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Feeling, Accomplished.

The last few years of my life have been full of feelings.
ALL THE FEELINGS.

Scratch that - my whole life has been full of feelings. All of them. Deep feelings. But the last few years have been full of accepting and acknowledging my feelings, which is a fairly significant shift from my previous framework. 

I have long been uncomfortable with strong emotions. I didn't know what to do with them, or what purpose they serve. In my mind, feelings were an annoying interference with the rational and far more valued rational processes of the brain (this is a slight generalization, but not much).

While I could usually identify how I felt, I didn't always understand why it was important to figure that out, or what good could come of telling another person the emotions I was experiencing, especially if they were "negative" or difficult feelings.

It is not that I believed my feelings were irrelevant, but that they were subservient to my logic and my will.

If I felt disappointed that a friend hadn't called me as promised, I would think, "I know she didn't intend to hurt me, so I ought not feel upset."  And I would try to bring my feelings in line with my logic, by the pure power of my will.

OR once I identified a feeling, I would tell myself it was time to move on now. "You've named it. Acknowledged it. Now you're done."

It rarely worked well.

And then, eventually, with the help of wise friends and outside input, I started to believe that emotions are not tasks to be accomplished. I cannot simply identify a feeling and expect that will end my experience of it. I no longer believe that emotions are second-class citizens in this body of mine.

Emotions are an important and inevitable part of the human experience. Identifying them is important. Sharing them (appropriately) helps breed intimacy and trust. And working through them is made easier when you stop pretending they aren't there.
from postsecret.com, a long time ago.

It is okay to be afraid.
Anxiety is not unacceptable.
Sadness is a healthy response to many things.
Anger helps us identify the things we value.


I no longer view my emotions as items to be checked off of a list (Sadness? Accomplished! On to the next one!). Life is messier now, and sometimes more difficult than when my primary relationship with my feelings was one of control and "mastery."

But you know what? It is better. I am better.  My friendships are healthier, and deeper. I know my own self in a way I couldn't before.

Here's how I feel about all of this: Encouraged. Hopeful. Grateful, and Happy.

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