Because we don’t want to feel.
SHAME. I am not good enough. I am not lovable.
REGRET. I never should have done that. I wish I would have….
GUILT. I am better than this. If only I had…
BETRAYAL. I am hurt they would do this to me.
LOSS. I cannot believe they are gone.
These feelings impose themselves in our lives, sit in our chest, fester in our belly, dominate our thoughts, occupy our memories. They ravage us from the inside out. It is no wonder we turn to something…. anything that will help us not to feel.
PAIN. What we feel in our heart when we face any of the above mentioned emotions.
Yes, I’ve experienced many of these feelings of despair. When I try to stuff the emotion or numb the feelings, I fail. By lack of acknowledgement, I feed it. It grows and grows within me. I work harder and harder to push it away until the day of reckoning arrives. There is always a day of reckoning.
When the day arrives I have two choices: let go or work through. I tell my yoga students “Inhale what you need. Exhale what does not serve you.” We practice this week after week. But can we truly let go?
I believe there are times when we can. We know we’ve released what we were holding onto IF we say ‘goodbye’ and the visceral feeling does not accompany the memory. Letting go is nowhere near as easy as it sounds. Letting go is tough.
If we can’t let go, then the options we are left with are to keep stuffing these feelings or work through them. Avoidance will continue to work as long as we have the energy, the means and the realization there will be a cost to this methodology.
Working through the feelings, just like letting go, will be hard.
Whether we let go or we work through, the first step has to be awareness. Over the past few years I’ve had to learn to say to myself “This is pain.” “This is grief.” “This is shame.”
I am learning to not dismiss my feelings, but acknowledge them. I identify the arrival, and I prepare myself to ride the wave of emotion. I’m learning to let it wash over me and not rush its departure. Then and only then, without a formal announcement, the healing begins.
There are no easy roads. This is life. We have minds to think, emotions to feel, words to share, hearts to love. When we experience pain it is the cost we pay to have all the other beautiful things in life. It is through our acceptance and acknowledgement of our own pain, we gain compassion. Compassion for others and compassion for ourselves.