Alcohol
Anxiety
Resilience

Are You Really Broken?

Once upon a time, many years ago, some one seems to have decided that some feelings are good and some feelings are bad. Happiness, Joy and Courage are good. Anger, Sadness and Fear are bad. We seem to have been taught this for generations to the point that now if you feel any “bad” feelings at all you’re unwell, have a hormone imbalance or dodgy wiring of some kind.

But lets just hang on a second before we jump on the “positive vibes only” bandwagon.

In our quest to appear well, a feeler of only good feelings, we squash down, run away from and distract ourselves out of feeling any “bad” feelings. In a twist of irony that Alanis Morrisette would be proud of, it’s this ignore-ance that actually makes us unwell.

Instead of feeling the “bad” feelings when they come up, acknowledging them and letting them go, we store them in our bodies. We refuse to feel them and cover them up with over consumption (of food, alcohol, shopping, Netflix or just about anything really) until that over consumption becomes a problem and we go and see a professional for help.

The problem is we are then seeking help of the side-effect. The addiction, the depression or the anxiety is not the problem, they are the symptoms of the problem. The medication that blocks the feelings is helpful so that we can function, but it’s not the solution. You could take painkillers to block the pain from a knife in your leg, and if you never look at your leg it’s like there isn’t a problem. If you desperately need to walk another 5 miles before you can stop that’s helpful– but you’re not really going to repair until you remove the knife from your leg.

At the same time we blame ourselves when the “good” feelings don’t last. We think we should be constantly be happy, motivated and full of energy and if we’re not there is something wrong with us. I think our expectations of ourselves are just way too high.

Emotions are Energy In Motion. They are all equal. Sure, some feel more pleasant and comfortable than others, but they should all be fluid. When we get stuck in them is when the problems occur. That stands for “good” emotions too. Can you imagine what it would be like to feel joy at all times? There are many occasions in life where that would feel totally inappropriate and uncomfortable.

I suppose what I’m saying is that you are not broken if you feel hurt, anxious, stressed, angry, scared or sad. You are human. And at the moment, it sometimes seems to me, that we are living in a society that is not very accepting of humanness. Our work and “hustle” culture is not set up for it. Creativity and freedom of thought it not often nourished. We’re pushed to strive to be productive and ratchet up accomplishments. Technology means we’re always in touch with what’s happening in the world, and the world can always reach us. Maybe we need a different way forward.

 

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