Probably my whole life, I have hated feeling certain things: anger, guilt, confusion, and discouragement. I would try to avoid feeling, but you know what happens when you try not to feel something? You might end up feeling it a lot more intensely.
So because I hate feeling angry, I feel even angrier. Because I avoid being discouraged, I get more discouraged. Because I try not be depressed, I feel depressed.
I’ve been reading a book about acceptance and commitment therapy. I read a section where someone said they had learned to enjoy feeling anxious. Feeling anxious is just part of life. We all feel it. And it’s okay to feel it.
It’s okay to be angry and sad and discouraged and confused. It’s okay to feel those things. And when it’s okay, and you accept those feeling in your life, then things become a lot better. You can actually learn to enjoy the pain, in a way. People who exercise a lot, or love going on roller coasters, or love intensive jobs have learned how to enjoy pain because they know it makes them better.
I will always have times where I feel anger, guilt, and sadness. But when I allow myself to feel those things, instead of fighting against them and closing myself up, I can start to live my life again.
A few days ago, I was angry at my husband. But I accepted that. I didn’t fight it. And it went away. I removed myself from that fight (he didn’t really do anything wrong anyway) and just let it happen. I didn’t yell and try to make the problem go away. It just existed, and that was fine–I could feel angry and jealous and all of that without needed to resolve it. And then later, I was playing with my kids and I found myself laughing, and laughing a lot. I let myself feel anger–and then I was able to let myself feel joy. (This is still a major work in progress.)
I can find a lot more positive emotions, like laughter and happiness, because I’m no longer afraid of my own feelings.
Emotions have never been my enemy. They are my friend. Even the grief and depression and the anxiety and the worry. They are all part of my life. And I can accept them. I am more than how I feel.
I don’t know if that will make any sense to you. Because I have heard the same message over and over again and I never really understood. I still hated my feelings.
I have a significant birthday coming up–only significant because we have ten fingers on our hands and therefore we have a base-ten system and we get fascinated with decades. If we were using a base-twelve system, there would be nothing significant about my birthday at all.
But here we are. I’m entering a new decade and therefore I’m reflective. I’m not going to be young anymore.
In the last decade, I have graduated from college, gotten married, had two-full time jobs, and had four children and became a stay-at-home mom. We’ve lived in three different states and moved a lot. I’ve supported my husband in his school and career. I’ve also self-published two novels, maintained multiple blogs, taken a lot of photographs, worked on my family history, and decorated multiple houses. And I’ve read at least 52 books every year. I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve been part of different communities. I’ve taught my children as well as I can.
I am in a good place right now, and I’m heading in a good direction. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve done enough, particularly because life has not turned out how I expected it to. I have failed in some things. I have never been a successful writer, and now I don’t plan on pursuing writing anymore. I have dealt with some mental health issues and I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. Some times I don’t feel like I’ve done enough.
But being a mom was always been my dream, and I am so incredibly grateful for my family. They are enough. If I hadn’t accomplished anything on my own, I could be happy knowing that I am doing my best to raise my four children and have a happy home and a happy family.
And next to my family, I am most grateful for the friends that I have made. I miss friends I have moved away from a whole lot, but I am grateful for the opportunity to make friends in new places. Friendship is one of the biggest accomplishments there is in life–and it can be hard sometimes, but it’s worth it.