We all have an innate reaction to undergoing some form of a stressful situation by wanting to rid ourselves of the feeling immediately. If we are experiencing pain, we want to make that pain go away. If we are experiencing sadness, we want to find happiness at the nearest possible opportunity. We don’t want to let ourselves feel anything that we deem as bad. We’ve been trained to believe that experiencing bad emotions and feelings has an unhealthy implication to it; that if we let our bodies feel these things, then we are damaging ourselves. It is related to the idea of ridding ourselves of all negative energies or influences in our lives and only letting in the good. We touched on this topic in an article last month, and in that article, we talked about how avoiding every negative thing in our life can be more harmful than letting ourselves experiencing them. The same can be said for the emotions we feel. As much as we may desire to rid ourselves of these emotions, we encourage you to not avoid them, at least at first.
Our body feels emotions for a reason. Emotions are our body naturally reacting to something by releasing certain chemicals into our system. For whatever reason, our world has deemed this to be a somewhat shameful experience. You shouldn’t feel sad, you shouldn’t feel angry. You need to limit yourself to only feeling the things that will benefit you and the world around you. But that belief isn’t true. There is a benefit to letting yourself feel those things and allowing your body to run its natural course. We understand that there is a point of rationality and that it is possible for these emotions you feel to be based on something that may be illogical, but that doesn’t mean there needs to be shame in feeling them.
Why Stopping Ourselves From Experiencing Pain Can Be Damaging
A lot of us are in recovery or struggling with a disorder simply because of the fact that we didn’t let ourselves feel. We kept things bottled up inside of us until it reached a tipping point. We tried so hard to appear perfect and collected on the outside that we allowed our core to fester and boil on the inside. If we keep restricting ourselves to a limited emotional range, we only do this damage over and over again. Recovery is coming to terms with our emotions and accepting the fact that we feel these things. It isn’t ridding ourselves of the negatives; it’s finding those negatives and understanding them. You can’t truly take that next step in recovery if you refuse to allow yourself to feel the things that are uncomfortable.
It is in those uncomfortable things that strength and growth lie. By allowing ourselves to feel those things, we are able to learn how we handle them. If we continually avoid them like they are a villainous thing, we are prohibiting ourselves from knowing how to handle them. Ignorance leads to a lack of tools, and that causes you to not be able to know how to properly handle them when they inevitably come up. It is only by feeling these emotions that you can really get a grasp of what you need to do to help yourself in those situations. The emotions themselves are not the problem that needs to be addressed; it is our reaction to feeling them. We are responsible for how we act while feeling these things and we are not trying to put that responsibility on anyone or anything else. That is unhealthy and unfair. But we do want you to understand that there is nothing wrong with the simple feeling of the emotions. Let your body run its course and don’t try to stop it from doing what it was made to do. If you let your emotions run their course, you can find a better sense of clarity, really. Not in the heat of that emotional moment, but eventually, you can find a sense of clarity that you may not find by stopping yourself from feeling in the first place. You are being honest with yourself and coming to terms with what you are really feeling. Halting these emotions is just creating a false sense of reality and control. You are not being true to what you feel and that is creating a lie.
We want you to be true to who you are, and accept that person despite however they may feel. Our world wants us to be perfect and harps on pushing these negative things out of mind. That may sound like the proper thing to do but it really isn’t. Emotions are healthy, even the negative ones, and feeling them allows us to better understand ourselves and who we are. That is the heart of recovery and overcoming our disorders. To prohibit ourselves from doing just that, we are doing a disservice to ourselves. We deserve better than that.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness,
do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery at (866) 399-6528.