feeling your feelings
November 14, 2012 by
Categories: Emotions

I feel confident in saying that all of us here at Collective Inquiry are big advocates of feeling your feelings. It’s a simple statement, but not a simple action. If there is one lesson I have learned from my training, it is that when you allow yourself to dive deeply into a feeling, you will realized why so often we choose not to dive. It can be difficult, anxiety-provoking, and allow you to understand things in an entirely different manner. It’s not just a change of the mind, but evokes a stir in your heart,  a tightening of your breath, and a whoosh of exhilaration.

This reaction can be a response to diving into both extremely sad or happy feelings. Yet, more often then not, I would rather coast and stay on the surface where it feels safe. However, it turns out the tighter I tried to hold on, the more I was sinking. This past week, I experienced this first hand. I had a busy work week and tried to throw myself in and distract myself from nagging feelings of pain, grief, and loss.

Like most of the time when you try to retreat from nagging, it only serves to increase it. The harder I tried, the more the thoughts followed me. Finally, a trigger broke me down. Suddenly, the waves came crashing down and I wasn’t sure in that flight or fight moment which way I would go.

I didn’t fight. I didn’t have the energy, nor did I think it would be healthy. I know that this overwhelming emotion is here because for some reason it thinks it’s good for me. And so I walked with it for a few days, despite its heaviness. In the back of my mind, I knew that this process would later serve to lift a weight off of my shoulders.

This is where I particularly struggle– finding that line between succumbing to feeling my feelings and plain old wallowing. When I think of wallowing, it seems more self-induced and less forgiving. It turns out, I never know if I crossed the line until I look back on my experience. And that at the end of the day, it may not even matter.

What I am sure of is that it is better not to avoid the diving. From afar you may fear sharks and the unknown, but up close you’ll find that it can be quite beautiful– and that you’re mind and body will absolutely let you know when it’s time to come up for air.

What tactics have you tried to avoid diving into your feelings? Does it work?

 

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