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Last week we talked about how our thoughts create our reality. (Missed that post? Catch it over here.)
Most of us, instead of trying to stop our thoughts that are logically, scientifically causing us pain, we think we need to shut our feelings down.
This anger is overwhelming, we think.
This sadness is misplaced.
This anxiety is stupid.
But the problem isn’t your feelings. It’s your thoughts.
Lemme say that again:
Your feelings are never a problem.
And if you try to shut down your feelings instead, turns out they don’t just go away.
They might get stuffed down and shut up (for now), but it doesn’t make them disappear. In fact, they do the exact opposite.
When you avoid your feelings, they get bigger.
And then your apprehension about feeling them grows too.
When you allow yourself to feel your feelings, they might feel huge at first, especially if you’ve been avoiding them for a long time. It’s like water bursting through a dam. It can knock you off your feet and make you feel like you’re drowning (see also: all of 2017 for me).
When we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, they get smaller pretty quickly.
When we honor our feelings without requiring them to explain or defend themselves, they dissipate.
Otherwise we get stuck in a vicious cycle in which we’re thinking crappy thoughts that cause us to feel crappy feelings and addressing it only by trying to pretend our crappy feelings don’t exist.
How’s that working for you?
Not so well?
Yeah, me neither.
So what do we do about it?
Be soft with your heart.
When feelings come up based on these old stories, do not, I repeat, do not try to control, reject or deny your feelings.
Remember, your feelings aren’t the problem. And rejecting them doesn’t work.
Meet your feelings with softness.
So what does that softness actually look like?
When you feel sobs rising up into your eyes and throat, let them out! Allow yourself the luxury of crying for as long as you need to.
When your rage clenches your belly, punch a pillow or go kickboxing or go smash some thrift store plates in an abandoned lot. (Ask me about this; I do it semi-regularly...I’ve had a lot to be mad about.)
Be soft with your heart.
Tell yourself kindly: this feeling is welcome here.
Allow yourself to feel fully.
As long as it takes.
As often as you need.
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