I don’t need to be in a relationship, which upset me. I think even ruined the day for me. Me and him have broken up from yesterday (my own choice at the time), but it was out of anger. We have agreed to have some space, yet I remain terrified that I don’t love him & that I’m with him because I am scared of being alone. I feel like I need to listen to my friend and stay out of the relationship because that’s what my mind had been telling me anyway. I don’t WANT to listen to her but it’s like I suddenly feel like “someone’s confirmed it now”. I often felt like I’m forcing myself to love him, and am finding it hard to relate to the people on here (even if I do dish out my words of wisdom to other people struggling). I want to love him. 🙁 should I listen to her?

    • Newly Married

      Hi Growinglove I dont often comment but I have read your post and I just want to say that through my life I have made so many mistakes trusting other peoples words and not finding my own truth or self trust I dont want to say your friend is right or wrong because there is no such thing my only piece of advice is try to find your own self trust in this situation so that whatever you choose and whatever the outcome be you know it was right coming from your own self 🙂 but dont give up if you think you have something good. God Bless 😀

      • growinglove

        Thank you for replying Newly Married. I feel like I do want to be with him – but I’m scared it is just me fantasising that my relationship can be better and stuff. Our attachment styles are completely the opposite – I am more of the fearful avoidant type, whilst he is more the anxiously attached type – so I am the distancer and he is the clingy one. After taking some space from him I felt happier – and dare I say it, I had more clarity (something I never get), and I was enjoying talking to him? But, now it feels as if I am feeling quite low again. I guess I am trying to find a ‘fix’ to how I feel – something that just makes me feel more love towards him, more attraction – but I cannot be the clingy type and he needs to change this about himself but with understanding. If anyone is reading this, if I am the avoidant type and he is the anxiously attached type (clingy) then, does this mean we can’t work out? I always find something to criticise about him when we get too close, where as for him his insecurities pop up when he distances from me (this is something my therapist observed.) I just wish this didn’t feel so hard sometimes, I am scared of my relationship anxiety being a lie. And that what I’m feeling is fact, and not something my brain just conjured up.

        • Newly Married

          Hi Growing love I think that both of you can work on your wounds if you are aware of them, if you talk to him about that and you both share your needs of course you can work it out, its a matter of being aware and working through your feelings, maybe if you read the book “hold me tight” it talks alot about attachments and it could be of a lot of help. I am like you I am always in fear doubt and I am very sensitive which is such a challenge for me specially for what I am doing through right now but dont forget if you do the work and if you focus on you things will get better.

          • growinglove

            Okay I’ll definitely look into it. I feel like one part of me does want this to work, but there’s also a part of me who feels almost disgusted every single time he messages me. It’s confusing because, we have agreed to taking space away from each other and then I called him earlier to discuss what’s happening and I even cried on the phone, but then, when I began to feel drained and like I just don’t want to talk to him anymore, I pulled away and said I have to go. After that he may have assumed it’s okay to contact me again, and he messaged me whilst also snapchatting me and I immediately began to feel overwhelmed again about him messaging me when I don’t want him to. He tells me everything about his life, which in many ways is a good thing, that he feels comfortable enough to tell me about himself. But when I saw the snap of his mother having had made him food I immediately thought “is it necessary to show me everything about your life?”, it put me off. I know Sheryl takes a different approach to relationships, but I’m definitely falling more into the words of mainstream culture, that because I feel irritated/disgust etc he’s not the person for me bla bla bla. At the moment I just don’t feel attracted to him, connected, and I sometimes feel like my truth is that he just isn’t the right person for me. On paper he is. But he is someoen who is “too kind”, I don’t appreciate him and I dislike myself for it. Then I guess I start worrying that I’m just forcing things/ like when we spoke on the phone earlier I kept having critical thoughts about him & I tried to reword the thoughts, for example he suggested something to help me and I thought it was “dumb”, and then I thought “no, he is trying to be as helpful as he can, and that is what I look for in a man”. I’m scared our relationship is running dry, and that it may be I really am falling out of love with him now… so many perspectives inside me, struggling to know what’s right for me when there’s such a dominant culture focused in figuring yourself out before you’re in a relationship. I’m 21. So I am really young, but that doesn’t discount the fact that he still means a lot to me. I guess I feel like the anomaly here, that I will be the one who realises I forced myself to love him and that he isn’t right for me or something… 🙁 I’ll definitely look into that book tho. I’m just scared I’m trying too hard for something that maybe isn’t meant to be for me

    • blual

      Your last comment sounded so much like myself that I feel the need to say something. I also have a bf who is really loving and kind while i am the ambivalent one. He once said to me – if you were “normal” I wouldn’t have liked you, so I guess things are more complicated than they seem.
      At the moment I think I should find myself/my truth inside the relationship, not just run away. By this I mean bring out all the contradictory likes and dislikes (that in fact are conflicting sides of our personality) and acknowledge them, not repress them. An then see where this gets me/us. Maybe at a better relationship or at separation. The fear is the problem, that i’m twisted inside myself and don’t let things flow in one direction or another.
      I know I felt more attraction to other people, crazier, more intense ones and maybe I would have a better time with someone who is more like me but usually those guys didn’t like me too much and didn’t want to stay with me. And even with them I felt my conflicting sides, it just was another dynamic between us. My bf at the moment is more…calm.
      So what I’m trying to say is that there is a conflict between being myself and being with another that I cannot harmonize.

      • growinglove

        Hi blual, I can definitely sympathise with you. Being at odds with your own personality and your relationship can feel like a struggle, if you want to talk about it more then maybe that may help? I think a lot of coming out to the other “better” side is about overcoming beliefs we have held within us for a long time. But I do know how it feels, like I also have had people in the past I was more attracted to, but they weren’t always emotionally available, that’s where the difference was with them guys and my guy at the moment. And God.. it’s hard. I hone into differences and use it as evidence for why we won’t work, but it’s like what Sheryl wrote, I become stuck in the story and cant see the wood for the trees.

  • Vivien

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and it helps me a lot because I had doubts about my relationship even though I knew I love my partner. Thank you very much for easing my mind, Sheryl. However, I was googling(which is my bad habit, I google things like “Signs you’re not with the right partner” etc.) about relationship anxiety the other day and I happened to find some “review” saying the relationship anxiety isn’t a thing and these are words made up for people who convince themselves that they love their partners and you shouldn’t stick to a relationship if you’re not feeling “right”. I encountered your blog and I was relieved because I found out that there are people who have the same issue as mine and it’s ok to feel that way, but the “review” really confuses me and upsets me. I started to think maybe I shouldn’t be in the relationship if it’s this hard. It upsets me because I’m scared if it was true. Sheryl, what should I do? I feel helpless. I want to believe my love.

  • blual

    Yeah, when you find arguments for why it won’t work u’re in “mind” mode, not in the feelings, not whole. Our mind, well mine at least, is full of clichés that I need to get rid of in order to be with somebody, that’s for sure. The harder part though is should I try to make this relationship work or should I wait for somebody with whom things are better? Isn’t too much compromise to stay? On this site ppl focus on the work with themselves but the truth is the other one counts very much as well. With some people you feel very good (even if u’ve got anxiety) with others not that much…this is where i loose it, I don’t know what to decide.

    • Me

      I totally understand what you’re saying, like I will feel as if I’m doing a very unfair thing by staying in a relationship and hurting my partner. Because obviously they have emotions and I know when I’m mean and horrible (because I’m feeling so crap inside), it hurts him. I wish I knew the answer, sometimes I think “what would I advise my daughter?” and I feel like I would tell her “don’t stress yourself, you’re young. Whether or not it works out, it’s better to just work on yourself.” But then when I see people on here working so hard, feeling that love they do for their boyfriends- it makes me think that is what I want deep down with him. It’s just confusing I know… about thinking maybe there’s a better match out there for me. And how accepting should I be of him? What if it’s just me making excuses to stay in a relationship that isn’t working? Me and him haven’t spoken as frequently as we do usually, and I don’t even feel like I miss him. I miss the past.. I often think what if everyone is just fooling themselves into loving their partners but then eventually do start liking their partners? It’s unfair to think that. I wish I didn’t. I want to have hope, but I have literally no hope for myself. Bottom line is. I do relate to you… you’re not alone. Worrying about all this maybe shows us that it is important to us? And that we want things to be better.. perhaps.

      • blual

        Oh that’s for sure! We want better all the time, that’s why we struggle. The problem is if this better exists or it’s just a phantasy.

  • Kath

    Thanks Sheryl for this. I’ve had a difficult week after having a debate on Facebook with a vegan who questioned my worth as an environmentalist and a human being. It so upset me and I have been going round and round in circles debating if he is right and feeling so guilty that I don’t feel motivated to become vegan.

  • Kath

    But I have decided to be compassionate with myself, other omnivores, vegetarians and vegans – because I sense it isn’t quite that simple, not to me at least. I know a vegan would say what about compassion for the animals, but I don’t think shaming and guilt-tripping is a good way to achieve anything.

    • I’m SO glad you arrived at that place of self-compassion and I completely agree that shaming and guilt-tripping don’t lead to anything positive.

  • growinglove

    Sheryl – I promise I will stop posting so much. But I made an interesting observation, so I was watching a YouTube video where the YouTuber is doing a ‘Life Update’, it is titled ‘Life Update: My Husband Passed Away’. I would say it is definitely triggering, of course. I watched it anyway and it was endearing to see how much they love(d) each other, but, it also made me cry because I thought about losing my partner and how devastating that would be. Sometimes when my anxiety shifts it comes down to fears of losing him to death, I know we cannot stop the cycle of life but it’s a belief that maybe good relationships can’t last long for me because they always get ‘taken’ away or that I don’t deserve happiness. Anyways, after crying having had watched the video and rekindling with my fear of losing my partner – my heart softened and I sent him a text saying ‘My baby’ with a love heart, but this was paired with the impulse ‘I have to see him to make sure he is OK’. He’s at work. I just get frustrated that my heart hurts when I imagine the worst possible thing happening to him – losing him to death but, when it comes to loving him in the present moment I find it unbelievably difficult. I am scared of loving him because when it’s good, I get scared and feel like I need to pull away. I’m not used to good things happening in my life, or having a stabilised positive mood/mindset, it feels abnormal and scary to me. So often I keep things pessimistic and shut out vulnerability. It’s either fearing an extreme scenario, or feeling incredibly anxious (at times numb) to the present moments I have with him.

    • growinglove

      Just to add: I have similar patterns with my Grandma sometimes, when I get too close I fear I’ll lose her soon so I just push away. I know it is better to have loved than not, but I make everyone else’s story mine. And often think I may lose my partner to death at a young age – especially when places like Instagram I see a lot of public pages about individuals who have witnessed the loss of their partners. I’m literally like a sponge, I cannot observe someone’s story and take in the beauty from it, I have to adopt it in a way where I hold onto the fear that it may happen to me. I wish I could separate myself from it sometimes and just enjoy the now for what it is. But I do want to thank you Sheryl, your words resonate with me all day long. Whilst it’s hard implementing change, you are a God send. I just hope I am able to do the hard work and soften my fear walls.