Relief and delight after processing these strong feelings.

I made the page background in the morning using watercolour and inspired by watching Chrissy Foreman Cranitch’s ‘colour with feeling’ videos.

I came home after work and drew intuitively, following the tip Chrissy gave of not saying ‘no’ to any visual idea that popped up and also her suggestion to try repeating marks as a way of expressing feelings.

Surprised and delighted to find the transformative request that emerged: realising I was longing for freedom from others expectations and empowered by realising that freedom is within me and will grow surer with practice.

Thank you wise heart, thank you patient body … I hear you.

It’s painful to hear that others believe I am the source of their disappointment. It’s painful to hear criticism. It’s painful to not receive the appreciation I wanted or to sense that my strengths aren’t recognised or valued: empathy and peacemaking and collaboration.

The suffering part, however, comes from wanting people around me to do or say things differently … And from believing that they ‘should’ understand, respect and appreciate me. I don’t depend on them for that. Sure, I’d love it! But it is within. I’m no longer vulnerable like I was as a child, when my body and mind truly were in danger if my parents were disappointed.

There’s tenderness not just for my pain, but also delight in realising that the experience of others being disappointed connects me to all humans who are experiencing how hard it is when we are not understood or our efforts are not valued.

There’s deep despair too for the human belief that often arrives under pressure – the compulsion to push others into doing what we think is ‘right’ or ‘respectful’ or ‘fair’. Including the pressure I put on myself to not be upset or anxious if others are disappointed!

And now, an inkling of hopeful awareness is stirring in me, that we all want the same things as humans: respect, understanding, support and ease.

A new edge for growth? With more conscious compassion for my own pain, I can be freed more quickly from suffering. I might be free to hope for common ground where my body was once terrified none could be found.

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