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Monday, March 19, 2018

Morning Reflection: You have to face, and feel, your feelings

You have to face, and feel, your feelings.

We all have feelings we like to feel. Feelings like joy, happiness, excitement, love and comfort to name just a few. Those are the emotions that make life worth living.

But we also have to deal with the other type of emotions, like loss, loneliness, frustration, pain and shame. Those are the emotions that hurt, and make us wish for a change in how we feel.

How do you avoid your negative feelings?

For me, for a long time, it was food. That’s how I ended up morbidly obese, and closer to death than I want to admit. But that wasn’t my only ‘coping mechanism’. I would also become angry at myself, preferring the pain of self loathing rather than the pain of someone else being angry or disappointed in me.

Last night, I had an occasion to face a negative feeling, rather than try to run from it, or busy myself in something else to forget it. The negative feeling was sadness, after I failed to follow through on something that someone very dear to me asked of me. It wasn’t something earth shattering, but it made that person feel unappreciated.

But this time, rather than get angry with myself, or get quiet and withdraw, I made the conscious decision to allow the feeling to exist, and feel how it felt. No avoidance, no rationalization, nothing to try to ameliorate the feeling of acknowledging that I let someone down.

And it didn’t feel good at all. But I lived.

Growth comes when we stop avoiding our feelings, and learn from them.

Growth comes when we accept that things might hurt for a while, but we don’t try to dull that pain with other measures.

Growth comes when we take a deep breath, and allow the truth of who we are to wash over us, and bathe us in the emotions that can change us.

Like the small flower that struggles to pierce the earth to find the sunlight, or the child who struggles to walk despite falling again and again, we too can struggle through and learn from our painful emotions if we will but face them, feel them and find the strength to change through them.

Running from your emotions never solves the problem.

The only way out is through.

Go through it. You can do this.

-- Dr. Alan Barnes

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