The importance of setting emotional goals

image from nytimes.com

A few weeks ago, a friend sought my help on how to set new goals for the new year. She did not want to set goals that were too high that would leave her disappointed in herself or too low that she finished the year feeling unfulfilled.

The conversation took me back to one that I had with myself December of last year where I told myself that I was going to spend the rest of the year remembering my childhood and confronting my childhood trauma so I offered her the simple lesson that I had learnt from that exercise: set one emotional goal.

The best way to show you how important emotional goals are will be to tell you of how achieving mine helped me.

It had been difficult reflecting on or going back to my childhood memories because I had blocked most of it out as it was a time filled with quite a lot of pain. I was verbally and physically abused as a child which brought about intense self-loathing, a constant need for re-assurance, low self-esteem, intimacy issues that made it difficult for me to sustain healthy relationships, body image issues, the inability to properly express my feelings and thoughts without fear, fear of rejection, lack of self-trust, becoming a people-pleaser to receive love, intense feeling of shame, guilt and a need for external validation. Remembering was difficult so I started talking to childhood friends, looking through pictures and writing.

As one gate of pain opened so did many others.

I went to every event that I could remember brought me pain as a child. They were the painful words and actions that people had said and done to me and the painful words and actions that I had said and done to myself, and every one had to be forgiven. I had to release myself, to depersonalize myself from those events, to unlearn bad habits and re-learn new ones.

By the end of the year, I began to see myself more and as more, more than I was when I started. I was able to do more because I was no longer held back by the negative thoughts and feelings that people had projected onto me during their times of frustration and the ones that I had accepted as a true definition of myself and the world I lived in.

It sounded something like this:

‘if there was nothing wrong with me all along, nothing wrong with the way I walked, talked, danced, laughed, wore my hair or clothes, nothing wrong with the things I liked and my taste in anything, nothing wrong with me stating how I wanted to be treated; if I had a right to be listened to and I could express my feelings and not be shut down; if none of those things were my fault and I had nothing to feel sorry about, then who am I?’

The emotional work manifested physically because I could now help both old and new clients through childhood trauma healing work which meant that my clients healed better and the practice grew beautifully. I was able to open myself up and have a better discerning spirit when I had to hire for the practice because I was not looking for someone who would cater to my ego and I knew how to better create an environment conducive enough for them to grow. Bukki Agunbiade, the administrative assistant was a blessing to myself, my clients and the practice. This clarity helped me make better emotional decisions like leaving a toxic romantic relationship that mimicked the unhealthy relationships I had been surrounded by as a child, recognizing the unhealthy patterns of closely-related narcissists and setting strong boundaries. Financially, I was better able to manage money because I saw how I tried to use and not use money to plug my pain and feelings of worthlessness. Either by giving myself too little or being too scared to earn a lot because I felt I did not deserve it.

By the end of the year, I was seated in my own apartment that I was now able to afford, surrounded by good friends who genuinely loved me for me and around who it was easy to breathe, and living with a kind and considerate housemate and my cat, Uno.

I have set another one for this year to help myself with my intimacy issues so that I can create and sustain healthy relationships and it is to be open.

What emotional goal do you want to set? What do you wish to free yourself from so that you can be? You do not have to do it alone, I can help you.

Schedule a conversation with me here.

musings of a 29 year old woman living and working in Lagos, Nigeria.