Let’s talk about the F word, and no, I’m not talking about the good kind (insert smirking emoji here).
I’m referring to feelings and the importance of not tossing them aside like last year’s fashion trends. Are boyfriend jeans still a thing? Okay, I’m getting distracted.
It’s easy to push aside unpleasant feelings and prioritize anything else over actually experiencing them. And for some of us, from an early age, we were told things that invalidate our emotions—phrases like “there’s nothing to cry about” or “grow up, why are you crying?” Naturally, we carried these dismissals into adulthood, feeling guilty for simply feeling. We’d say things to ourselves like “it can always be worse.”
But let me tell you, my friend, that strategy doesn’t make those pesky feelings disappear. It’s like playing a never-ending game of emotional hide-and-seek, and trust me, they always find you. If I had to create an analogy for unpleasant feelings, it would be this: they start off with a gentle knock.
Feelings: “Hey, do you have a moment to feel all these big emotions?”
Me: “No, I have a never-ending to-do list, errands to run, and people I don’t want to see. Yada yada yada.”
And this back-and-forth goes on for a while, until it doesn’t anymore.
Then, on a random day, in an unexpected way, it all comes crashing down, and you’re left with no choice but to do the one thing you’ve been resisting—feel the feels, all of them. The F word is present, and there’s no turning back.
This happened to me recently, and let me tell you, feelings don’t always show up in such dramatic fashion. But it served as a reminder that if you don’t make time to feel what you’re feeling, those emotions will drag you into their emotional roller coaster, whether it’s convenient for you or not. So, hold space for yourself. It’s like finding room in your emotional Airbnb for the messiest, most conflicted version of yourself.
Now, I’m no guru in the wellness industry, but I’ll share how I embrace my feelings in the hopes that it’ll make you have a little laugh and maybe inspire you too.
Hang out with your feelings. Hello, bestie!
That means being present with them. I used to think that whenever unpleasant feelings would surface, I could think positive thoughts and poof…they would disappear, like a magic trick. Believing it was all in my mind. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many reasons why these feelings show up, but what they provide is an opportunity to delve deeper within. My process is to accept how I’m feeling without judgment, have a quiet moment with them, and acknowledge, “Well, hello there, I’m feeling f*cking sad.”
Go deeper, my friend.
Once you’ve acknowledged your feelings, it’s time to dive into the depths of your emotions and understand why you’re feeling this way. It’s not always a smooth journey—sometimes it’s like swimming through a messy and even scary sea of thoughts. But hey, start scratching the surface and more will be revealed. I find that journaling helps—a place to unleash the jumbled mess of my thoughts onto paper, letting them flow like a glorious waterfall.
Take a break, baby.
Get creative with your breaks. Yes, writing and painting are cool, but how about going for a little walk and taking a picture of a bird? Maybe even give that bird a name. I’ll go with Wilbert for now, and who knows, maybe he’ll give you some profound advice. The whole point is to get out of your head and allow creative solutions to find you.
Don’t brave it alone; you don’t need to. Speak to someone—a friend, a family member, someone you trust. Don’t self-isolate. Connect. Talk. Share. Sometimes, simply talking things out can work wonders. Having someone who can ground you and offer a different perspective is like a warm emotional hug.
It’s all temporary.
Remind yourself that this, too, shall pass. I’ve started making a list of different scenarios that have resulted in me feeling these unpleasant emotions—a track record of all the times I’ve survived them.
So, here’s a little reminder for me, you, and anyone going through a rough time: whatever you’re feeling, go ahead and feel it. As hard and messy as it may be, your future self will give you a big virtual high-five for having the guts to embrace it. Let the emotional parade begin!