In this article we’ll look at what denying experience looks like and what might be possible when we accept and embrace all of our feelings and emotions.
“I shouldn’t feel like this…”
How many times has this thought crossed your path?
How many times have you believed it to be true and tried to change or deny your experience? That could be through distraction or numbing (eating, drinking alcohol, exercising, gambling, taking drugs, scrolling on social media…you know your way) – or trying to change thoughts. Anything to not feel what is present in the moment.
Or perhaps you beat yourself up – tell yourself you’re lucky to be alive, to have a family, to have food in the fridge? That you have no ‘right’ to feel the way you do.
I’m guessing that’s all of you?
This morning, after a restless nights sleep, anxiety followed by sadness came to visit.
In the past I would have done everything in my power to deny those emotions and feelings. I would have done anything I could to change the feelings, to distract myself from the discomfort and from having the experience. After all, people around me expect me to be happy and strong so that’s what I have to present, right..?
Today is different. Once again I’ve taken the opportunity to get to know these feelings/emotions better. To actually feel the feelings.
Feel the feelings
I really looked at what anxiety felt like. The knot in the tummy, the tightness in the chest. I sat with the sensations and got curious about what the mind was creating. And there it was! “I can’t do it.”
It relates, in this instance, to building my coaching business, but has appeared many many times before.
And in that moment I saw clearly that this was a belief, no doubt acquired from some innocent experience as a child, that has been playing on a loop, subconsciously, all my life.
Beliefs dictate behaviours and experience
And with that realisation came compassion and sadness. That those few words had been believed as truth and had thus dictated my behaviours and experience.
As I sit writing this the sadness has welled up again. And I know it’s OK. It’s what happens when this mind-body believes those words. So innocently acquired.
A part of ‘me’ that unto now, has been disregarded, ignored, pushed away.
Now, instead, I embrace it. I see it for what it is. It doesn’t mean anything about me. I didn’t choose to believe that “I can’t do it.” It was learnt by a system that is wired to do just that. To make meaning out of experience. To interpret things that happen.
And the truth?
Well, the truth I clearly see is not this.
“I can’t do it” isn’t true. It’s looked true for as long as I can remember when it comes to doing something I haven’t done before. But it isn’t THE TRUTH.
And I wonder what’s possible when “I can’t do it” is pulled in close, lovingly, compassionately. That little child whose mind interpreted an experience that way and who has forever since been tugging on my leg to get attention. Just to be told it’s OK; to be parented, and that has been denied a ‘voice’ for fear of feeling the feelings.
So as I step forward in my day today I’m not going to deny that child attention. I’m going to take her hand and gently walk with her.
And as I do that, I sense a wholeness. An acceptance of all of ‘me’. An allowance of every emotion, feeling and sensation, knowing that they all come from a ‘programme’ so innocently acquired.
No need to distract or numb myself from feeling it all.
And that invitation is there for you too.
It’s OK to be feeling whatever you’re feeling; experiencing whatever you’re experiencing. What if that were true, even if just for today? How would that change your day?
If you’re curious about how being with your experience, rather than denying your experience could look for you, book a free exploratory call with me.