When you decide to stop running
How often do we try to out run our discomfort? There are endless means and the ego is talented in the ways of distraction. One of the more acceptable and even more devious ways to avoid self is by the suggestions of simply thinking more positively. While this is a very productive plan for eliminating habitual negative mind chatter it is not helpful for getting to the root of a chronic issue.
This technique can produce results in the short term, only to find yourself back in the same familiar feelings. Wondering why and beginning to feel hopeless. Life seems to get better and you think you’re past it. Then, it’s back, maybe even feeling more intense than the last episode. This is not suggestive of sole treatment for a chemical imbalance. This speaks more to old wounds.
When everything in you wants to get ahead of the hurt with any sort of numbing, this is your opportunity to shift. Instead of engaging in the usual distraction tactic, take a moment to be present with the feeling. Turn toward it, lean into the discomfort. Identify the emotion. Where do you do you feel it in your body? Talk to it, validate the experience and say something neutral to yourself. Something you believe. I remember you, I’ve felt you before. Tell it you have all the time it needs to be felt and then do it. Be sad, anxious, angry or lonely.
Be careful not to buy into a victim story and ground it in the present. Just be there with it and let the feeling flow freely without judgment. Give this energy within yourself time and attention. You may feel it intensely because it’s been avoided for so long, however feelings don’t last forever. If they did we would be happy all the time. Feelings are in motion like everything else on earth.
Having patience for your emotional self is the most loving and compassionate gift you can give to you and everyone else on the planet. Being truly present with all of you suggests and promotes this is natural and acceptable for others. Additionally, if you can be comfortable with your own difficult feelings, you can be present for another’s emotional process. Stop, be still and see what’s there for you to acknowledge. Imagine the freedom when you have nothing to run from any longer.
Bridgette DeBoer M.A., is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist. She can be reached at 450-6632.