It Is Crazy How I Found Emotional Freedom At The Age of 50! It Is Never Too Late.
Emotional Freedom is the wonderful process of letting go of your emotional pain and embracing a gleeful and pleasant life. When I look back at my life I realize how much time I lost and so many precious moments I missed on because I was too caught up in the web of my rigid thoughts and suppressed emotions.
I saw my 7 years old niece comforting her baby brother, “It is okay to feel sad. Do you want a hug?”
It Is crazy how things have changed in the last 45 years. When I was 7 years old, I was scared to death to cry in front of my father because I did not want to appear weak and break his belief that boys don’t cry.
I believe my story is rather ordinary. The one you witness in most average Indian households. From the beginning of your very existence, your emotions are pushed either into the ‘bad box’ or ‘good box’.
Scared of elders? Good.
Defying the wrong ones? Bad.
The need to seek society’s validation is deeply woven in your conscience to such an extent that it manifests in the most subtle of ways.
For instance, I did not purchase the printed pink shirt from the store even when I really liked it. Why not? Because boys don’t wear pink. And I know that today’s kids are changing that narrative, but if you ask a 50-year-old man then I would say that the damage is already done.
I realized how staunch and outdated my beliefs are when my daughter turned 20 years old. Her rebel spirit combined with a compassionate heart force me to see life in a different way. She no longer confines herself to the stagnant beliefs of the society and she is fearless in paving her own way.
Before my daughter was born, I was a different man. I seldom ever showcased my emotions and lived life like a soldier fulfilling his duties. My father was the same and my upbringing turned me into his doppelganger. I thought like him. I behaved like him, and I dreamt like him. Somewhere between growing up and striving hard to achieve my father’s approval, I lost my sense of self. Nothing about me felt original. I was a tailored version of my parent’s expectations and the standards set by society.
However, the feeling that I had disappointed myself would creep into my heart during lazy Sunday afternoons, or late at night when I would look around and see a lonely room. My wife had accepted her fate that she was married to an emotionally unavailable workaholic. I honestly wished to be a better husband for her but I did not know how to. I was raised with the belief that showing affection to women was a sure way of ruining the authority you have over them.
On the outside, I was a cold man with strict traditions and principles while on the inside I was a man with dreams and emotions that were long buried in a dark, old and broken grave.
My daughter is the reason why these buried emotions and dreams have come alive again. She keeps showing me new trends on Instagram, or memes that she finds hilarious for no good reason at all. When I look at her, I know that God has sent her as an angel in disguise. Her smile, her little stubborn ways and her undying belief in her father melt the iron gates around my heart.
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She is studying psychology; hence she has got an annoying habit of analyzing people’s personalities and digging up their childhood experiences. One day she started bombarding me with questions about my childhood. I snapped at her and asked her to remember her boundaries and limits. She was offended by my abrupt behavior and retaliated with a bitter but true remark. She said, ‘Mom is miserable because you cannot let go of your past. You are doing exactly what Grandpa did to Grandma. It is hopeless’
Her words struck me like an arrow and I began to bleed out all the emotions that were buried in me. I could not sleep at night because the thoughts felt like sharp ropes strangling me tighter and tighter. I was in the midst of a panic attack when I woke up my wife and started crying. At first, she was profusely confused but then she held me gently in her arms. It was perhaps the most affectionate moment we shared in 20 years of our marriage. The next morning, I told her what had happened between me and Roshini (my daughter). I knew that what Roshni said was true but I wanted to hear it from my wife. Her hesitation mixed with fear when communicating to me about her feelings was clear evidence of how miserably I had failed as a husband and as a father.
Also Read: 8 Hacks for Better Relationship Communication
I respected my father because he built everything from scratch. I despised him for reminding us that every single day. For him, my mother was a housemaid and a source of producing children. His rigidity and indifference were so infuriating that many times I wanted to hit him and abuse him. However, my screams were always silenced by my father’s monstrous eyes and my mother’s helpless pleas.
I did not want Roshni to grow up with a similar childhood. As a father, I was trying my best to change and break the toxic cycle. But I realized that her foremost example of a marriage and a relationship would be the one shared between me and my wife. If I could not be a good husband then all my attempts to be a good father would result in a failure.
It was painfully difficult for me to ask for help. It took 50 years to build a man like me. 50 years of believing that a man can only have two emotions- anger and disappointment. My wife pitched in the idea of consulting a life coach who specializes in the Emotional Freedom Technique. She had read about Emotional Freedom in length and had friends who worked with a life coach for resolving different life issues.
I defended against the idea but my defense was weak in front of my daughter’s happiness. I decided to approach the life coach for Emotional Freedom as suggested by my wife. I remember the first day I met him. My shoulders were broad, my chest was out, and my voice was heavy and stern. I had to show him that I was still a real man.
When I look back on that day I laugh at my stupidity and immaturity. Working with a Emotional Freedom life coach made me understand that a man is known for his strength, but he is cherished for his vulnerability. He helped me unearth the many layers of emotions I had accumulated and forgotten in all these years and find emotional freedom. There were sessions where I felt like I was making no progress or regressing to my old ways. He told me something really powerful that helps me to stay consistent on my path of growth and change.
“Ansh, you have lived with your pain for 50 years. For 50 years of your life, you reacted to situations with the same attitude and beliefs. It is woven in your mind, body, and soul. Do you really feel that you will be able to get over everything that you have learned as means of survival in 45 days? Unlearning takes time. Healing takes time. You need to give yourself time.”
I would have continued living as an obnoxious husband and a negligent father and never found emotional freedom if it wasn’t for my daughter’s exposure to the bitter truth, my wife’s selfless commitment to the marriage, and my life coach’s uplifting spirit.
I wish there was a magic wand that would miraculously change your life for the better. The silver lining is that all the ingredients for a magic potion that could actually change your life are within you. If I had chosen to become blind to my daughter’s subtle protests against my emotionally unavailable personality, or refused to cry in my wife’s arm I would never find a different path in life. I would never gained emotional freedom.
I am writing a fresh story of love. A story where I am free from the shackles of the past and achieving emotional freedom at 50.
Life has a strange way of teaching us lessons that we need to learn in order to walk on a path that is exclusively meant for us. There are infinite opportunities and possibilities available to us, but it is our responsibility to recognize them & ensure that we make the most out of it. We all want to leave behind the baggage that holds us down like a forceful anchor. We all want to run freely & sleep with a peaceful mind at the end of the day. Emotional Freedom is a way of life. A way that will set you free & help you welcome the tremendous beauty of life!