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Emotional Blind Spots: On Feeling Uncomfortable Feelings

“Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place.” ~Judith Wright

On March 12th of 2006 I faced an important decision: life or death? From my perspective, death seemed reasonable, logical, and easy. Life on the other hand was difficult and full of disappointment.

That was the day I realized I had no idea how to be happy or live with my true self. All I knew and felt in my soul was aloneness; an emotional black hole that consumed me.

Being Emotional vs. Being Emotionally Connected

How I got to that point is a long story, full of addictions, failed relationships, lost jobs, and victimization. Looking back, I realize I hit the bottom as a result of not being connected to myself.

To be perfectly clear, I’ve always been an emotional person. You know—touchy feely, crying when Old Yeller died, etc.

But being emotional and emotionally connected to self are two completely different things.

Being emotional meant I took everything personally. This made intense relationships with the opposite sex agonizing. Every little argument meant she didn’t love me and was walking out the door.

I realized early on it was just easier to avoid them; or at least bolt when they starting getting too serious.

Avoiding Uncomfortable Emotions

I had too many emotional blind spots—out of the way places I’d shove uncomfortable feelings, in some corner of my soul. I’d keep moving just fast enough to keep them unseen in the rearview mirror.

If it was uncomfortable, I didn’t want anything to do with it.

I avoided conversations that might include, “What are you thinking?” or “What are you feeling?” My closest friends were co-workers and anyone who frequented the same bars I did. I refer to that period as my “five dollar life” because I would never put more than $5 worth of gas in my car at one time.

Not because I lacked the funds so much; I just couldn’t stand still long enough. I was in a hurry to get things done, change the world, and make my mark. I was going places while getting nowhere in a hurry.

Life was fine or at least manageable that way, until it wasn’t anymore. Up until the age of 35, I managed to avoid real emotional connectedness with myself and other people.

It’s important to note, I had no realization that any of this was going on. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see I was avoiding certain emotions. I’ve also realized that the “why” was not as important as the “what.”

And no, I wasn’t locked in a closet as a child and there is no one to blame but myself—which I did a lot.

But blame has no use in bringing about real change. Blame puts the focus on the cause; and if it’s outside myself, that means I have no control. The cause of my situation or emotional state is always me, I am the problem. How depressing you say?

If I am the problem, then I have access to the solution. I’d say that’s pretty empowering.

Unrealistic View of Self

By not being emotionally connected, I had an unrealistic view of myself. On the outside I showed this positive, energetic, “I have my sh#t together” persona. On the inside I was scared of being rejected and felt unworthy of love.

This conflicting self image of positive versus negative energy made it impossible to really understand and know myself. When emotions got too real or uncomfortable, I put them aside and put on my positive face. I never really dealt with them or felt them completely.

Because I didn’t feel emotions to their core—let them take me to where they needed to go—I had no idea if I could get through them. Like when I had kidney stones.

Due to unhealthy habits, there was a time prior to 2006 when I got kidney stones six different times in a period of two years. The excruciating pain was only part of it. The anxiety of “how much worse is this pain going to get” made the entire ordeal freaking terrible.

Thankfully I haven’t had kidney stones since, but now I know I can make it through some pretty painful stuff.

Emotional Blind Spots

Emotional blind spots are emotions that we haven’t felt completely because we’re afraid of where they might take us.

But by avoiding them, we never really get to feel them to their core which is vital in learning how to detach from them in a healthy manner.

Being emotionally connected to self, I can feel emotions completely and I know they won’t kill me.

Emotions are expressions of what I’m authentically feeling, but they do not have to define or consume me. Yet I need the experience of feeling them completely in order to know I can come out on the other side and be okay.

Dealing with Tough Emotions for the First Time

My father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer on June 26th 2010 and passed away at home 10 days later. When I first learned of his illness, I immediately sought help. I had no real experience in dealing with emotions like this before.

I talked with friends who had similar experiences and I spoke to my father every day on the phone. As I was just learning to feel these new emotions, he passed away. I was numb for a few days but I continued to talk, share, and explore my feelings.

The day after his funeral I was taking a shower. I had this feeling that a higher power had been beside me the entire time, helping me through the ordeal. But mostly I felt my dad was okay.

I felt love and sadness at the same time. But I also knew everything would be okay, not the same again, but okay. I wept—no, I wailed. I actually cried so hard my wife rushed up stairs. She stood outside for a few moments and then jumped in the shower to hold me.

I finally dealt with my emotions directly, and now I know I can face them and be okay—something I couldn’t do when I was living with a conflicted self image.

Identifying and Removing Emotional Blind Spots

Avoiding emotions is a form of denial. If you feel disconnected from yourself, answer the following questions:

  • Are there any emotions from past or present experiences that I haven’t felt completely?
  • Do I avoid things that make me emotionally uncomfortable?
  • Am I currently in denial of anything?
  • Am I consistently getting into the same type of unfulfilling relationships?
  • Is the way people describe me different from how I see myself?

If you suspect you might have some emotional blind spots; seek help. For me, this meant life and spiritual coaching along with counseling and therapy. Taking this journey with another human being was vital in that it helped me learn how to effectively communicate what I was feeling.

As we go through life, we experience many emotions that may feel foreign and uncomfortable. When we’re emotionally connected to ourselves, we can identify the fear underneath them, work through it, and then access a state of love.

Obviously, I chose life on that day in March 2006. I’m glad I did. Since then I’ve enjoyed feeling every emotional pot hole and obstacle life has thrown my way. Today, I’m connected to myself emotionally; I’m even grateful for my emotions. And I take care of things I’m grateful for.

Photo by Ryan.Berry

Avatar of Jared Akers

About Jared Akers

Jared Akers is a writer and tester of the impossible. He writes, inspires, and enjoys helping people learn How to Be Happy. He's been developing a life of happiness with his wife for the better part of the last decade while sharing his journey at JaredAkers.com.

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  • http://hanofharmony.com/ The Vizier

    Hi Jared,

    Death is the easier way out.  It is finding the reason to live on when you have this mindset that is much harder.  

    Ah I know what it is like to be emotional and having intense and agonizing relationships with the opposite sex.  Being INFJ will do this to you.  

    I am sorry to read that your dad passed away last year.  That is not easy to bear for anyone.  But I am glad you learned to manage your feelings better and that your wife was there to support and encourage you.  :)

    Indeed we should all learn to face and manage our emotions.  Running away from or suppressing them is not the answer in the long run.  Our emotions will always overpower us with time if we let it.  It is better to embrace and surrender ourselves to them to get it over with.  Allowing ourselves to hit rock bottom quickly, in a safe manner, will allow the healing process to proceed as it should.  And from there, the only way left is up.

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt article!

    Irving the Vizier

  • http://twitter.com/StevenHandel The Emotion Machine

    Glad to see more articles showing the important of respecting all emotions. This is why I don’t advocate “positive thinking” on my blog. Anger, sadness, and frustration are a part of the human experience. The trick is how we respond to them. Do we choose to channel our anger constructively or destructively?

    Thanks for the wisdom.

  • shinigamipunch

    Thank you so much for sharing this.  This is something I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with, so I can apprecite how difficult it can be talking about it.  I am so sorry to hear about your father.  I am going through the same thing wtih my grandfather (really more like my dad than a grampa) and sometimes it’s so hard to stay with what I’m feeling.  I’d rather just force a fake smile and say everything’s fine but I know if I do that I’ll never cope with it.

  • Karebear

    Very eye opening and inspiring. Thank you so much :)

  • Knkerner1015

    Working on feeling my feelings when they come, been hiding them for way too long. Thank you for the insight!

  • Carol Dekkers

    Thank you for taking the risk to be vulnerable with your readers about what is too often a difficult subject.  I’m glad you chose life – you have too much to share with others to help them turn their own lives around.

    In my own life, I came to make the same decision on the same night when my then long-term spouse decided he’d prefer to go to a friend’s house-warming party rather than deal with my despondence (he promised to call me at 8pm from the party.) He had so much fun that he forgot to call me until after midnite — by then, I, fortunately had decided my grown children were important reasons to live.  (My spouse’s word later were “I forgot to call, and after all, I assumed your suicide threat was just you being a drama queen”). Thank goodness we are now divorced or I know I would not be alive to write this.

    Wishing you ongoing emotional health – all we need is our own solid support and acceptance to make it in this world. Keep up the posts!

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    Irving,
    Thanks for your great comments. Very well said, “Allowing ourselves to hit rock bottom quickly, in a safe manner, will
    allow the healing process to proceed as it should.  And from there, the
    only way left is up.”

    It has been an amazing journey, and I’m happy to say today I really neither fear living or dying.

    Best, jared

  • http://laurenaiken1.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    Thank you for sharing, Jared. I think a lot of people, myself included, sometimes get so caught up trying to send the message that we have our shit together that we forget to slow down and evaluate our emotional blind spots. We put on a happy face for our colleagues and friends, post on Facebook about all the cool things we are doing … and we think we’re connecting but we’re actually becoming more disconnected. Sometimes you just have to take a break from it all, cry, have that uncomfortable conversation, and confront whatever is bothering you before it has time to settle in the back of your mind.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    You’re welcome. I do feel that positive thinking is important and can lead to happiness or whatever. But honestly I get frustrated at times when it’s suggested as the answer. I acted “as if” for many years. As far as I knew (and honestly, that’s the reality when we’re in it) I DID have positive thinking. But I also had a lot of fear and crap that was keeping me from really growing emotionally and spiritually. I thought being sad or depressed was not “positive thinking” therefore I avoided anything that didn’t feel good. And I certainly lived that way for many, many years. Who knows, maybe I could still be living that way if I hadn’t really hit a bottom…. it’s quite possible.

    But in contrast to my life today, there’s no comparison. Acting “as if” is just that, acting and today it’s real, personal, and authentic emotional connectedness and love for self.

    And you’re so, so right: anger, sadness, and frustration are part of the human experience. Relish in it and be grateful we can feel at all.

  • Lv2terp

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful journey, being open and vulnerable! This is fantastic :)

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    shinigamipunch,
    Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather. I understand, I lost my grandfather when I was in college and it was my first experience of losing someone in my life that I loved.

    You know, when my father was diagnosed terminal and we knew he was going to go quickly (although we weren’t expecting it that quickly) a mentor – who had went through something similar – suggested that death is tragic but can also be beautiful. I thought he was crazy at the time, but I was listening and was open to it. A few days after my fathers funeral we were all looking through pictures to show at his service and my 5 year old niece said, “it’s too bad grandpa died, but it’s great we have all these pictures of him.” I could see the beauty in that. It also highlights perspective and can make the relationships in your life today that much more beautiful.

    And yes, trust me, it can be hard to say what you’re feeling, I completely understand. But as you learn and grow, it get’s easier. In reality, it’s my opinion that everything is based in two emotions really – fear or love. So if I’m feeling bad, well, what am I fearing?

    In my case with my father I had to look deep. I was sad, therefor did I fear losing my father? Hmmm, maybe, but as I dug deeper I realized I sort of wanted to make HIM OK with his death. Help him be at peace with it and get OK with whatever it was he believed in. But then I also realized that was my own fear, having to really take a close look at my own mortality. Thankfully sooner rather than later I realized it was just my job to be a son. That was it. Love him and be available.

    Best wishes to you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sara-Allen/706418519 Sara Allen

    Loved, loved, loved this.  Everything you said in here could not have come at a better time in my own life.  Thank you for sharing this.

  • ilovelife

    This is truely how I feel at this moment. I left my marriage aftter 25 years. I have been divorced for 2 years now and eventhough it was my decision to divorce my husband still a lot of emotions come up and I don’t know what to do or how to deal with them. After reading this valuable information I feel a little better but know that I have a lot of work to do!

    Thank you

  • Paul Loughman

    Superb, Jared, and a concise yet perfect explanation of exactly what I’m going through presently.  Decades worth of forced self-righteousness, anger, depression and alcohol abuse find me in a place where I now need to learn all over again who the hell I really am and what I really feel.  My process of trying to achieve this self-knowledge and emotional reality almost mirrors your description, so hearing someone else validate it helps immensely.  Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    You’re welcome Karebear. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a message.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    You’re welcome. And you bring up a good point about feelings or emotions, “when they come.” It’s easy to run, that’s for sure as I did that for years. I still do at times, but I’m more aware of it and I start to get “off” very quickly. The difference is, feeling  centered (where my emotions, actions, thoughts, and words are in harmony) is my natural and comfortable state now; which requires me dealing with my emotions. Whereas for years, the unnatural state of being all freaking out on the inside while I held it together external was the normal way.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    Carol, glad you chose life as well. And well said, “all we need is our own solid support and acceptance to make it in this world.” I agree. Once moving past that point of making a commitment to finding true happiness, serenity, and my authentic self, it really didn’t matter what people thought about me anymore.Or being dependent on others for my happiness. Sounds like you discovered something similar with your ex as well.

    Once I passed a certain point of desperation and into sincere gratitude for life, everything else is just gravy!

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    Thanks, you’re fantastic! Really… I mean that. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    Lauren,
    Right on! A lot of good stuff there… “post on Facebook about all the cool things we are doing … and we think
    we’re connecting but we’re actually becoming more disconnected.” I can even slip into that sometimes still, but I sort of feel it starting to happen and am more aware of it now. It’s definitely a slow fade, at least for me.

    It is amazing what those uncomfortable conversations will do to us if we don’t let them take us to where we’re supposed to be. It’s like that conversation IS going to happen, as you say, in the back of my mind, it’s better if I’m a part of the conversation. Work it out, or it’s voice is just going to either get louder and eventually scream, or worse, sit back there and just mumble for years.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    Hey Sara, I’m so glad it came at the right time. That’s so awesome and believe me ;-) I completely know what you mean. And what’s more amazing and really goes along with this whole topic (which I just realized) is that the more emotionally connected I am, the more open, present, and available I am to hear what I’m supposed to.

    It’s a perspective thing for me. Meaning, when I was in “bad” place in my life, emotionally, spiritually, ect. I heard messages of despair, rotten circumstances, and all things that were the reasons for me not getting what I wanted or being happy. As I’m more self-accepting and loving, connected, and loved, I hear and see everything that guides me and is just what I need to hear. Bad things don’t really happen anymore, just obstacles to try my resolve and remind me how much I want something.

  • Kim

    FANTASTIC POST! 

  • Bethany

    What a wonderful thing that the Universe brings precisely the words I need to hear at precisely the moment I need to hear it.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom.  I had one of those moments where you don’t realize a thing until you realize it (you know what I mean?) while I read this.  I HAVE been hiding from unpleasant emotions.  I resolve right now to make my outsides match my insides from here on out!

  • http://www.execumama.com/ Execumama

    Jared, you wrote this for me–thank you.  What spoke the loudest for me was “the “why” was not as important as the “what.” That same realization has saved me from being a lesser version of myself dozens of times over.  Other times, the realization came too late, but knowing that it is always an option makes me feel empowered to choose who I want to be, and how I can use my emotions to serve instead of hurt myself and the people I love.  You did such a beautiful job conveying your message here.  Thank you for your candor and wisdom. You’ve absolutely made my day.

  • Sara

    Wow. This sounds a lot like me. I started realizing that being disconnected from my emotions has caused me way more pain than necessary, and I was doing it to myself! It also has caused me to make poor decisions and feel lost the majority of my life. Funny, how the 30′s tend to cause these types of transformations. I’m in the process of learning to feel my emotions so I can gauge the quality of my thinking, and so I can make better decisions. I’m starting to face my problems instead of running from them, and having faith that everything will work out.

  • Yi Lin T

    thank you for this. I have just recently realised what it meant, to actually ‘feel’ an emotion and not try to cover it up by just repeating “I’m ok.” And that it was okay to cry, because strangely enough to me, I actually felt better after that.
    Also, these tougher times have led me to seek for more understanding, and thus, indirectly, I am so grateful for all the learning that I have willingly received. :)

  • Wnd360

    this is beautiful. it brought tears to my eyes.

  • Mona.

    It is very,very tough and brave to open up to these spots within us.Thank you so much for sharing this blog,as it seemed to speak to me.I know I need to deal with these areas in myself but keep waiting for the “right time”.You have motivated me…as to when I finally face up to this part of myself…lets see…all the best.

  • Debra

    Thank you.  This was very well written.  It takes the complexity of emotions and offers a clear way of seeing them.  Good reminder…..Stay emotionally present and emotionally attached and work through fear and raw emotion until love and compassion is reached.

  • Abhi

    this is xactly what i needed! thanks jared ur article is a gem..bt assumin we face a situation similar to you is der any other way apart from counselling?? i mean i am an avid reader so can you recommend some books to me?? thanks for such a beautiful article!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Abhi,
    Thanks for the kind words. That’s a great question about counseling, I’m an avid reader myself and have learned a lot from all the things I’ve ready. Plus I’m working on a book myself currently “Happiness for the Practical Mind: 7 Steps to Discovering and Loving Your Authentic Self” (should be out by March). But even in my book, I suggest some type of outside help. I really can’t suggest how to do it alone, as it never worked for me that way. When you’re truly ready the answer, and more importantly, the action will present itself. At least that was my experience.

    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

    Sure I think anything is possible. But my experience was I needed some outside perspective. Plus, I was desperate and went after my happiness like a drowning man! I used anything and anyone at my disposal. Counselors, therapists, psychologist, clergy, books, you name it! But the most critical piece was taking action. Rhetoric rarely satisfies the soul. I simply cannot change just by sitting around reading and thinking about it. I had to get out into the world and take action. Doing exercises and things the counselors and others suggested. Making lists, meeting new people, getting out of my comfort zone, sharing with others. There’s just something magical that happens when I get out of myself, share my fears with someone else, and receive feedback from the universe. 

    A few books that I’ve always liked are:
    There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem: Wayne Dyer
    The Greatest Miracle in The World: Og Mandino
    The Sermon on the Mount: Emmet Fox
    The Courage to Be Free: Guy Finley

    Just to name a few off the top of my head… (where did that saying come from anyway… ha!)

    I’m constantly reading books though and I’m sure there’s more great ones I forgot to mention I’ve read. Good luck to you!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Oh, and I’m also reading Lori’s book, Tiny Buddha right now and loving it. A lot of similarities (emotions, experiences, self-image) with her story and mine.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Hey Debra. Perfectly stated, “Stay emotionally present and emotionally attached and work through fear
    and raw emotion until love and compassion is reached.” I love it and thank you for taking the time to comment and the kind words.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Mona, when is the right time really? I think there’s some different ways to look at that. From my experience, I wasn’t really ready for certain things. It’s just part of the process. But being aware that maybe there’s something I need to look at was one of the first steps. In some ways, I think denial can be healthy and keeps us from having to deal with something we’re just not emotionally capable of processing yet. Like when my father passed away suddenly. I though I should be feeling certain things or whatever, but I knew enough about myself, that deep down I’d worked through a lot of these things, and I would feel what I was supposed to when the time was right. I have confidence you’ll face up to whatever you need to when you’re ready. Maybe the time is now, maybe not. But you’re aware there’s something there.

    I also had a lot of things from my past that I “thought” I needed to deal with. Things that certainly “victimized” me and would take years of counseling to fix. Surprisingly though I found most of them to be quite harmless and some of the more simple (basic emotions) of being human – wanting to be loved, accepted, etc. – is where I needed the most work. But I did need some help to figure those things out and it didn’t happen overnight. It’s all a process but a very beautiful one.

    Good luck to you Mona and thanks for commenting and sharing.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Wow, thanks Wind360. That makes my heart full right now. You know, it’s sort of weird to say… but I actually still get choked up when I write or think about that person I used to be. I have so much empathy for him. It’s a good reminder to treat ourselves as we would our best friend.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Yi Lin T,
    Emotions are funny that way. Like just saying, “I’m OK” but having those words only in my head. Like the saying, “the farthest distance in the world is the 12 inches between your head and your heart.” Most of my life I had all my feelings in my head and guarded them from reaching my heart. It’s so theoretical though…  People would say, “Jared, get out of your head and into your heart.” I had no freaking idea what that meant or how to do that. It took becoming emotionally connected to myself through work.

    I remember the day I REALLY felt what that meant. I had this close friend who, years earlier, had lost hearing in one of her ears from an accident. We were both on this journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth and working on ourselves.

    I was out of town and got a call from her that she had just re-gained some hearing in her ear out of no where. I remember feeling this deep appreciation and genuine gratitude and happiness for her. It’s hard to explain and may sound insignificant, but for me it was a completely new emotion.

    I felt it in my heart. Where before most things I would encounter were just thoughts, like “cool, good for her/him.” I was self-absorbed and my lens was skewed by how everything in life impacted me.

    I don’t know if that makes sense, but I begin to know what it meant to feel things in my heart as opposed to just my head. It’s like suddenly realizing this whole new level of beauty to the world. A real connectedness with others. It’s also allowed me to “feel” conversations so to speak. Communication is more energy related from the heart and not just dialog going back and forth. It’s hard to put into words. :-) Thanks for reminding me of that.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Sara,
    That’s great progress! It’s a lot easier as you said when we have some faith that everything will work out. And a LOT of that faith comes from knowing our emotions, letting them take us to where ever they want to, and knowing (from experience… e.i. having faith) that we’ll be OK on the other side.

    That’s really insightful what you said also,  “I started realizing that being disconnected from my emotions has caused me way more pain than necessary, and I was doing it to myself!” It can be pretty shocking and… well, sort of depressing and scary when we first realize we’re doing it to our self. But then comes the empowering realization that we also then have the ability to do something about it.

    Thanks for the great comment!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Execumama,
    You’re welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read it and leave your comments.

    In response to the “why” as opposed to the “what”, I heard someone say something once that really resonated with me around this.

    We spend so much time trying to figure out why we got something on us, when we should be concentrating on how to get it off.

    Ah, and I LOVE your statement about using emotions to serve instead of hurt our selves and others. Great stuff there! That’s going in my notes as something to write about, thanks!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Thanks Kim. Love the enthusiasm!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Bethany,
    Right on! Thanks for the great comment. It’s so amazing how when we’re open to something we hear what we’re supposed to. Just being open to the possibility brings things we need to hear or experience to us. If that makes sense…

    Like if I don’t know how to swim and have a fear of drowning. And say I’m driving down a coastal highway, looking out at the ocean. There’s absolutely no possibility that I’m ever going to drown, or even learn how to swim in that ocean if I don’t get out of the car at some point. I just have to do some actions, be aware, seek the answer, etc. to even be open to the possibility of something else to happen.

    Good luck on getting your outside to match your insides. It was a lot of work at first (for me) getting a bunch of crap out of the way, but it’s a lot easier today. It’s a little balancing act that becomes natural and second nature after some time; by just doing some little maintenance things like prayer (for me) mediation, reading, writing, sharing with others. Good luck and thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s truly appreciated.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Paul,
    Thanks for sharing that. I’m in recovery myself… so trust me, I understand what you’re going through. Don’t give up until the miracle happens ;-) And form my experience, they just keep coming.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    ilovelife,
    Work on self is good. My wife has some real experience in what you’re gong through. We actually just started a podcast which the first two episodes we talk about relationships a lot. Like going “solo” and really taking the time to know yourself and getting in touch with our emotions and who we are. Just don’t get overwhelmed and take it easy on yourself. Yes, it is a lot of work, but you only have to do what you can do today. That was a big obstacle for me at first. I wanted to feel better and have this wonderful life now darn-it!

    But I started slow and got some help. I just concentrated on small goals, a day-at-a-time and then a week, etc. But I needed someone to suggest some actual actions I could concentrate on. Another HUGE thing for me was staying committed to something long enough to see the results. But after some time – for me it was… I’d say 9 months, although it was slow at times, of hard work for me (although in perspective it wasn’t really that hard compared to how I had been living) when I really started looking back and realizing “wow, I’ve come a long way.” Many times others see changes in us way before we do.

    Good luck to you.

  • Ruth Doe37

    So there with you, seeking help and getting back up. Thank you….

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    You’re welcome Ruth. Good luck on your journey! 

  • Azur

    Wow, this post is really relevant for me in my life now!

    I spent years running away from my emotions, and distracting myself by trying to take care of everyone else’s emotional needs. It should’ve come as no surprise when, in my late twenties, I realized that I was not where I wanted to be in life. The only way to change that was to face all my “icky” emotions head on. My journey of self discovery hasn’t been the easiest process, but I’d like to think that I’m gradually making some headway. Anyway, thanks for writing this article–I found it to be a welcome encouragement!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Azur,
    Awesome progress, thanks for sharing that. You’re luck to have started before I did. LOL But then, I wouldn’t change anything as I know it’s all happened this way for me to learn the lesson’s I needed to learn.

    I know a lot of people say, “I wouldn’t change a thing” and it sounds hokey at times. But it’s so true, I wouldn’t be where I’m at, with someone I love, in this place in life without all of it!

    And you’re right, it isn’t the easiest process, but difficult is preferable over the impossible. Thanks for the comments.

  • Aaron Aitken

    I just recently had a relationship that, for the first time in a long time, I actually found myself genuinely caring about; unfortunately I feel that past internal issues needing resolution ended it.  

    It took some irrational “I am not loved” behavior to take a serious look at a certain specific moment that basically kind of killed a part of me to realize the consistent error of my ways.  I bottled certain feelings inside because I felt as though having those emotions was not only wrong, but horrible.  I was essentially carrying around a festering 2 ton weight of hatred for years.

    I’ve made strides in resolving the issue, and while the sadness of the relationship ending is real, by and large I actually feel better.

    Reading this posting today has helped reinforce my realizations, and served as an excellent reminder that I am going down the right path.

    Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredakers Jared Akers

    Hey Aaron,
    Thanks for sharing that painful story. Although it sounds like you’re doing well with using it to help you get to where you’re supposed to be. Awesome!

    And I can SO related on the past internal issues. Several relationship in the past ended for myself also because I hadn’t dealt with some things. However, since I hadn’t dealt with them, I also chose relationships I think which I “knew” would not accept me eventually if they knew these things about me. It’s weird to explain, but I would then be validated when these things came to the surface and ultimately ended the relationship.

    So after I started my journey of self discovery, love, emotional connectedness, etc. I found that I deserve real love, and respect myself. That I was enough and thus approached new relationships with that attitude. That’s when I met my wife, and from the beginning it’s been complete transparency and total honesty about everything. It’s an amazing feeling to be loved truly for who you are and to be completely honest; I mean completely about everything! But it had to start with me being honest with myself and knowing my emotions and being able to share them and feel them deeply in others.

    Good luck in your journey, I wish you the best. Be honest, be loved, be happy.

  • Sripurnawidari84

    I am relief that I am not the only person who was dealing with suicidal ideation. I knew what it felt like to be in that moment of despondency and I am grateful that I was seeking for help, by talking it out rather than bottling it up. Someone that I thought would be understanding turned out to be judgmental and it made me feel worse. 
    I honestly do not like feeling the pain. It was very uncomfortable. I just hoped that I would be unconscious for a few days to get rid of the pain. And actually, today I found out that when I prayed, the wish that felt right was not when I asked this and that, but when I said, “God, please help me to accept whatever comes on my way.” 

  • kurisuWan

    Wow, this article is awesome! It made me realize that even though we might feel safe from harm (at least for a moment) by hiding our feelings, what we are actually doing is hurting ourselves in the long run. This post came to me as an oasis in a desert and I HAD to share it. Thank you very much!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Thanks KurisuWan.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Sripurnawidari84, I honestly do not like feeling pain either. But I’ve learned that most of the anxiety, pain, or fear is mostly from the unfamiliarity of how bad or where that pain will take me. Once we learn and trust to feel it completely, we know we can go through it and be okay. That is an awesome prayer! One that I use often as well. Just pray for acceptance for myself and others, and not that I want something “this way” or “that way.” Just for me to see the lesson in everything and have faith that whatever the outcome is to any situation, I will take it and allow it to make me stronger. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Ianhousby

    This had to be the right time for me to read this. I have so many difficulties at home with family that I am at my wits end as to deal with everything. I have felt that nothing I do is appreciated or that I am not loved. Obviously I have a lot to do with this but it is difficult working it out. Thanks a lot. This has been helpful.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Ianhousby,I can certainly relate to your situation, but you mention something very powerful, “obviously I have a lot to do with this,” and too some extent, yes that is often the case. But there are external things that can cause us unhappiness. Or even in some cases force us to continually relive some emotion which we have dealt with in our own healthy way. Family members especially know how to push certain buttons at times.

    It’s great timing as just last night I was reading through a section in Lori’s book, Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions and have highlighted a few passages which relate directly to what you’re going through.

    “You can put all your energy into being a more peaceful person, but if your roommate or spouse has a penchant for drama, you’ll have your work cut out for you.”
    Page 93

    “Unlike when we were children, we as adults have a choice over our surroundings. We’re never trapped in a home, job, relationship, friendship, or way of life that isn’t working. We are never stuck.”
    Page 94

    “sometimes you need to feng shui your life—to cherry-pick the people, things, circumstances, and ideas that you allow to surround you. It all influences what you choose to do”
    Page 94

    It’s a great book with lots of actionable information with a section titled “Create an Optimal environment for change.” on page 94.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  • Ianhousby

    Jared, thanks for the advice (and the reply, that in itself shows that someone is listening). Tiny Buddha has been a revelation in the few days since I signed up. I didn’t realise that there were so many people who felt as awestruck (and confused) by life as me. Life is a miracle (I wrote a small piece once on the actual chances of coming into existence in the first place – it makes winning the lottery look like an everyday occurence) and I believe we should all live it the best we can, but it is difficult.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    You’re welcome. I love that, on the miracle of life, as you said, “it makes winning the lottery look like an everyday occurrence.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1321095249 Deanna Lang

    Great article, Jared. This resonated so completely with the struggles I keep having! Thank you!

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    thanks Deanna.

  • http://twitter.com/HUSTLEHARDGIRL Rose’

    Thanks for sharing your story. Love and support is comforting, without these two things facing lifes challenges can make life seem harder. Thank God, your wife is there for you as a life partner.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

     Thanks Rose for leaving such a gracious comment. And I do agree, I am lucky. :-)

  • Sara

    Wonderful post.  Very helpful to read

  • Lizzie Doodle

    Thank you for this. Being ‘positive’ can be exhausting. Taking time to cry and thrash is not usually recommended by most healers who promote spiritual healing either. They propose meditating on peace and silence and the beautiful energy of the universe. I do believe that is the path to healing but I also believe we have to scream it out sometimes.