The Discipline of Articulation by Oksana OrlikFeb 05, 2021
I am tempted to believe the lie that I will always be misunderstood. That I am too complicated for anybody to really understand, that I will always feel out of place.
When I believe these lies, I turn inward, choosing self protection. I decide to shut off certain parts of myself—the parts that feel too messy, too complicated, too hard to explain, too much for people, too painful. Self protection may appear to be the best option in the moment, but in the long run, it only perpetuates a cycle of isolation. The more I believe I am too complicated, the more I convince myself I should stop trying to explain myself to people, the more I feel misunderstood by others. Isolation may feel like the less painful option, but in reality, isolation affects our ability to be our full selves.
Because humans are integrated beings—our physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and social dimensions are interconnected—I can’t shut off certain parts of myself and expect to function at full capacity. When I am working so hard to avoid certain feelings that may arise, I inevitably create blocks that keep me from accessing other feelings. When I work so hard to compartmentalize my being into divided parts, when we were created to be intricately connected, I inevitably experience a block in the expression of my soul. My creativity is limited, my ability to love myself, others, and God is limited, and my capacity for existence in a world that requires active and attentive engagement is constrained.
I can choose to believe the lies, to perpetuate the cycle of isolation and disintegration of myself, or I can choose the discipline of articulation—actively and intentionally choosing to communicate my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The discipline of articulation begins with an honest inventory, especially of the parts of me that I would rather avoid. An honest look at what I am tempted to hide, when I choose self protection, and where I have constructed meticulous coping mechanisms. What am I believing about myself, God, and others?
The discipline of articulation requires the practice of putting words to personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and sharing them out loud to a friend, praying them to God, or processing them with a pastor, spiritual director and/or therapist. (It may be less daunting to begin by writing these out in a journal. However, over time, I would challenge you to articulate in relationship).
I have the option—to choose self protection, or to recognize that I am worth the time and the effort to be seen and heard. I can continue to believe the lie that I will always be misunderstood, or I can actively choose to articulate, even if its not in perfect form or elegantly put together. I can choose to live at a limited capacity, truncated by the desire to avoid or shut down certain parts of myself, or I can allow myself to be transformed into my fullest self, as God intended.
Consider: What about myself (thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, etc.) do I struggle to articulate? To whom will I intentionally choose to articulate?
Try using sentences like:
• “I am feeling ...”
• “I am believing ...”
• “I have been thinking...”
• “I am holding the tension(s) of _____ and ______”
• “I am having a hard time pinpointing how I am feeling/thinking/feeling about this, but I would like to keep trying to explain it to you.”
You might not always have the right words and that’s okay.
Even articulating that is important.
Written By Guest Writer: Oksana Orlik (aka one of the most wise, beautiful, strengthening friends I've ever had).
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