When you feel the way you don’t want to feel

Feelings are tricky, no doubt. Maybe the trickiest of all human attributes. Triggered by various emotions, they can also be overwhelming to the point where you totally lose control. Over your reaction to the particular situation, but more importantly, the outcome. And whether expressed as fear, aggression, anxiety, despair, disappointment, frustration, or just blind rage, feelings could easily bring us to the very edge of sanity unless we pay close attention. But of course, we seldom do that anyway.

Realistically speaking, in most cases there isn’t much to do about how you feel. Maybe somebody has hurt you deeply and you want nothing but vengeance. Maybe somebody’s lying to you and you’ve just found out. Maybe your partner is cheating on you and you’re jealous. Or maybe somebody just gets on your nerves by breathing in the same room. Whatever the case, it ain’t easy to tame the beast within, once set free. Depending on your personality, you can either let all hell break loose and shoot to kill or suffer endlessly in silence. In fact, neither one helps. For if you directly attack the person who has inflicted your pain, you might hurt them more than expected (and in ways you’ll probably never know) and very likely, you’ll regret it later. On the other hand, silent suffering has the potential to eventually kill you. Literally and on all levels. When faced with a negative feeling and not willing to deal with the issue, oversensitive people tend to bury it as deep as possible. They push it through that Feelings door, somewhere in the gloomy dungeon of their subconsciousness, slam the rusty door and lock it three times just to make sure, shamming that feeling never aroused in the first place. But sadly enough, pretending the feeling isn’t there won’t make it disappear. It will stay buried within, waiting for the next time the emotional trigger shows up. So what to do? Eliminate the trigger.

This is not an easy task, I know. And rather frustrating too because when feelings come, they don’t normally give us a 14-day prior notice, so we could prepare in peace for what is to come. Sometimes situations just hit us, denuded and exposed, eagerly expecting our reaction. Now, any real Zen Master would keep their countenance, no matter the circumstances, but we ain’t no zen master. At least, not all the time. So what to do when storm hits? First, avoid trying to escape the feeling. It’s not really possible to not feel the way you feel. You can’t really tell your heart to stop breaking and get a grip. You are the one to get a grip. So as hard as it might seem, try to acknowledge the negative feeling. Don’t reject it. Don’t blame yourself for how you feel. There’s nothing you can do about it but accept it. If you’re having some issues on the love front, for instance, that might make you feel sad, rejected, and lonely. It might even result in you doubting yourself or your worthiness, provoking inferiority, bitterness, and depression. Any kind of betrayal hurts, yes, but ask yourself: “Who is really hurting now? My being or my feelings?” A simple, but also tricky question. Remember that we mainly hurt when our ego is affected, when we feel insulted and betrayed. Betrayal means that somebody doesn’t acknowledge our worthiness or fails to act the way we think they are supposed to act. How dare they?! We feel alienated, often raging in an attempt to prove we’re actually worthy in the eyes of others. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter. If you give it a thought, you’d see that our ego is rarely satisfied and that lack of inner satisfaction, among others, leads to shame, confusion, and discourage.

In short, when the feeling hits, look at it right into the eye. Accept its presence and take a few minutes to analyze it. Avoid speaking or acting. Just observe. Split the feeling into bits and pieces and try to find its real source. Do you feel intimidated? Does your ego hurt due to rejection? Are you afraid of something? And if yes, from what? Take the time to look at the situation as objectively as possible. Finding the source is half the battle. Acceptance is the other half.

But most of all, don’t feel ashamed if you feel sad, confused, unsettled, or jealous. You are who you are and there’s nothing right or wrong with feelings. You are the only one who could label them, but why would you even want to? Feeling grateful or resentful doesn’t necessarily make you a good or a bad person. Plus, at the end of the day, emotions are well-known for their transient nature. Sometimes they make us happy, and sometimes they make us furious. Our reaction, however, depends totally on our own choice and the level of our current development. It’s very unlikely you cried because your toy truck has broke as you would when you were five. And perhaps, you won’t probably cheat on your partner now, because you know how much it hurts to be on the other side. And perhaps, you’ll get to the point of wishing your colleague well for getting that promotion instead of you (if not already). In any case, you can’t run away or hide from your feelings and it’s rather naïve to believe you could. They are only there to remind you that you are human, for better or worse. So, accept your feelings exactly as they are, not a bit more, not a bit less. And don’t let them take the lead, you are in charge. So grab the wheel and keep driving towards that better version of yourself.

Namasté!

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