When I first started therapy I was trying to explain to my husband how I felt inside. The only analogy that I could come up with was that I was like a garbage can and I had been shoving my emotions in it for years and years. And just like real garbage cans, there comes a point where you can't shove down any more garbage and it starts to overflow. Like the garbage can, I just couldn't keep shoving down my emotions any longer. It's as if my body was the garbage can, my unexpressed emotions were the garbage and I was just too full. My body couldn't hold in any more feelings, it just didn't have the strength.
At some point the garbage flows out freely no matter how hard you try to shove more in. There is nothing you can do, there just isn't any more room to shove down the garbage or, in my case, my emotions. They demand to be dealt with. So that is what I have been trying to do, deal with past emotions and feel and move through daily feelings.
In the beginning I often wondered why I was even going through this, why couldn't I have just kept going the way that I was? I survived for 44 years living this way, why couldn't I just keep going along the way that I had in the past? But I realized that you have to deal with the garbage in an overflowing garbage can or it rots and festers and, just like the garbage, my feelings had been festering for years. Until I was ready to see it, I didn't realize how those festering feelings were affecting me. I thought I was fine, but I wasn't, these emotions were affecting my health and relationships.
I have learned that it is safer and healthier to let emotions flow and feel them instead of hiding them and pretending I'm okay. I don't feel so much like I have festering emotions inside me as much any more and I decided it was time for a new icon. I wanted something better and more positive to overflow. Instead of garbage and blocked emotions, I wanted love to overflow.
One of the things I learned is that when you are Co-Dependent you give from an empty place inside and I didn't want to do that anymore. I wanted to give from love and to do that you need to first feel love inside. How do you feel love inside? You love yourself! So whatever I came up with needed to have love flowing from it. I thought about it for a long time, then I finally came up with a wishing well. In my mind, I could see myself filling up that wishing well with love for myself. Then as the well would fill up with love (I saw hearts flowing up and out of the wishing well), it could overflow with love to those around me.
I printed up this wishing well, along with some hearts, laminated them and hung them up where I could see them. As I recognize moments when I am showing love, I hang up another heart to have a visual reminder of how I am now overflowing with love. No more giving from an empty place inside. No more festering emotions. No more overflowing garbage cans. In its place is a wishing well overflowing with love.