Life has a way of demanding us to step the fuck up. It doesn’t want us to hide and cower and avoid and distract our feelings away. Why have we become so ashamed of having feelings? Be sad! Be angry! Be guilty! Be enthusiastic! Be excited! Be everything! That’s life. Life wants you to be brave, to stand up, to own up to how you’re feeling, to find a way through the feelings and out the other side.
If you’re drinking or fucking or smartphoning or Netflixing or smoking your feelings away, you’re missing out on a big part of what it means to be human. We’re not here to pass the time, to watch the clock, to sleepwalk through the hours. We’re supposed to be sad sometimes. We’re supposed to have breakdowns. We’re supposed to wanna say fuck it to everything. We’re supposed to cry and scream and laugh and be at the whim of our oftentimes psychotic emotions.
How else can we know joy without also knowing sadness? How else can we know peace if we first have not experienced chaos? How else can we know transformative forgiveness if we have not yet known fury? If we’re dulling the emotions we consider to be negative, we are dulling the good ones as well.
But really, no emotion is negative. We’ve put these qualifiers onto how we feel and have decided that certain emotions are more welcome than others. That’s only because we don’t understand the purpose of all emotions. Feelings allow us to experience the complexity of life, the complexity of being human. And if we thwart powerful emotions like sadness and anger and frustration, we miss out on fully feeling the intensity of their opposites.
So, we must be brave. We must go headfirst into darkness so that we can know the brilliance of light. We must know a breakdown, before we can fully experience a breakthrough. We must truly know guilt before we can truly know freedom.
I know this doesn’t sound fun, but in our pursuit of fun, we’re missing so much. We’re missing opportunities to feel deeper, even a deeper sense of joy and fun and play.
I have been on both sides of this coin. I have spent many times drinking away any strong feelings, wearing my lack of emotions on my chest like a badge of honor. And, all it ever got me was a shitty hangover and a longer road to peace and freedom. Because, no matter how much you drink or smoke or binge-watch, the emotions you stuff down will bubble to the surface regardless.
However, we can be brave and face the world in front of us naked, without being inhibited by anything to dull wherever we are on the spectrum of human emotion. Once you start on this path, you no longer fear feeling and you don’t end up expending most of your energy avoiding that which you don’t want to face. You just buck up and face it. And deal with it. And it’s over before you know it. And you sit there and wonder what you were so afraid of all this time.
And, that, is true freedom. But first, we must be brave.