On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you want to punch people who tell you to “enjoy the journey”?
Yeah, me too.
Girlfriend, sometimes life is hard and you have to endure the journey. We all know life is not all sunshine and rainbows, so why pretend it is? About half our time is spent experiencing uncomfortable emotions – or avoiding them by drinking, overeating, binge-watching Netflix, and filling online shopping carts with a bunch of stuff you aren’t going to buy with money you definitely don’t have.
We know all that numbing behavior isn’t great for us.. or our waistlines.. or our wallets, but I think part of the problem is that we think we aren’t supposed to feel bad. If we feel frustrated, sad, angry – uncomfortable – we are doing it wrong.
I’m here to give you permission to have bad days, to be in a bad mood, to start crying at a red light “for no reason.”
Trust me, I love positivity. I teach and live gratitude, joy, smiling, and building a life you love. I just know that all the good in life comes with the ugly twin of all the bad. The craziest part is that it’s actually the shit sandwiches life serves us that make the good so amazing.
So, instead of denying the bad exists, smiling and telling everyone you’re “fine!” let’s be honest. Sometimes life sucks. Sure, you probably don’t have it as hard as a lot of other people, but it is ok to acknowledge your own struggle. Let yourself be angry, heartbroken, frustrated, sick, overwhelmed, embarrassed. Sit in it for a lil bit.
Here’s what will happen: once you actually acknowledge how you’re feeling, you will have the space for a few things.
First, you can notice your thoughts – are you making up some stories about what is happening that are making you feel worse? Did you make a break up mean that you’ll be alone forever? You can separate reality from the stories you’re making up about it, which will often make you feel a heck of a lot better.
Second, you realize that you don’t need to numb out your uncomfortable feelings because you are actually badass enough to experience your emotions. Yep, emotions can be mega-monster-strong, but you are too. This realization will give you freedom from numbing through overdrinking, overeating, overshopping, and whatever other overs you’re up to these days.
Finally, you’ll clear out the emotion and be able to move on to feeling good again. We’ve probably all heard that “bottling up” your emotions isn’t good for you. Uncomfortable emotions don’t go away even if you deny them – they stay inside and sort of hold you hostage. When you face them and give them the space to be played out, they lose their power over you and you’re able to move forward.
I know. Our society is really obsessed with being positive all.the.time. It takes awhile to move beyond that and become more comfortable with your negative emotions – I’ve been calling them “uncomfortable” for a reason.
But next time one pops up, notice yourself. Get curious. Maybe grab a journal. What is your first urge? Do you try to numb? Instead take a moment and let yourself sit in that really icky emotion. What is this emotion called? Investigate. What stories are you making up? See how long you can stay here and learn. Every time I do this, I notice that I eventually feel the emotion dissipate on its own. Bonus tip: at this point I always call a BFF and share because what are BFFs even for if not for post freak out phone calls.