It’s a rainy January day and I feel compelled to share a little insight into my day.
You see, today’s not been easy, and I want to make something good of it.
I get the feeling that some people think or very desperately want to think, I have the perfect life. I am definitely very positive and celebratory in what I share, but it doesn’t mean things are all sweetness and light, because if I am honest – just like anyone else, sometimes they aren’t.
Just like I suspect you are, I’m on a journey here on planet earth, and sometimes I’m faced with things I find difficult. Here’s a list of things I find difficult, particularly when I’m faced with a lot of them at once; perhaps you can relate:
- Fitting in to societal norms
- Being alone
- Other people being upset/unhappy/emotional/unwell
- Little variation (too much certainty)
- Being shut out
- Making decisions
- Accommodating others
- Needing to perform to receive love/acceptance/approval
- The fear of being judged and punished for who I am, for being myself
- Fear of authority
- Fear of being taken advantage of
- Fear around my credibility
- Fear that if I do what I want, I’ll let other people down
- Fears I’m already letting other people down
- Fears I’m delusional and can’t see it
- Fears I’m not pulling my weight
- Fears I am very broken and no-one is confident enough to tell me to go and get it sorted
- Having to permanently be my own champion.
Man, that’s a lot of “stuff”!
Now, I could take a number of approaches to combat this, I could:
- Distract myself
- Eat/drink something to numb it out
- Try and actively turn it around e.g. Sad to happy, by changing my thinking
- Try and ignore it
- Change environments
I could do any of those things to try to turn around how I am feeling right now but experience tells me, I’m best off doing none of those things and instead of running away from how I’m feeling, I’m best to let myself very gently feel it.
Why do what logically would appear to be counter intuitive by turning into what’s difficult for us? Because, we must feel to heal.
Our feelings are as a result of our thoughts, a biochemical response that is designed to aid our survival. So, whilst it is wise to change the way we think so we stop producing uncomfortable biochemistry, the situation I’m in right now is the need to address and release the biochemistry of historic thinking, so those thoughts can be released permanently from my system. I also need to set a precedent of not needing to avoid that biochemistry so I am capable of feeling emotions, particularly these ones from this particular trigger, and still have a fully functioning life.
For example, feeling sad but still showing up for work, feeling angry and still meeting a friend for lunch, feeling hurt and still wishing a friend happy birthday. In effect, being able to have a fully functioning day in spite of how I feel.
Why do this? Because when we avoid feeling a certain way, we shut ourselves down. We’re less likely to do all the things that keep us healthy and balanced like exercise, seeing friends, eating well when we are paralysed by putting all our effort into resisting our emotions.
Instead, we’d do well to develop a list of practices that help us authentically experience our emotions. For some it might be walks or time in nature, art, writing or reading poetry, talking with a friend, talking with a therapist, going to a spa- whatever you know works for you! Whatever you know helps you come to terms with something that’s difficult, do it!
The beauty is, when you permit yourself to experience your emotions this way, you set yourself free. You set yourself free from perceived societal norms, needing things to be different, needing to be cheerful all the time, needing to be what everyone else wants rather than what you are and you allow yourself instead to be honest, creative, uninhibited and open to change.
When we are truly poised in the centre of whatever is going on for us without running away, forcing an agenda or wanting things to be different to how they are, we stand poised and in a deeply powerful location. There is nothing more powerful than realising you don’t want what you have anymore, because at that point you’ll leverage the power and commitment necessary to change how you behave so you do get what you do want. Whether it’s a relationship, health, a more pleasant home or work environment or a greater cash flow – that that point you turn and lean into your emotional experience you’ll find all the motivation you need to bust out of old behaviours and develop new ones. They might be:
- Allowing others to get to know you
- Joining a new club, group or society
- Scheduling in more relaxation or down time
- Eating healthier
- Honouring your truth
- Permitting yourself to trust others
- Asking for help
- Making a regular health/finance/exercise commitment
- Showcasing your work
- Addressing a difficult situation/relationship
You see, feeling your emotions is one of the greatest acts of Self-love. It’s not naff or self-indulgent as others may have you think. No one can know what you are going through except you, so you must advocate for yourself and handle your issues in the best way you know how.
At the end of the day, our lives and our experiences are our responsibility, and nobody else’s. Only we can determine what for us is right or wrong. We must also understand that we will take many goes and we will most probably getting it wrong many times before we get it right – heck, I know I have!
So to conclude, we must feel to heal and permit our experiences to shape our decisions and choices moving forwards. And if you do that, and I do it too, we’ll be busting through the belief we must be happy all and have our sh*t together all the time because, sometimes we most decidedly do not!
And I for one am OK with that.