Are You Thinking Your Feelings?

I was in a funk the other day. I felt tired, low, and unmotivated.

It wasn’t raining outside.

I had slept pretty well the night before.

Nothing catastrophic happened to set off my mood.

So what was up? Why was I feeling this way?

I had a therapist once tell me that I always have my “why” soldier at the ready.

Why this.

Why that.

That I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the reasons behind my emotions.

In essence, I had a tendency to think my feelings. You know, instead of just feeling them.

What I’ve come to learn — and eventually take great comfort in — is that feelings are to be felt, not figured out or fixed.

Trying to fix your emotions, assign meaning to them, or intellectualize them away often ends up exacerbating the situation. You create clutter in your heart and in your soul because you essentially shut down that part of you who just wants to express herself.

It’s like you’re saying, “Zip it, I don’t wanna hear it.”

And while she may quiet down, it won’t last.

Your feelings wait for you. Sidestep them and they’ll show up again, whether that’s tomorrow or a year down the track – because they weren’t honored.

They then become stubborn clutter; a perpetual obstacle. This is when you find yourself faced with a similar challenge again and again. Or like you can’t catch a break.

Feel it in the moment and it won’t need to erupt all the time or, as my friend Brett says “come out sideways,” meaning reacting (or overreacting) to lots of situations that have been stacked up.

When you bump up against uncomfortable feelings on the trail you’re blazing, do your best to hang out with them for a while. While you may fear you’ll be faced with a painful replay on a loop, more often than not, you’ll get an “ah-ha” moment that you can put in your pack and carry with you as you pursue your dreams.

While feelings are not facts, they do hold a lot of wisdom that can help us navigate the twists and turns that come our way. When welcomed in, they can be the compass by which we travel, directing us toward authenticity and peace.

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