This episode is all about embracing vulnerability, learning how to accept support and reversing the belief that you are a burden!
In this episode, I share some personal stories that have shaped my journey of self-discovery and emotional healing, including a defining moment in my life that made me question trusting my gut feelings and establishing a belief that it was always better to say "I'm okay", rather than share any feelings that would prove otherwise.
Next, I share more about the transformative experience I had at our most recent retreat, Transcend, that was eye-opening and life-changing. Once you experience a safe space that allows for mutual vulnerability and support in expressing genuine emotions, it's really hard to go back to feeling emotionally unsafe.
The conversation then shifts to discuss the impact of codependent patterns and the struggle to seek support without feeling like a burden. It's time to break free from feeling as if we have to fix or rescue others and make room for some real talk about what it means to create meaningful and supportive relationships.
We then dive into some personal growth lessons, spill the beans on how to ask for support, and chat about setting boundaries with those who may not have enough empathy for what we're struggling with and how that can leave us feeling like we are imposing.
As we wrap up, I encourage you to embrace your emotions, seek support, and flip the script on feeling like you need to minimize whatever you're struggling with . You aren't a burden; you deserve support! So, grab a comfy seat and embark on this transformative journey. You're not alone!
Corissa is a Somatic Trauma-Informed Relationship Coach™ & Narcissistic Abuse Specialist ™ who helps women cultivate loving, fulfilling relationships by releasing their limiting beliefs and emotional triggers. She is also a recovering people pleaser, perfectionist, and codependent who guides clients through healing their inner critic, letting go of the guilt, and the tendency to give more than they have. She helps clients release the patterns that are holding them back so they can step into a more empowered, authentic, confident, and interdependent version of themselves and ultimately find a meaningful relationship that aligns with their true value and worth.
Book a FREE 30-minute Confidential Clarity Call via my website below.
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Welcome to the Stepping Into Meaningful Relationships podcast. I'm your host, carissa Stepp. I'm a relationship and human design coach, and this podcast is designed to help you create a stronger connection to yourself so you can transform the relationships around you, whether that be with your partner, a friend, a parent, a child or your business. We will be looking at relationships through the lens of human design, and my guests and I will bring you the tools, tips and tricks to create deeply meaningful connections with others. But first let's start with you. The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. Thank you for tuning in. Now let's get to today's episode. Hey, hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Stepping Into Meaningful Relationships. I'm your host, carissa Stepp, and this is the podcast for you if you are looking to improve your most important relationship, the relationship with yourself, so that you can more deeply and intimately connect with others. Today we're going to be talking about why you are not a burden, and I'm going to be sharing some personal stories here and personal experiences that I've recently had that were really eye-opening for me, because I was the type of person who grew up being very hyper aware of the emotions of everyone around me at all times and I often felt very responsible for either making other people feel happy, helping them feel comfortable or ensuring that they weren't upset, mad or angry with me, because in my little child mind, if they were upset, most likely I assumed that it was with me that I had done something wrong. So again, this all points to people pleasing behaviors, which are a codependent behavior. But I distinctly remember being in first grade giving my mother a mother's a card with the lyrics written on the inside to the song you Are my Sunshine. Now my mother used to sing me that song when I was young. So when I went to go hand her this card, I was so excited to give it to her Number one because I knew that it had lyrics inside that meant something to her, but also because I had made a daffodil out of construction paper that stuck out right. So it was like a three dimensional daffodil made out of construction paper on the front of this card. Well, when I handed her the card and she opened it and she read it, she started crying. I got so upset and started crying too and apologizing to her and saying to her that I'm sorry that she didn't like it and I'm sorry for making her upset because I internalized that I had done something wrong. I had internalized that I was the reason why my mother was crying. I remember feeling so ashamed and I think I recall I must have. I think I ran away. I think I literally went to go and hide because seeing her so upset made me feel terrible inside. As my mother quickly tried to regain her composure and dry her eyes, she asked me why I was so upset, not understanding my reaction to her reaction. I don't really remember exactly what I said to her, but I do remember being really confused when she told me that she was crying because she was happy, because all I felt and all that I could really see in her eyes was sadness. Now, my parents had a lot of things that were kind of going on in their lives at that time that I was not privy to as a six-year-old child, and it wasn't until I got much older that I began to understand some of the stressful events that they were experiencing at that time. And the thing is is that when I later understood what was happening, I kind of felt a little bit like my parents had lied to me right. It almost felt like, wow, there's so much of my childhood that I just didn't really understand what was going on, sort of behind the scenes right, like I thought it was great. But looking back on it, there was so much stuff going on in my parents' adult lives that I had no clue about and it almost felt like my childhood was some kind of sham. It also made me question whether or not I could actually trust my emotions. When my mom told me that Mother's Day that she was crying happy tears, a small part of me was relieved to know that I hadn't done anything wrong, but there was another part of me that was deeply confused, because all I could feel and all I could sense was her sadness. Looking back on it now, I really think that this was a defining moment for me. In that moment, I not only learned to not trust my intuition, but I also learned that my emotions were not safe and that her emotions were not safe to be trusted. It's possible that I lost a little bit of trust that day in my mother as well, where I would constantly, throughout the rest of my life, question if she was telling me the truth or placating me. I also took on this subconscious belief that if you're not feeling anything other than okay or happy, then it's acceptable to lie about how you're actually feeling, right, by telling everyone that you're fine, that everything's okay, because dark and heavy emotions are not safe to be shared. I thought I had to bottle everything up and that my emotions weren't safe to feel or express, and that really lasted until I learned in my very early 40s just how bad it is to not allow yourself to feel your feelings. And it wouldn't be even until much more recently that I would learn how to finally ask for support when I was struggling with big feelings or hard things in my life. Allowing myself to vulnerably accept help instead of placing all of the responsibility on my shoulders, to nurture and take care of everyone else without expecting anything in return, was a really big step for me. And this big aha happened and has continued to unfold since transcend, along with a bunch of other lessons that I've learned. But the transcend retreat that my partner, liz, and I hosted in Harper's Ferry, west Virginia, earlier this month Now, at the beginning of this retreat, before anyone had even really arrived, and then again, we did this through a ritual with the group, liz and I consciously tried to create, with intention, a safe space for everyone to feel comfortable, for everyone to feel safe enough to experience whatever it was that they needed to experience by being there that weekend. We invited them to be open to the journey, to the rituals, the experiences and the connections that we were all going to build over that weekend. The last thing that I expected was that these incredible women would also be holding a safe space for us as well. You see, it was during this retreat that I learned that it was possible to safely share how I was feeling and to ask for support or even just accept support when I needed it, without feeling guilty. Yes, I had done a lot of work on myself leading up to this point, but it wasn't until I was in the company of these incredible and amazing women that I would finally feel safe enough and comfortable enough to open my heart fully and allow myself to accept the support that they offered willingly, without expecting anything in exchange. During our last night in Harpers Ferry, we guided the group through a seance. At the end of the seance, we each went around the circle and shared the messages that we received, who the loved ones were that we connected with, what gifts they had given us and what those gifts meant, and I found myself crying along when others would share their stories, their messages, their touching, loving exchanges that they had with their past loved ones. Then it was my turn. I did something that I never would have allowed myself to do in the past, especially not as one of the quote-unquote leaders of the group. I let myself cry, and not just as in my eyes teared up and a couple of them rolled down my face no, this was like snot nose can't get the words out kind of cry. The amazing thing is this group of women sat there and didn't make me feel uncomfortable. No one tried to tell me that I was fine, no one told me to pull it together, no one walked out of the room and no one made me feel ashamed or guilty for taking up space. They just held space for me as I cried and tried to share, through the sobs, what I had experienced, while releasing the emotions that came with it. I realized after that weekend ended that my heart had literally burst wide open, and I know that I've said that before. But I also find it amusing, because each morning Liz and I would meet to discuss the plans and itinerary for the day before everyone else got up. And on the second day of the retreat she asked me what my intention or word of the day was, and the word that popped out of my mouth was opening. And I put my hand on my heart and I said like a heart opening. And she was like yes, yes, because I had the word open, which is very funny because that's very much how we kind of work. We tend to sort of always be on the same page without realizing it, which is such a joy and such a pleasure and I'm so grateful for that. But I had no idea when that word came out of my mouth all the ways in which that was going to unfold that day and in the days, weeks and, I suspect, months that followed. But let's get back to the story. So I felt so liberated to finally feel okay and safe, being all of me with this group of women and being loved and accepted in spite of it. So I could be slap, happy and silly or I could be really serious, leading the group through a guided meditation to meet their past loved ones. It's all me. And it felt so good. It was something that I hadn't realized. I was deeply craving and missing in my life, the deep connections that we formed, the safe spaces that we created, it all felt so unfamiliar, and for me in particular, since I can't speak on behalf of everyone else I had become so accustomed to feeling unsafe emotionally due to so many unhealthy and toxic relationships in my life. It was almost as if I felt safer in feeling unsafe, if that makes any sense. I guess I had normalized feeling unsafe in my body for so long that feeling safe felt foreign, scary, vulnerable, and yet at the same time, after I experienced it, it felt so enriching, satisfying and nourishing. It got to the point where, when I returned back home from Transcend, I felt like I was on a high. I felt like I was a totally different person, until I settled back into an environment where I again started to feel unsafe. So perhaps you're curious to know how we can begin to create that feeling of safety within ourselves. So, in order to connect more deeply with others, you need to know how to bring yourself back into feeling grounded, into feeling calm, into feeling present. Because when we're in a fight or flight nervous system state or we're in our sympathetic nervous system, what happens is we end up just reacting emotionally to everything and everyone around us, and that can have a really deep impact on the people that you are interacting with throughout your day. You may find yourself snapping at your kids or losing your patience with cars and traffic. You might find that you are judging and criticizing everyone around you as a way to help yourself feel safe, validated and in control, when you're really just not okay, because you are subconsciously perceiving that you're in danger. And now, of course, these perceptions of danger are not necessarily things that are life-threatening, but what that means is that some underlying belief that you hold about yourself is being triggered. So you don't feel safe to either be you, or you don't feel safe because you're expecting and anticipating deep emotional pain. So if you're constantly in that sympathetic nervous system state or you're in a freeze where you're completely numbed out and dissociated from your feelings, then you're not going to be able to connect at a much deeper level with people around you, and that includes your friends, your loved ones, your children. In order to connect more deeply with other people, you have to be vulnerable. You have to be able to number one feel your emotions. So if you're stuck in a freeze response, you're not going to be feeling your emotions, or if you're activated into a fight or flight response, then you're feeling everything in an amplified way. So you're just going to be reacting instead of actually responding in a thoughtful, kind, compassionate, empathetic way, and then, at the same time, if you are struggling with something big in your life, you're not going to even feel safe then to ask for the support that you need. Asking someone for support can feel very vulnerable, but if you're in your emotional brain and are acting from a place where you don't feel safe, the last thing you're going to do is allow yourself to be vulnerable. So many of us especially women, I find struggle with things that are hard in silence. So many of us don't want to burden others with our health problems, with the issues that we're experiencing in our relationships, with the things that we're struggling with in terms of being a parent, with things that are going on at work, because it feels like we're being selfish in some way. It can feel like we're being a burden if we were to actually ask someone for help. We feel like we're taking up too much space. We feel like we're taking up too much time, and that's because there's this natural energetic flow that we're comfortable with, which is one in which we are constantly, as women, nurturing, nourishing and supporting everyone else around us. But here's the thing as women, we need to get comfortable with receiving as well as giving, so we have a hard time accepting and receiving the same level of support that we're providing to everyone else. So the only way in which we can begin to get comfortable with that is by learning how to get out of that fight-or-flight response, learning how to stop being so reactive and reactionary and also let go of our codependent patterns. As nurturers. We want to jump in and we want to help. Right when we see someone struggling, we want to make it better. We want to find the solution or provide the quick fix or say the right thing to make it all better. And so we also subconsciously then assume, when we're struggling, that other people will also want to jump in and help, and, as a result, we avoid doing that out of a fear of being an imposition or being a burden. The thing is is that as we heal from these codependent patterns where we don't expect or even want someone to fix or rescue us or the situation that we're in, we learn that we just really want someone to listen to us. We want someone to listen and say things like, yeah, that sucks, or I'm so sorry that happened, or I'm so sorry that you're going through that. What we really want is we just want to be able to process out loud the things that we're struggling with, and having someone just hear us out so that we can verbally process and move the energy, to transmute it or to find our own clarity, or to come up with our own solutions of how to move forward or even just release the emotions that are associated with the thing that we're struggling, that are weighing us down, is all we really need, and sometimes we just want something else to respond to. When someone we go to for support asks us really good questions, right Questions that are supportive and non-judgmental and that are empathetic and sometimes our emotions feel so big that we don't want to express them out loud because they feel too scary, too overwhelming, and all we need is someone just to hold that safe space for us so that we can safely feel, express and release them without getting uncomfortable or walking away or making us feel like we're too much, and without the other person feeling like they have to say the right thing or do something to help us right To fix it. Sometimes we just want to feel validated in our feelings, without that judgment or criticism or feeling like we have to minimize our emotions in order to make someone else feel more comfortable and comfortable. We've become so afraid to take up too much space, too much time, too much energy. But we also have to realize that when we do that, when we do open up and share vulnerably with other people, we're actually allowing them the opportunity to get to know us better, to get to create that more deeply meaningful connection. So if you have this underlying belief that you are responsible for everyone else's emotions and you're responsible for supporting people in a way that looks like fixing or rescuing or even sacrificing, then you may not be asking for the support that you need out of the fear that you are in position and I'm here to tell you right now to stop downplaying how you feel or minimizing what you're struggling with. You are worthy of support, love and validation. The second lesson that I've learned as a result of all this is that it's okay for me to set boundaries about who it is I ask for that support from in my life, because I have people in my life that have proven to me over time that they're not safe people for me to go to. Part of the reason why they may not be safe is because number one they have taken what I've shared vulnerably in the past and used it against me, which only amplifies my fear and guilt in sharing. Or they've proven to me over time that it's not my feelings that matter, but rather their feelings that matter more, and so I end up being pulled back into their codependency patterns and into a role of having to fix or rescue them from the emotions that they have around. What I am struggling with? Because, as always with unhealthy people, it goes back to them and how they're feeling, rather than what someone else is asking for or what someone else is feeling, and that's usually because they have very little to no empathy. Or they've proven to me that they're just not someone that I can rely on for the kind of support that I need, because there's always a cost. It always comes at a cost right. There's a transaction on the other side, as though I owe them something in return rather than them just offering unconditional love, acceptance and support. You know, sometimes that thing is they're looking for recognition, they're looking for me to feed and boost their ego. As a result, they're looking for you know, they're getting their power needs met because I'm coming to them vulnerably and sharing something, and so it puts them in a position of power to feel better about themselves, as opposed to helping me just feel validated in my experience. So I've really had to spend a lot of time digging deep and understanding which people are safe in my life and who do I need to set more boundaries with around what I share, and maybe who are the people in my life that I've never really given a chance to create a deeper relationship with. And it's because of my own fear, right, the fear that, you know, maybe they'll make me feel bad for sharing, or they'll tell me that I'm too much, or, god forbid, they might think less of me for the fact that, like I can't figure it out, or that I am finally asking for support that I need, even though I've willingly offered them unlimited support in the past. But again, there are people in my life where I've never even given them that opportunity, because I've either minimized what I've been through or I've compared what I've struggled with versus what they might have been struggling with at that time, and I think that this is actually something important to highlight, because we often downplay what we're experiencing, because we assume that what someone else is going through is so much worse. Right, we compare what we're going through relative to what someone else is going through and then we deny ourselves the opportunity to support each other at the same time. I know that that's something that I've definitely been guilty of in the past. And listen, like I'm not saying that if someone calls you up and tells you that someone close to them died, that it's time for you to start sharing all the things that you're struggling with. Right, there's obviously a timing element to all of this. But say, down the road, you're checking in to see how they're doing and you open up and share vulnerably with them some of the things that you've recently been struggling with, and not as a way to be like, hey, I'm also going through something. You know what I'm feeling is just as bad or just as worse, because there's no comparison, right, we each have our own individual experiences. It's not for anyone else to judge what's worse, because whatever it is you're going through in this moment to you feels like the worst, probably. So if your friend is going through something right now, and so are you, then lean in, lean on each other, open up and share vulnerably if the timing is right, and not with the expectation that either of you have to fix things for the other or not do anything to make it better, or pressure to say the right thing, just with the hope of growing together through whatever hard times you are experiencing, knowing that you are both showing up the best that you can and that you each have someone who understands what's going on and can listen. And maybe that looks like you just get together and cry, even if it's over different things, right, or maybe you both scream and let out the anger and the frustration by shouting into a pillow. Whatever it is, don't compare what someone else is going through to what you're experiencing and then minimize it out of the sake of trying to stay small and not be a burden. Sometimes all we need is to verbally share what we're struggling with. That alone can help us feel so much better, like a weight has been lifted, because we're no longer holding it in and bottling it up and stuffing it down, which honestly takes a lot more energy to do than just to move the energy by speaking it out loud and sharing it with someone who is a trusted friend or a loved one, who can be a sounding board. And I'm also just going to put a little side note here that if you are into human design, this is really essential for anyone who has an unmotorized throat. You need to be able to talk things out, to release that stagnant energy that is created when we hold it in and bottle it up and stuff it down. So that would be anyone who identifies or who's run their chart and it says that they are a generator, a projector or a reflector. And I just want to be clear that this is not me advocating for emotionally dumping on other people. Emotional dumping versus asking for support when you're struggling with something are two very different things. When you dump on people, what you're doing is you're complaining, you're bitching and you're moaning, and that's not going to be helpful. When you are asking for support and you're sharing with someone how you're feeling scared, how you're feeling so stressed out and overwhelmed, how you're feeling really sad that something happened, that's very different and I hope you can discern and see the difference. Anyway, I hope that this helps you in some way during this holiday season, when us women tend to often take the weight of the responsibility to create the magic, while also trying to manage our health the health of our family and our loved ones, our careers, our homes, our pets all of it. So just remember to take a step back, observe how you're feeling, become aware of who in your life you feel emotionally safe with, who maybe you need to set more boundaries with and who you can lean on for support, whether that is asking your partner to pitch in and take some things off your plate, or sharing vulnerably with a friend about how hard the holidays are now, since you've lost a loved one, or how you're feeling angry about a recent health diagnosis, whatever it might be, know that you are not a burden. Your emotions are valid, safe to feel and express, and that you don't have to minimize whatever hard thing you're experiencing right now in order to make someone else more comfortable. And, as cheesy as this will sound, I'm also here to support you. Until next week, everyone be well. If you're hearing this message, that means you've listened all the way to the end, and for that I am truly grateful. If you enjoyed this episode and found it valuable, would you mind leaving us a review wherever you listen to podcasts and sharing it with others. If you'd like to connect with me for one-on-one coaching or human design reading, you can find me on my website or on social media. Also, if you have a topic you'd like me to discuss on a future episode, please DM me. Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of Stepping into Meaningful Relationships.