As you sit at your desk at work or pull your hundredth dandelion in the muggy summer weather, do you ever want to be somewhere else? Do you imagine yourself in a hammock under palm trees, a foxy cabana boy (or girl) bringing you another pina colada to sip while you read for pleasure or doze in the breeze?
I think those sorts of daydreams are pretty common, and often those mental vacations are enough to help you relax, refocus and move on with your day. They can be a tonic for what ails you.
What about when you're in the midst of a tough situation? Maybe it's a relationship breakup, money troubles or the death of a loved one. Do you wish away the emotions or try to suppress them in some way? Do you judge yourself for being angry/upset/depressed/unmotivated/confused?
This is far less helpful.
Tough emotions are, well, tough, and it's natural to want to escape them. This week I have wanted nothing more than to feel normal again instead of the snotty, slobbery mess I've been since Diego's death. Tonight when I ate a whole microwave meal of palak tikka masala instead of a glass of wine and a handful of Hot Tamales, my husband damn nearly did a back flip and rah rah siss boom bahed. The past three days have felt like someone cut me and dipped me in lemon juice, and the desire to be anywhere else but where I am right now is strong.
Well-meaning friends and family can compound the problem by trying to help us rationalize or detach from the situation with logic. They see us in pain, and they try to make it better by helping us see how we really shouldn't be as upset as we are.
But here's the thing, kids: emotion isn't logical, and no amount of logic is going to make an emotional response less emotional. It just makes us ashamed of feeling the way we do.
In order to get to a place of healing and eventually clear-headed logic, we have to feel and process our honest emotions. Any attempt to circumvent our feelings results in delaying our healing. If we do not deal our feelings now, we sure as hell will deal with them later, whether it's from those emotions expressed through disease, avoiding life or misdirection.
So, as I found myself apologizing for the clear discomfort my husband has with being unable to comfort me and I began to judge the way in which I was expressing my grief, I decided to stop and just be with my feelings for a while instead of trying to rush the process.
I eat when I feel like it and don't when I don't.
I growl and cuss at people who drive like they're driving with their eyes closed, and I don't correct myself.
I watch John Hughes' movies all day long and let whatever smells like rancid old dog ass in the refrigerator keep on stinkin'.
When the tears come, I cry and heave and let snot bubble out of my nose until it passes.
I am where I am, and that's okay. At some point I won't be here anymore, and I'll be ready for something else. If I linger too long, I have tools to help me move forward. It's not forever, it's just for now, and it's necessary.
Whatever it is for you, try just being where you are. Feel your emotions. Honor them; they're honest, a sign of our humanity, not of weakness.
Your tears cleanse. Your anger moves you a little further up the emotional guidance scale and feels a hella lot better than despair. As long as you don't start to treat your challenging emotions like a treasured pet, it's all good and healthy.
Where are you today?
How can you begin to honor your emotions in a way that doesn't beat you up?
Share your thoughts in the comments~your ideas help us grow stronger!
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Image by: J.J. Verhoef