I have been a little MIA lately. I think my last post was before Christmas even. Yikes! But, sometimes breaks are necessary.
It has taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. I felt sick for a little over two weeks, work has been crazy busy, and I am now planning a wedding. Talk about a true mix of activities and emotions that go with… from fatigue to stress to joy. The whole gamut!
With all that I have been experiencing lately, I feel compelled to write about emotions and the importance of truly feeling those emotions. Sitting with them, exploring them, and being okay with them (yes, even the negative ones). I don’t do that well. Like, at all. I feel an ounce of stress or boredom and I think a cookie will make me feel better. Well, not even one cookie, more like two at the minimum.
When I cope with an outside object or substance, I don’t listen to my body. In fact, I am ignoring it. My mind and body are trying to tell me something and I avoid listening whenever I reach for sweets or turn on the TV instead.
Most people can relate in some way. Perhaps it isn’t sugar, but is shopping, caffeine, narcotics, sex, alcohol, nicotine, sleeping, or gambling instead. Need I say more? Just about anything can become a negative when used to cope as opposed to enjoyment. And often the line is a slippery slope. But, if you get to know yourself, you will know when you have passed that slippery slope. And that is crucial. For when you pass that slippery slope, change is necessary.
Let me give you a couple of examples.. and they are both true. I have my struggles like everyone else. In fact, small tangent.. I strongly believe that people have to struggle at times. If we didn’t, we would never grow. We would never open our minds to other opinions, situations, options, choices, etc. So, here are a couple of examples.. one from the past and one from the present:
- I have talked about my love for tea before. There is nothing wrong with tea. It is wonderful! And I still love tea. However, I often felt like I HAD to have it anytime I was in the car. Starbucks was like a crack dealer… I felt like I needed that drive through for a $2.50 tea I could brew at home. I changed that habit when it felt more like an addiction than pleasure. The urges brought awareness that my slippery slope had been crossed.
- I have a love for sweets, even as a health nut. It’s part of being human… and I am glad I have it, because if I ate healthy 100% of the time I would no longer be relatable. I do not think sweets are bad or off limits, but lately I find myself reaching for cookies when I’ve had a long day at work, feel a bit “off”, or am emotional about something. For me, the difference between coping with sweets and enjoying a dessert is the quantity and mental state at consumption (I made that sound scientific, didn’t I?). To enjoy a dessert or sweet is to consciously pick it out, eat it, and enjoy it. To cope using sweets is to feel the urge to grab whatever sweets you can, not think about it at all, consume it fairly quickly, and hope that you feel better afterwards. Hope being the key word, because let’s face it.. the emotions that were with you before are still there. Whenever I cope with emotions using sweets I am not doing my body or mind any good. I have crossed the slippery slope.
It’s easy to avoid emotions and feelings, especially those negative ones like sadness or anger. But, allowing yourself to sit with those feelings is way more healing than an object or substance. Sitting with emotions and feelings can give you confidence in yourself and knowledge that EVERY PART OF YOU is acceptable.
I know I plan to sit more with my feelings and emotions. And then if I need to talk through them with a loved one, I will honor that. I will be grateful for all emotions and feelings as they come up, for they make me whole.
Which emotion is the hardest to deal with for you? Mine is anger. I don’t like being angry and I feel like anger makes me “mean.” But, anger is not my identity.. it is just a feeling. And if I sit with anger and allow myself to feel it when it arises, I can use it to propel me forward. Am I angry about a situation that was out of my control? Am I angry about a situation that I can change? I get to decide the next step and honor ALL of me by doing so.
Be true to yourself, my friend!