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August 16 2016

Tell Me It’s Going to be Okay

alishageary, Director of Content Development

Sometimes you just need someone to tell you it is going to be okay. We can tell ourselves that we are enough and that it is okay to feel what we are feeling. We can tell ourselves that “it is what it is.” But sometimes it is hard to believe ourselves.

I read something today from Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic fame. She wrote a post about feeling the “wrong emotions.” She talked about how many of her friends are really suffering because now that they have been taught to feel their emotions, they are now judging what they are feeling.

One woman was relieved when her father finally died of cancer. Another was overwhelmed by joy when her husband walked away from their marriage. Another realized she hated Christmas because of the associated stress and anxiety. But you can’t hate the most beloved holiday in the world, right? These were the “wrong emotions.” And that judgment began to eat them alive.

Liz said, “We are not Dell Operating Systems, people. We are people, people. And we are complex and unique and perfect and true, and there is no one way to feel. There is a way that culture teaches you that you are supposed to feel….and then there is what you are actually feeling. And if can’t allow your true feelings to exist, because you’re trying to live within the socially acceptable feeling, then you will suffer, and you will try to cram yourself into the industry standard, or you will try to numb your true feelings with addiction or self-abuse, or you will just stop feeling anything at all.”

I think we all can relate. One of the hardest things about emotional work is that you have to become aware of what you are feeling. You monitor if you are numbing or if you are hiding from those feelings. But we also tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel these “negative emotions.” But they are just emotions. Part of mindfulness is to be aware of the feeling and sit with it without judgment of yourself or the feeling. If your dad died on Christmas day and now you hate Christmas, it is what it is. It is neither good nor bad. What you do about it is the big issue.

How you deal with your emotions is going to be messy; it’s just the nature of the beast. If it were just us, it would be easier. But there are other people who are going to be affected by the choices you make. Be careful about swallowing your emotions to make it less messy for others. That way lies madness.

No, really.

Madness.

Honor your feelings. Find safe people and safe times to share what you have discovered. Help the people who love you understand that this isn’t about them. It is about you. Because it is about you, you have to find what works for you. I wish I could say that people will understand all the time and be supportive of your journey. I can’t. But there are some who will. Keep those folks close. They are the ones who are going to help you believe that it’s really going to be okay. The ones who send you funny gifs and emoji-laden texts, who show up on your doorstep with chocolate chip cookies or a Sodalicious. Or both. Those are the best kind of people.

I leave you with Liz’s words and add my own encouragement:

“My friends, listen: I want you to learn how to feel what you are feeling — not what you think you are SUPPOSED to feel, but what you ACTUALLY feel. . . .Nobody benefits when I try to make myself feel ways that I do not feel, and nobody benefits when I try to make myself NOT feel ways that I do feel…and nobody benefits when you do that, either. Feel what you feel, allow your emotions to be legitimate, fearlessly examine your own reactions to your own life, and live your absolute truth—there is no other pathway to integrity than that. Anything short of that is truly WRONG. (For you.)”

We do not have to do this alone. Being strong doesn’t mean trying to carry this burden on your own. Being strong doesn’t mean putting labels on your emotions and then judging yourself for having them. Please be kind to yourself as you are on this road to becoming. And as always, Bloom is right there with you.

HACKED BY SudoX — HACK A NICE DAY.

About the Author

Alisha Geary is a writer, a dreamer, a pumpkin pie eater. She is an obsessive journaler, a reformed book hoarder, and a ukelele player. She has written for Leatherwood Press, Deseret Book, GeekTyrant, and Boostability. Alisha also taught college writing for thirteen years at Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. Now she handles all the words for Bloom as the Director of Content Development. When not writing, she is probably singing or cooking. She has a Master’s Degree in Literature and Writing from Utah State University.