This is hard to explain, but I will try.
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.
But today, I don’t.