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Friday
Apr042014

Getting Better at Feeling (rather than feeling better)

I have been angry and resentful for years.

I have called those feelings all sorts of other names in that time in order to hide their origins or make them prettier, more acceptable. Yet, regardless of the labels I have used and the ways I have justified my emotions, the feelings are 'angry' and 'resentful'.  

The shock I wrote about recently has helped me towards this place of learning. Owning my feels - including my immense shame - will hopefully help me towards letting go.

That makes letting go sound like a goal. 

In a way it is - because the holding on is now too painful and is no longer a place I want to be. Seeking to let go, be it a place, a relationship, a feeling, a thought, a behaviour; is really about moving from one "place" to another. In doing so, a movement or shift occurs, and change happens.

In another way, owning my feelings is the goal and letting go is an attractive by-product of it. Owning and naming my feelings has many interesting and life-changing benefits. My objective has become getting better at feeling rather than simply hoping to feel better

It's not easy at first: I feel like a baby again. I get tied up in language, and using too many words. I notice myself reach for the comfort of explanation ... "I feel this and this is why and how it came about and and and". The story I tell about the origins of the feeling takes me away from feeling the feeling. I get carried away, literally, by telling minute details of the story. The story becomes a place to blame, to hide, to escape and to avoid. The story helps me stay away from taking responsibility for and owning my part.

Likewise, I watch my well-trained and practiced impulse to judge those feeling when they come: "I feel sad ... and sad is not good, sad is bad and I need to change to feeling something else because sad isn't a good thing" goes my head. I even go so far as to take up the cry of "sad? you have nothing to be sad about! you have a home and family and food to eat ..." - all unhelpful judgements and shaming myself for feeling what I feel. 

Stepping back from the judgement, resisting the temptation to get caught up in the story: these things are helping me learn to get better at feeling, to sit in the discomfort of the resentment, anger, jealousy AND to feel the joy, the happy, the warm, the connected, the soft. 

Getting better at feeling ALL the feelings is, by default rather than by design, helping me feel better. 

What are you avoiding feeling in the hope of feeling better?

Sarahxx

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    Getting Better at Feeling (rather than feeling better) - Blog - Sarah Waldin: therapist, counsellor, values coach, trainer

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