Staying Open to Our Feelings
January 14, 2019
Many of us have gotten so good at following the “don’t feel” rule that we can try to talk ourselves out of having feelings, even in recovery.
“If I was really working a good program, I wouldn’t feel angry.”
“I don’t get angry. I’m a Christian. I forgive and forget.”
“I’m not angry. I’m affirming that I’m happy.”
These are all statements, some of them quite clever, that indicate we’re operating under the “don’t feel” rule again.
Part of working a good program means acknowledging and dealing with our feelings. We strive to accept and deal with our anger so it doesn’t harden into resentments. We don’t use recovery as an excuse to shut down our emotions.
Yes, we are striving for forgiveness, but we still want to feel, listen to, and stay with our feelings until it is time to release them appropriately. Our Higher Power created the emotional part of ourselves. God is not telling us to not feel; it’s our dysfunctional systems.
We also need to be careful how we use affirmations; discounting our emotions won’t make feelings go away. If we’re angry, it’s okay to have that feeling. That’s part of how we get and stay healthy.
Today, I will refuse to accept shame from others or myself for feeling my feelings.
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.