“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” ~ Buddha
I am a very emotional person. I suspect I feel things about ten times more intensely than the average person.
When I'm sad, I'm really sad. When I'm stressed, I'm really stressed. When I'm nervous, I'm really nervous.
Some people would call it being dramatic. I simply call it a genuine aspect of my personality.
I’ve noticed that I have this awful habit of masking how I truly feel or forcing myself to feel differently. It seems as if I constantly have to remind myself that I am a human being and that it's okay to feel bad sometimes. No one is a positive ray of sunshine every second of every day.
We all want to feel good and happy. When something is upsetting us, all we want is to feel better as soon as possible. But I've slowly learned that trying to convince yourself that you're fine when you're not will only make you feel worse.
Whenever I go through some sort of fallout, whether it's with a friend or a love interest, I immediately cover the wound by telling myself that I'm over that person and they mean nothing to me anymore. I just smile and tell everyone I'm over it and then cry in the bathroom after dinner.
Also, when I went through a phase of feeling depressed and lonely all the time, I would fake smiles and assure everyone, including myself that I was perfectly fine.
I would honestly tell myself to stop being so pathetic and dramatic and that I had no reason to be under such a large, black cloud all the time. I shoved my feelings away and never opened myself up to talk about anything.
The same thing tends to happen even if I’m feeling a positive emotion. There have been times where I’ve felt happy, but let negative people put a damper on my spirit. I would hold back my optimism whenever I was around them.
Sometimes, people will tear you down when you’re happy or make you feel like you don’t deserve to be happy. It makes you feel as if being happy is wrong or offensive.
I often tell myself that what I'm feeling is irrational or stupid. I feel obligated to pretend that I'm stronger and happier than I actually am, even when I’m not. It is extremely rare for me to ever sit down and openly talk about my real feelings.
I always smother or bottle everything up and it’s not healthy.
The first step to fixing any problem is to identify that there is a problem. The same rule should apply when it comes to feelings. The first step towards feeling better is to admit that you're not feeling good.
We are all human and we all feel. To feel is to be alive. To embrace and learn from your feelings:
1. Acknowledge how you really feel.
Dig past the facade you have placed over your true emotions and figure out exactly what it is that you're feeling. Are you hurt, angry, nervous, confused?
Get your feelings out in front of you and honestly admit to yourself that you're feeling them. Remember that it is okay to feel bad. You have already made great progress simply by admitting that you're not okay.
2. Address the source of your feelings.
Figure out what happened that led to you feeling this way.
Did a relative say something that hurt your feelings? Are you nervous about that job interview? Is the neighbor's loud music driving you insane?
Whenever I feel hurt or offended by someone else, I have a tendency to close off and keep it to myself. Then everything that person does starts to annoy me, and the anger or pain snowballs. If you need to right a wrong with someone, communication is the only way.
3. Stay open.
It is okay to be vulnerable. When addressing your true feelings or smoothing out a conflict with another person, I think it's important to be honest and not sugarcoat anything.
Let yourself be angry, hurt, embarrassed or nervous without accusing yourself of being stupid and irrational. Your feelings belong to you and it is okay to let yourself feel them and then get them out and deal with them. The only thing that could be irrational is dealing with your feelings in an unhealthy manner, not the feeling itself.
4. Let your emotion run its course.
It takes time to heal. If you're going through a hard time, do not try to force yourself through to the other side of it or convince yourself that you're fine when you're really not.
Remember that no feeling is final. Give yourself time to heal and cut yourself a little slack.
So today, if you are dealing with some sort of negative emotion and you're trying to push it away, smother it, or convince yourself that you're not even feeling it at all, just let it be. It will only pass when you allow it to do so.
There will be good days and there will always be bad days. We're only human. Let yourself feel and let yourself be.
Photo by sera_leaving