Bottled Up Inside? How to Break Free

Have you ever felt bottled up inside? Maybe when you were a guest at someone’s home, had guests at your home – or possibly at work, with your friends or even with a significant other?

I just had this experience recently and I began to realize just how badly it affects me. I spent almost a whole week feeling “bottled up” – I didn’t feel like I could say what I really wanted to say or do what I really wanted to do. I felt stifled, contained and frustrated. My whole routine was upset and I was following someone else’s routine, being careful about what I said and trying to be the calm person that I strive to be.

The Root Cause — That Old People Pleaser

As all of this was going on, I recalled what it was like in my old life – the life of a bulimic, workaholic, overscheduler, perfectionist and people pleaser. If I were to break it all down, the bulimic and workaholic parts of me were probably the outcome of a life out of balance from the first 3. And if I broke it down further, the people pleaser was probably one of the real root causes for feeling bottled up inside.

As a people pleaser, I looked to others before myself. So even if inner wisdom said I didn’t want to do something, I’d decide to do it because someone else wanted to. Now all people compromise at some point in their lives. The challenge is when you start to compromise in all areas of life, leaving no room to do what you want to do – and feeling undeserving of following your own true desires. This is a recipe for moving so far away from yourself that you feel as if you have no intuition at all – no inner guidance to help make decisions in alignment with your heart. This is where I was.

Bottled Up In All Areas of Life

On the job, I constantly did for others before myself and I felt bottled up inside. At home, it was more of the same. With my friends, I felt like I wasn’t REALLY close to them and hence, felt lonely and misunderstood most of the time. Sometimes, I didn’t even feel like I was a true human being because I had this sense of not feeling close to people. As a friend, I was bottled up inside, afraid to express how I really felt and what I really wanted – always too concerned with what they would think of me. What if I wasn’t perfect? Wasn’t accepted? Wasn’t loved?

Wherever I went, I felt bottled up inside…and that created fear. And it made me feel like a fraud. I placed all value on what results I got on the outside – from people and events – and nothing on what happened on the inside. I was like an actor memorizing lines that someone else wrote – not someone creating the life I wanted, from my heart.

Here’s What I Realized…

  • I need to talk out my feelings. I am one of those who talk to think, so talking about how I feel really helps me. When I can’t express myself verbally, I start to feel bottled up inside.
  • When I can’t talk, writing is another good option – I forgot that last week and upon talking with my husband, Joel, I realized I could have been journaling to get my feelings out.
  • I have come a long way from the person I was – who was bottled up in all areas of life, including with Joel, who never knew I had suffered from an eating disorder. Now that he knows about my personal struggles, I can talk to him about how I feel and really get everything out. This has helped our marriage more than I could have imagined.
  • Being bottled up is one of the worst things I can do to myself – it creates emotional residue that surrounds me, impacts my ability to sleep, my energy and my desire to follow the healing routines I have created. It’s the first step toward imbalance.

Your Actions

  • Where are you feeling bottled up in your own life? Look at your work, home life, relationships, finances, etc.
  • What are the areas that cause the most issues or fears?
  • How can you find out your heart’s desire around these things? Consider writing them down, visualizing them, talking to a confidant or using a creative way to tap into your heart’s desires.
  • What action can you take in at least one area of your life, to feel free – to release that bottled up feeling?
  • How will you recognize and reward yourself for doing this?
  • How will you maintain what you have accomplished?

Beautiful Life Lessons

while they seem like challenges at the time …
As uncomfortable as I felt, I can look back and thank the universe for this experience – for reminding me how important it is to be true to myself – to express myself. Life constantly presents us with lessons that – while they seem like challenges at the time – actually serve to reinforce what we have learned or teach us something new about ourselves. I am so grateful for having learned the value of true, free expression in all areas of my life. Now I know I can take this with me as I find myself having to make the little compromises that come up in life – without going over the edge and sabotaging the things that keep me balanced and centered. We all deserve this balance – the trick is learning what balance means to each of us.

What Does Balance Mean to You?

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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!