Parts of this weekend were really tough (learning how to navigate through some difficult family dynamics) so this post was on my heart to share. No matter how tough it is to think about the hard stuff in life, I’m relieved that I’ve learned to get comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings.
So, today I’d love to talk about the major benefits that show up for us when we learn to feel our feelings and not push them away. Do you hate feeling bored? Lonely? Dealing with conflict? I hear ya girly, and I hope this post comforts you.
I find it fascinating that we are all totally different in how we express our feelings. Some people are very open and expressive about how they feel, while others keep their feelings to themselves or only have a few people they share with.
There are so many things that make each of us different (childhood, how we feel safe, loved, accepted) and I think it’s good to remember that it’s normal and totally okay that we’re all different.
One thing I know we all have in common is that we all have to deal with uncomfortable feelings regardless of how we choose to feel or express them.
Sadness, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, nervousness, downtime, etc. For many of us, we want to avoid these emotions, so we turn to other means to numb them out. This could be alcohol, drugs, sex, food, over-exercise, control, etc.
Each of us have developed automatic defense mechanisms to avoid feeling the things we don’t want to feel.
Truth: It’s okay to be bored, sad, to have a not-so-perfect day, to have a normal not-crazy-happy day (I used to think this meant something was wrong), or whatever else you’re feeling.
What I’ve found: The anticipation of a feeling is usually more intense than actually feeling it. I’ve found that when we let ourselves feel our feelings we’re able to process through them much quicker than if we were to avoid them.
Think about a time when you were struggling with a negative feeling and used food (you can replace “food” with another source) to numb it out. You hate feeling this way, so you grabbed some food and started eating. Soon, it was over, and you’re left feeling more bummed than when you started. All that was accomplished was avoiding the feeling while you were eating, and that doesn’t feel very good.
Let’s take a HUGE step back and look at this situation:
The food simply numbed those feelings for just a bit (distracted you and gave you something to do), yet you were left feeling even worse in the end. Multiple this by however many times this may happen in a day, week, month, year, and you’re not feeling so hot.
So, what do we do?
For starters, I’d say that instead of running from feelings that are uncomfortable, try telling yourself it’s okay to feel them. Let’s use boredom for example: “Yes, I’m bored, but it is okay. Eating (or whatever else you may use) might take my mind off being bored for a short time, but ultimately it isn’t going to make me any less bored. It’s okay to feel bored sometimes – everyone does. In fact, this downtime could actually be good for me.”
Can you feel how this acknowledgement of your feelings changes your entire outlook and let’s you know that you’re safe to feel this way? See how that can help you? Once we begin to trust that we’re safe to feel all of our emotions we’ll realize there’s no need to chase them away (numb/distract).
Related: Here’s a post I wrote about what to do when you are alone for the weekend. It has some great alternatives that can make you feel great when you are feeling down.
How do you all deal with unpleasant feelings? I would love to hear your thoughts! Sending you love today. Sorry about no weekend eats, but I hope this post was even better!