The Relationship Archives

Stop Running From Feelings!

Feelings. Why do we spend so much energy running and hiding from them? To be honest, I avoid them at any cost. If I know a movie will make me cry, I skip it. If someone’s actions are making me want to scream, I stay away from them as much as possible. (Sometimes I even try to smooth things over to help them avoid bad feelings. Jeesh.) If I have to make a difficult decision, I put it off until the last possible minute.

Avoiding feelings can be exhausting. If you stick with me for a minute here, I promise hope my situation will be relatable and will make my point.
I was having a perfectly fine day today. I had coffee with my mom this morning, and we set out to paint my living room. But then little things started to go wrong, one thing after the other. Nothing huge, just little bumps along the road. (Painting is always a bigger project than you expect!)

First, my favorite paint color was, of course, called Wedding Veil. Really? C’mon.

Then, inevitably, it was too white. I tried to mix my own gray and came up with a lovely shade of silver, which I then proceeded to spill all over the floor. Ew.

At this point, I had half a can of freaking silver/Wedding Veil on the floor, and I was up to my elbows in paint.

Before I knew it, my frustrations turned into feeling uncomfortable, sad, and lonely to boot. The annoyance of the bad painting fiasco had made me so tired, it sucked me out of my comfort zone and stirred up all my sad emotions sitting under the surface.(Read My Full Disclosure if you’re not sure why I’m so quick to fall into that state or why Wedding Veil paint is pathetically ironic for me.)
My painting blunders had left me thinking about how I wish I never even wanted to paint. If my life was going the way I had planned, I wouldn’t have needed to paint. Why did I start this project? Why can’t my life just be back to normal? Why do I have to go through a breakup? (See the downward spiral?)
I was tired. My productivity was gone, and my positive attitude flew out right along with it. Even if I was productive, my motivation was sucked dry.Before I realized what it was, I was so exhausted from my feelings, I actually quit painting and went to bed. If sleep was what it was going to take to avoid these emotions, I’d do it. Forget the living room.
Luckily for me, the fumes kept me awake long enough to evaluate what was really going on. I realized my feelings found me even when I was trying to cover them up by keeping busy with my project.They came after me even when I tried to sleep to avoid them. There they were! Right beside me. Even if I managed to fall asleep, they’d be there waiting when I finally woke up.

 

I write a lot about quick pick-me-ups to turn around these feelings, but those only work for a little while as long as you’re dealing with your emotions in the mean time. If you’re just repeating these quick fixes and never facing anything, those pesky feelings will sit there waiting for you to have a moment of weakness.
So, what do you do if you can’t run from them? It’s like the old saying, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
I’ve written about this before, but I need the reminder now. Here are the steps to take in dealing with emotions:
 
1. Label it. What is it? Your feelings will most likely fit into these categories: 1. Sadness 2. Anger 3. Loneliness
2. Sit with it for a minute. It won’t kill you! Just let yourself feel it. Set a timer and force yourself to wallow for just a little while. It doesn’t feel good, but it will be over soon enough.
3. Redirect. Go do something else. This is where The 5 Minutes to Happiness list comes in handy.
4. Revisit. Come back to your feelings now. Did you survive them? Can you look at them in a different light? They may still be there, but maybe they’re not as overwhelming now.

You weathered the emotional storm! Look at you facing those fears. Take a moment to appreciate YOURSELF and your strength.
And how did my day end? Well, this blog post was my Step 3. I’ll get back to you. 🙂
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