I spend a great deal of time and energy thinking, writing about, examining, preaching, ripping apart and putting back together, all things about “FEELINGS.” I have no doubt that this is time and energy well spent. (This is your cue to roll your eyes.)
Time and time again, embracing feelings and the depth of feelings that I feel or have felt, almost immediately turns me to examining facts – I am an ardent supporter and believer in evaluating and trusting facts over feelings, but processing feelings is a MUST.
How I process feelings through trauma and then on September 11th, 2001, shifted, and never snapped back to what once was. That single day altered my body, mind and spirit and noodled with my processing and coping skills. My wiring became further frayed and I had to learn how to rewire my connections.
I stopped asking, “Why?” and became more productive in the acceptance/living life on life’s terms, department. I choose to believe that this is part of the good that came from something so incomprehensible. It has never been natural, but a practice I am deeply committed to.
For the past several years, due to factors that needn’t be mentioned here, I have noticed a trend in our society that I question constantly:
With what almost FEELS like daily horror, with hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, terrorism, fear, hate, insane acceptance of “the new normal,” and an endless array of numbing devices to choose from, we seem to have collectively chosen to dismiss our “invalid” feelings.
I think this is some dangerous territory to hang out in for too long.
I’ve recognized a swiftly growing trend of too many of us not being okay FEELING stuff because it isn’t tragic enough for us to feel crappy about. We habitually invalidate and guilt the crap out of ourselves if we FEEL something about anything sort of “yawn-y.”
Ask yourself how many times you hear from others, or from yourself, “Why am I stressing over _____________, when _______________ is happening in this world?!”
Perspective is great. Invalidation, not so much. (And don’t even think about getting on your iPhone instead of walking through those feelings!)
As I worked through trauma therapy, dove into recovery at a healthy pace and then walked through cancer, I was as emotionally healthy as healthy can be. I mean, my serious stuff was valid.
So, what about when we have to do the irritating day to day stuff that totally stresses us out? What about when we aren’t dealing with the “BIG stuff” like disease, crime or other grief and loss? Aren’t we allowed to struggle with the “little, insignificant” things that absolutely add up in our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits?
Yesterday, I saw several social media posts from loved ones, stating that they had no right to be upset about ________________, with all that is happening in our fractured world.
I guess I just want to say that the little things can pile up inside of ourselves, especially if we don’t even give ourselves permission to feel them and then process our feelings. If we let these feelings fester and ferment, how can we possibly be fully present for the really big stuff?
I often (daily) feel incomprehensible sadness and anger about things (crimes against humankind) that are happening in our world, but if I don’t take care of my minor irritations and allow myself to validate, process and heal from them, I will not be equipped to try and help resuscitate the world.
This morning, I cannot fit something into my day that I was really hungering for. I also don’t really feel like going into the office. I have oodles of post it notes stuck to my desk that need to be completed by close of business today. I feel perfectionism rearing its ugly head.
It all matters. Syrian refugees, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, DACA, terrorism, insane politicians, sociopathic leaders, mental health inaccessibility, stigma, addiction, tax forms, lost luggage, red dye #40, clean water, zits, a bad hair day, and the like.
The FACT is, we all matter and our feelings matter. The good, the bad, the ugly and the seemingly insignificant.
All of it has significance.
Your zits and hair matter. Don’t dismiss them. Don’t shit on yourself about being upset about them. Acknowledge how totally okay it is that you care about how you present yourself to the world, grab some Clearasil and coif product, and move forward to repair the world.
I love you, just as you are, where you are.