As I sit down to write this, I am feeling CRABBY. As you can see from the photo above of me at age three, I have never been very skilled at hiding my emotions. This was unpopular with many of the adults in my life when I was a child who kept trying to ‘cheer me up’ or convince me that I would rather be smiling. For more on that, read this:
I happen to be particularly crabby right now because June is my worst allergy month- the grass is pollenating and I am sneezing, wheezing and feeling exhausted from an over-functioning immune response. I usually hide out and work in the desert for June, but since Covid began, I have now had to spend 3 Junes in a row on Vancouver Island during grass season. And while my Buddhist leanings are helping me more and more to just accept and BE with what is, sometimes I just have to let myself feel crabby in order to move the energy through.
I mostly work with women and feel that it is my duty to empower them. And I truly believe that we cannot be fully empowered unless we feel totally free to feel whatever we need to feel at any given moment and to not be ashamed about it. As girls, we learn that ‘good girls don’t get angry’, and that it is somehow “unfeminine” for us to get mad and express it.
I wish I could say that this is changing with our younger generation, but sadly, from the work that I do, I see countless young women hurting themselves in various ways; internalizing their rage and taking it out on themselves instead of getting mad at society or people in their lives who have controlled, manipulated, violated, and/or abused them. What do I feel when I hear these stories? MAD!
I wish desperately that more of us could embrace our ‘inner crab’ and let her out when she needs to say something, stand up for something/someone, or express the pain that’s underneath the anger. I have come to learn that ‘the inner crab’ is very wise and can help us lead happier, healthier, and more balanced lives once we learn to tune into her and take her advice.
I don’t know about you, but as a young woman, whenever I expressed crabbiness or anger, I was immediately shut down by the adults in my life. I was shamed and called, “moody”, “disagreeable”, “unladylike”, or “uncooperative”.
It didn’t stop there either. Still, as a mature woman, I get called names any time I’m not “nice” or “compliant” and it really makes me mad. In fact, the more I get judged for being crabby, the crabbier I become. The same holds true for many women I know. So what’s the solution?
EMBRACE YOUR INNER CRAB AND LISTEN TO WHAT SHE IS TELLING YOU!
Often, when we’re crabby, it’s a sign that someone has crossed a personal boundary we have. This can be a good thing because sometimes we are unaware of our boundaries until they are crossed. Once we know our boundaries, we can enforce them and stop letting people walk all over us, and thus, become less crabby in the long run because we won’t be feeling so resentful so much of the time.
If you need a boundary primer, read this:
Plus, when we stop fighting feeling crabby, and just let ourselves feel as crabby as we want, the feeling usually goes away much faster because it’s been given the airtime and release it needed. Sometimes we’re crabby because of certain circumstances in our lives and sometimes it’s just raging hormones and there ain’t a lot we can do about it. The thing to remember is that feelings don’t last forever. If you’re in such a crabby mood that you can’t see it ending, remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’ and that you’ll feel better soon.
But while you’re riding the waves of crabbiness, try one, some, or all of the following to get through to the other side…
Esther’s Top 5 Tips to Embracing Your Inner Crab
1. Go with it and stop fighting how you’re feeling.
2. Follow these two important rules while you’re in the throws of crabbiness: don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.
3. Let your anger out in healthy ways like: intense exercise, shouting in your car with the windows rolled up (not when you’re driving), punching pillows, writing all the vicious thoughts you’re having out on paper and destroying them afterwards, “venting” to a caring person who realises that it’s healthy to let off some steam once in a while.
4. After you’ve let out your anger, nurture yourself by doing nice things like having a bath, petting an animal, getting a massage, or doing some yoga and/or meditation.
5. You’ll probably move into feeling sad and weepy after you’ve released your anger, as sadness is often what is beneath the surface of our crabbiness. Let yourself have a good cry- let it out. You’ll feel a whole lot lighter and freer afterwards.