Whether working with clients or navigating our own journey, it seems that Whitney and I spend a lot of time talking about the feelings that aren't serving us and how to choose thoughts that give us access to feelings that DO serve us.
There are feelings, like worry, that are both negative and "indulgent". Worry gives us a false sense of control, it tricks us into thinking that we are caring for others or protecting ourselves, but in reality it is keeping us stuck and causing inaction.
There are also feelings like grief that have a more complicated dynamic. Grief can be paralyzing, or grief can be healing ...it all depends on how we think about it. If you find yourself resisting grief, there is driving thought that you shouldn't be feeling grief. When the circumstances of your life are such that grief is appropriate ...like experiencing great loss, the thoughts that the grief is inappropriate cause suffering to be piled on top of it.
I have gone to funerals in the past all pumped up to "be strong" and make sure I don't get emotional. So I do it ...by staying distracted mentally while I'm there. I never allow myself to be present, I'm there ...but my mind is somewhere else. That robs me of the healing that comes from allowing the grief, it robs me of my opportunity to say goodbye to someone who means something to me, and it robs me of my opportunity to connect and support my friends and family who are feeling grief with me. I end up isolated and disconnected - I end up suffering.
I can choose a different thought - that I am open to the pain. I am strong enough to feel it and I am willing to experience that discomfort for my own healing and to support the people I care about. This doesn't decrease the pain, but it eliminates the suffering.
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