Before walking this path I did everything I could to not feel. Whatever it took, I just didn’t want to feel anything, good or bad. I had spent my life trying to hide and stuff down my feelings, to pretend that everything was OK, even when things very much weren’t, and I had done such a good job of it that all I could feel was the bad I stuffed down and so I didn’t feel like I deserved to feel good. To numb my feelings I looked to outside things, food, shopping, relationships, alcohol, travel, the list goes on. Those things did hide or numb my feelings for a short time, but it wouldn’t take long for them to bubble up again, and the older I got, the harder it was to keep all those feelings pushed down, I was like a pressure cooker waiting to explode, and so I had to keep upping the ante to keep everything from pouring out of me until I just couldn’t take it anymore. The pressure I put myself under to keep my feelings at bay took a toll on me and after years and years of pushing down my feelings I no longer knew how to process them at all, other than to numb and hide them, but they didn’t just go away, they were still in there, bubbling and pushing to get out, and for me, things came to such a head that I couldn’t handle them anymore and I just wanted the struggle to stop. I thought, because I was not sharing my truth with anyone, that my only option was the take my own life, that was the only way to stop the painful and exhausting struggle I felt everyday.
Had I shared my struggle with someone earlier I would have never have gotten to that point, but numbing and hiding my feelings had become my priority and the fear that no one would understand became my truth. I was very fortunate to have had someone in my life who understood the place I was in share their story with me, and because he did so openly I knew I could trust him, it didn’t happen right away, it took months of more suffering until the fear got so bad I reached out to him for help.
When I set out on this path of recovery I was told I was going to have to learn to feel my feelings, and that it was going to be OK. That sent shivers down my spine. I hadn’t truly felt my feelings since I had been a child, and it was those feelings from my past that started me on the journey of stuffing them down and not wanting anyone to know what they were. I had spent most of my life not feeling my feelings, so it wasn’t going to be easy just letting the damn break and letting them all rush out, but boy they did.
It was scary at first. I felt like I was sitting on a beach watching a tsunami come my way, and all of those feelings from years and years of my life all came at me at the same time. Disappointments, resentments, anger, shame, fear, self-hatred, grief, loss, all of it came at me at once. There were many days I layed in bed and held onto my mattress for fear I would get blown off the sheer force of my feelings, or I would sit in the bathtub clinging to myself because I just couldn’t stand up from the pain of them, but that passed, and the more I dealt with them, with the help of others, support groups and therapy, the better I was able to feel my feelings. I still didn’t always want to feel what I felt, but I learned to let those feelings teach me about myself, and I also learned it was OK to feel my feelings, no matter what they were, and that I was entitled to feel good, yes, and it felt good to feel good, I just had to let myself let the good in.
Your feelings can’t kill you, they are just that, feelings, but living a life avoiding them can, I know because I did it, and, it nearly killed me. Some feelings are harder to process than others, we all have things that we struggle with, and that’s OK, it’s also OK to ask for help or ask someone to listen, or, to allow yourself to feel and move through it, on your own timeline, not anyone else’s. Let yourself feel, make sure you’re paying attention to what comes up and ask yourself why, your feelings may be trying to tell you something and help you to find honesty in your own voice, an honesty you won’t find while running from them. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you have a hard time feeling your feelings? Do you try to avoid them? How do you do this? Does it work? How do you think it helps you? How do you think it harms you? What damage has it done in your past when you have avoided or shut off your feelings? Is there something right now you are avoiding? What it it and why? How can you acknowledge how you feel in a productive and safe way? Find ways to feel your feelings that don’t overwhelm you, find people who you can talk to you about how you feel who may understand, or feel the same way. Let yourself feel what you feel and use those feelings to help you gain an understanding to the inner workings of you, and why you are who you are, once you find out the source of how you feel you can find the solution to overcoming those feelings that are holding you back from living your best life.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you