Sitting With Your Messy Feelings
Have you ever been so mad that it took your breath away? So mad that you could feel it eating away at every positive feeling in your body, like a cancer? A few years ago, I was pissed off. Really infuriated. Not like "I'm having a horrible day" mad. Not even a hot, volcanic rage that explodes and then is all over. This was a cold, slow-burning fury, although periodically it did explode, all over whoever happened to be nearby. But I didn't want to be mad. So I convinced myself I wasn't. A year later, I was still mad. It took another year before I was able to move beyond the anger. During that time, I lost many opportunities for love and beauty in my life.
Due to my personality (I'm an INFJ on the Meyers-Briggs personality assessment) I am very skilled at helping people work through their feelings. This can be very helpful, and I truly enjoy doing that for people. There is something so sacred in sharing someone's emotions with them, and then helping them make something beautiful come out of a hurtful or upsetting experience. I believe in encouraging people to hold space for their own feelings, to be brave enough to sit with their own emotions and be honest about what they are experiencing.
As much as I believe in doing that for others, I am shockingly bad at doing it for myself. I consistently jump straight to analyzing, so I can put the feelings in a nice tidy box and tuck them away. It's a handy way to deal with them without really dealing with them. I can label it, feel I know what was behind it, and pat myself on the back for being so smart, all while avoiding having to deal with the messiness of actual feelings.
If you’re thinking that’s a little messed up, you’re right. It’s pretty damn dysfunctional, actually.
See, the problem with that approach is that emotions aren't logical. They don't disappear just because you analyzed them. Feelings need to be, well, felt. They insist on it, in fact, and don't go away until you feel them. If you don't let yourself feel them, they just lurk around right under the surface, waiting until you have a vulnerable moment and then they jump out at you. They mess with your happy moments. They get in the way of you achieving your goals. Sometimes they insert themselves into your relationships and screw them up. They become a pain in the ass, honestly. And that's exactly what happened with me. My unresolved feelings were interfering with my life, not to mention my mental health and wellness.
But once I was brave enough to let myself feel them, without judging myself for what I was feeling, a beautiful thing happened--the feeling moved through me, and then moved on. It didn't continue to linger. It didn't sabotage things anymore. Instead, it let go.
It can be scary to sit with your own mess, especially if your mess is something big and bad. Some feelings are so big that we are sure we won't survive feeling them. It can feel like our big feelings are almost more than we can bear. But it is the only way we can move past those feelings. Not feeling them just allows them to fester within us, like emotional rot. It slowly poisons us and our happiness, just as my feelings were doing to me. We can’t be truly present for our life, or our relationships, when we aren’t being truly authentic about what we are feeling.
What mess do you need to sit with? What emotional stuff do you need to allow to move through you? If it helps, email it to me. It is lovely to have a friend to sit in that space with you. Get it out of your body and send it away from yourself. Let's move past our mess and move into a happier future.
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Hi there, I'm Amy. I'm so glad you're here. I'm a writer, photographer, mom, wife, and highly sensitive introvert, just trying my best to show up fully for myself, my family, and my life. It all gets a little crazy sometimes, and it helps to have a place to connect honestly about what's really going on. This is my place.