Learning to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable

Written by Amie on June 10, 2011 – 3:21 pm -

Don’t believe everything you think

Just wanted to touch on this subject because it is alive in me right now. Trying to feel comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable is tricky. I never really looked at emotions and feelings from this perspective. I am familiar with avoiding feelings and with trying to push them away for sure. Awareness has helped me see this in a new light. Before I was aware of my thoughts and feelings, I didn’t know I was causing myself more suffering by trying to make my feelings go away. It was just the way I learned to do things. Avoid feeling at all costs. But more recently I have become aware of not wanting to feel uncomfortable. I want to allow my emotions (all of them), but I don’t like being uncomfortable! Catch 22? Yep. I guess just another way of avoiding feeling? Probably. I know that in the past, depression would sweep me away in the swirl of yuckiness. I did not want to feel uncomfortable. Not one bit. But what I didn’t see then was that by attempting to avoid the uncomfortable feelings of depression, I was prolonging the depression. Why would I, or anyone, choose to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable? It is all about allowing *all* emotions. They are all the same thing; they are waves of feelings moving through our bodies. What changes the whole experience is *what we tell ourselves* about those waves.

Keeping yourself stuck in depression

This is tough to learn. I struggle with it without a doubt. I can sit and be with my emotions for a short time but then here comes a thought about what I am feeling. The unnecessary commentary about *why* I am feeling this or that. It is this pattern that gets us in trouble, and keeps us stuck in our feelings of misery. Remember the last post I wrote about believing the stories we tell ourselves? This is what I am talking about. The key for me has been to focus on the feelings in my body instead of the thoughts and stories I am telling myself about my situation. After all, it is the body that stores all of these emotions. The body knows how you feel, and will hold onto everything unless you allow the emotions to flow through.

Checking in with body sensations rather than thoughts

So, I go back to, “what am I feeling in my body?”; “Where do I feel a physical sensation?”; “I feel a tightness in my stomach”; “I feel an ache in my chest”. Once I have named everything I feel, I check in with my body again to see if any of the sensations have lessened. If they haven’t, I go through the process again. If there is a sensation that is very strong, I ask it what it wants to tell me. **if I hear things that sound like the usual stories, such as “I shouldn’t feel this way”, or “she is being a jerk”, I start over because these are not feelings, they are judgments. Very different. A feeling would be more along the lines of “I am sad”, “I am disappointed”, etc. I stay with this until there is nothing else that comes to mind. Then I go through the body check again to see how the sensations have lessened. I might have to do this more than once, because sometimes there are layers upon layers.

All emotions are important

So I am learning to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. It is a new thing for us all. We have been conditioned to avoid feeling anything that isn’t happy. We have learned that the darker emotions are somehow bad. They aren’t! They are here to help us grow and learn about ourselves. Emotions are emotions. We have been conditioned to believe the stories in our heads, the negative stories that tell us depression is a terrible thing, and that something is wrong with you if you are depressed. I am not saying depression isn’t horrible, it feels worse than horrible when in the thick of it. I went through years of it. But, it took me so long to see that emotions are not bad-the stories we tell ourselves are. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin includes being uncomfortable at times. Learning to just BE…..with whatever emotions come up is the key to growth. ┬áMost importantly, be gentle with yourself as you are learning this. Years and years of beating ourselves up takes it’s toll. It is time to love and accept yourself exactly as you are…….perfect. All emotions are important. The stories we tell ourselves only keep us stuck in depression. Become aware of your stories……and then let them go. They are not who you are, and they are not true.

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Self-love | 2 Comments »
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