Don’t Flee, Feel!
Feelings aren’t always fun, warm, and fuzzy. Feeling can be deeply uncomfortable. So some of us have learned how we can “cope” with uncomfortable feelings by avoiding them. But let’s be clear – avoiding isn’t coping. Dodging and ducking our real feelings may keep us momentarily comfortable, but can lead us into deep, deep trouble, too!
When the negative feelings, conveniently stuffed down into our ‘avoidance canyon’ become too big or too painful, we often look for a way to quiet them. And that is when we are truly on thin ice!
Drinking, drugging, and binges of one sort or another are all too familiar ways to temporarily quiet the pain or fear. But if that’s what we do to cope, we know in our hearts that we AREN’T making ANYTHING better.
Fleeing the feelings doesn’t work. Feel them – I dare you! Feel them and acknowledge the discomfort. Breathe with the feelings, be with the feelings, accept the discomfort. It WILL pass. But if we shove it into the canyon of avoidance, it’s really just a matter of time before things go from bad to worse.
Avoiding the negative feelings makes our positive feelings seem empty or hollow.
“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” -Brene Brown
The next time a negative feeling approaches (don’t worry, it probably won’t be long) try to just feel it and let it be, breathe, acknowledge, try to accept.
Let’s practice telling ourselves…
we can feel fear without being paralyzed
we can feel anger without lashing out
we can feel uncertainty without losing hope
And when you feel the feeling and DON’T drink, drug, binge, or avoid it by other means, celebrate your growth! Learning to accept, rather than avoid is a huge step towards our greatest selves. Feel – don’t flee.