December 27, 2017
Since I’ve been a child, I’ve been in an antagonistic relationship with an important emotional part of myself: my feelings. I have consistently tried to either ignore, repress, or force my feelings away. I have tried to create unnatural feelings or force away feelings that were present.
I’ve denied I was angry, when in fact I was furious. I have told myself there must be something wrong with me for feeling angry, when anger was a reasonable and logical response to the situation.
I have told myself things didn’t hurt, when they hurt very much. I have told myself stories such as “That person didn’t mean to hurt me.”. . . “He or she doesn’t know any better.” . . . “I need to be more understanding.” The problem was that I had already been too understanding of the other person and not understanding and compassionate enough with myself.
It has not just been the large feelings I have been at war with; I have been battling the whole emotional aspect of myself. I have tried to use spiritual energy, mental energy, and even physical exertion to not feel what I need to feel to be healthy and alive.
I didn’t succeed at my attempts to control emotions. Emotional control has been a survival behavior for me. I can thank that behavior for helping me get through many years and situations where I didn’t have any better options. But I have learned a healthier behavior—accepting my feelings.
We are meant to feel. Part of our dysfunction is trying to deny or change that. Part of our recovery means learning to go with the flow of what we’re feeling and what our feelings are trying to tell us.
We are responsible for our behaviors, but we do not have to control our feelings. We can let them happen. We can learn to embrace, enjoy, and experience—feel—the emotional part of ourselves.
Today, I will stop trying to force and control my emotions. Instead, I will give power and freedom to the emotional part of myself.
From the book: The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series
About the author
In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.
One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.