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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One freezing January morning

I’m walking down the street in the freezing winter cold. My earphones as usual in my ears and I’m lost in my own thoughts. The wind is howling and the cold is making my cheeks all red. I feel my hands ice cold even under the gloves and I can see my breath going out. Listening to that violin that makes my soul cry somewhere between ultimate pleasure and bitter pain. It touches my heart, turning my soul upside down. Sweet torture.

I keep walking. This winter landscape around is at the very least depressing. The sky looks so grey and sad. It feels like all those huge clouds will finally fall down to the ground, consuming everything underneath. All trees look dead. No flowers. Not a single green anywhere. Just that white and grey. The ground is all covered in snow and ice. It’s hard to walk, hard to even breathe. But I keep on going. I keep moving forward, as if I’m trying to escape all this somehow. As if I’m trying to find a hiding place from this somnambulant environment. As quickly as my feet would let me. I hear the snow crunching beneath my feet. One step after the other. And then another one. And then another one. That picture around, it’s one of the most grievous ones I’ve ever seen in my life and I feel the urge to run away. Fast.

People passing me by, running to work. Mothers holding their children’s hands, taking them to school. People freezing waiting for the bus. Cars moving fast, drivers already annoyed by the traffic. Carried away by my music, I’m trying not to let all that greyness around get me. It’s like life stood still. I’m trying not to notice all those deadpan faces passing by – all serious, already concerned about the day to come. Big winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Lonely faces, sad faces. Hard to avoid. Hidden deep down in their own shell, nobody notices a thing. Walking like zombies. As if they had no real intention to reach their final destination. Just walking, because they have to. It’s so early and everyone has already put their serious masks on. Unbelievable. Not a single smile. Not a single green leaf. Not a single sunbeam. Where is it? Where’s the light? Where’s the warmth? Where has all life gone?

It starts snowing. As if it wasn’t gloomy enough. Hard frozen tears falling from the sky. I look around, but there isn’t much to see. Nature looks sad, houses look sad, people look sad. I catch myself thinking that it’s just a cycle. The end of a cycle. Winter is just the end of cycle, right before everything comes back to life again. And a cycle must end, so  the next one begins, just to come to an end and start again. The cycle of life. And it’s like it’s all sleeping now, hibernating under that snow and waiting for the spring to come and bring back the light. But it’s still depressing and those violins in my ears don’t help much. Happy thought. I need a happy thought. None. All nature in some odd stillness and my mind follows. I somehow fail to find it beautiful this morning. It drains me. It makes me sleepy and it makes me grumpy. I need to get back home. My sanctuary from all that grief around. My castle. My fortress. The place where I could let this burden go as soon as I close the door behind me and feel the light again. I can’t wait to get back home. I put on the pace.

And suddenly, I see a couple kissing. Right there, standing under the falling snow like nothing else matters. They didn’t seem to even notice the cold or anything else around. Like no one else existed in their little world for two. They were right there, both devoured in the sweet kiss of love, frozen in time. Holding close, as if to increase the beaming light they shared even more. I almost saw it beaming out of them and spreading around, creating a circle of light around them. Nobody else noticed them. And I just stood there, still and quiet, staring. That’s exactly what I needed. That was the beam of light I was looking for. The sign of hope, the beam of love. And all of a sudden, the winter didn’t look so bad. The cold didn’t seem to bother me anymore. And then I knew. This was it. It is the warmth of heart that makes us see things differently. It is the glow of love that makes us glow in turn. It is that high hope and everlasting steady faith that everything is fine. Or at least it will be. Just now. I smiled and passed them by. I kept walking and my heart felt warm. I neither felt the cold, nor the freezing wind, nor the snowflakes melting all over my face. It was all, it was enough. Love was in the air and it was just enough.