Pain is pain
Imagine you break your…idk…femur? Yeah, femur. What happens? Instantaneously, we feel pain. Why do we feel pain? Well, if we didn’t, then maybe we wouldn’t go to the E.R to have our leg fixed. The pain is a signal that something is wrong.
Emotional pain works EXACTLY the same way. Unfortunately, any time we feel emotional pain, (sadness, guilt, shame, etc etc) we have the tendency to push it away.
Distraction doesn’t work
If someone ever tells you “Just don’t think about it. Distract yourself!”, punch them in the face.
OBVIOUSLY KIDDING. When our loved ones say this, it comes from a good place. BUT, when we try to push a feeling away or temporarily distract ourselves, it doesn’t go away. Your subconscious ain’t gonna give up that easy.
FEELINGS ARE IMPORTANT!
Every feeling you feel has a purpose. If you push away the feelings, you are postponing the healing process. Instead of pushing away that feeling, embrace it. Head. On.
Just like you would drive straight to the E.R. if your thighbone split into two. Why wouldn’t you immediately tend to your emotional pain too?
I know… this sounds terrifying. BUT, luckily for you there is a little exercise you can practice in order to make this whole ordeal less terrifying and overwhelming.
This is all meant to be done in a matter of 3 or 4 minutes.
Acknowledge the feeling
Say whatever it is you’re feeling to yourself.
Here are some examples:
-“Alright sadness. Here you are. I see you, I feel you. I get it, my life is kind of shi**y in this moment.”
– “I. AM. ANGRY. RIGHT. NOW.”
-“I feel like I am the biggest piece of crap on the face of the earth”
– “Okay. I’m sad right now. I’m sad because this break up sucks and I’m lonely and I just ate a pint of ice cream.”
Honor and accept the feeling
This can happen in many different ways. Maybe try to visually imagine just sitting with the feeling. Not inviting it to bed with you, but perhaps sitting next to it on a park bench and allowing it to sit. Maybe offer it some of your sandwich?
Do not skip this step!!!! Take as many deep breaths as you can muster. Close your eyes if you’re into that sort of thing. For tips on how to take deep breaths like a boss, keep your eye on ‘dat inbox. Article coming soon.
LET. IT. GO.
Letting go of the feeling in this moment doesn’t mean you’ll never feel it again. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. The important part is to let it go RIGHT NOW, because that is all you have control over. Again, if you’re into this sort of thing, you can try imagery.
- Ball the feeling up and put it in a hot air balloon and watch it float away
- Put it on a leaf and watch it float away down a river
- Put it inside a soccer ball and kick it to Timbuktu
Will this exercise eradicate a negative feeling, for good, in a matter of minutes? Of course not; but the point is to tell yourself that right now the feeling is not serving you well, so you’re just gonna let it pass. If it comes back, continue this practice.