You’re having a shitty day, a shitty week, maybe even a shitty month.
What do you do?
Do you honor the shitty-ness? Do you let it soak into your bones? Or do you make a run for it?
I’ve struggled with both extremes.
When I was younger, I thought something was wrong with me if I wasn’t happy. I got really good at slapping a bandaid and a smile on my inner demons. I just didn’t know what to do with the pain. In fact, I could hardly look at it; it scared me too much. Without even realizing what I was doing, I attempted to escape at any cost. Stressed out? Food worked well. Long week? Drinking did the trick. Rough night? Sleeping pill put me right out. Break up? Surely there was someone else cute to call.
I became a pro at numbing my pain quickly. Escaping became second nature.
Then came going to school to become a therapist. I became deeply aware of my emotions for the first time. I learned the importance of just feeling it all. No more stuck pain. Time to release.
But, lately, I notice myself tipping toward another extreme. Instead of running from my emotions, I sink into them. I feel them to the point where I seem to become them, and I don’t know that that’s the best place to be. When I become my sadness, it has control over me. The same goes for my anger and grief. I become consumed, and at that point, my emotions are not able to do me any good.
Obviously I don’t want to run away from my emotions, but I don’t want them to consume me either. I don’t think that’s the point of emotions. I think emotions are trying to tell us something. They’re trying to give us a little nudge. Maybe they show us how much someone or something means to us. Maybe they show us when we’re really on or off track.
My realization is that, yes, we must allow ourselves to feel our emotions and stop being so damn afraid of them. But then, most importantly, we must dare to do something positive with them. Jog with them. Write with them. Dance with them. Transform with them. Express with them. Paint with them. Call a friend with them. Make a plan with them.
Use their energy to lift you higher and take you further. Joy is transformative, but you know what? So is sadness and so is anger. Emotions are power. Emotions are messengers. Emotions are the key to creating.