How to Feel Bad
People often say to me, “You’re so calm.”
And they’re mostly right.
But they also wrongly conclude that it’s because my life is easy.
I am mostly calm, but it’s not because I don’t have challenging circumstances, just like everyone else.
I experience family drama, unexpected expenses, fatigue, sickness, death of loved ones, etc.
In fact, I’ve experienced all of that recently.
I’m calm because I’ve learned how to allow and feel the anxiety, overwhelm, anger, sadness, and grief that are a normal part of life.
Years ago, when my life felt out of control, when I was in dysfunctional relationships, barely making ends meet, exhausting myself by worrying about and trying to fix everyone and everything, and coping by overeating and overworking, I didn’t know that understanding and feeling emotions was the answer.
I thought emotions were something that happened to me, and my job was to push the painful ones down and resist them at all costs.
I was afraid I could get lost in them, and there was no time for that.
I thought emotions were caused by what other people said or did.
I thought my emotions were caused by not having enough money or time, or love.
I thought my emotions were caused by world events like pandemics and war.
And so, to feel better, I would try to control the uncontrollable, which only lead to frustration, overwhelm, and exhaustion.
And when I realized that I couldn’t control the uncontrollable but still believed it was responsible for my feelings, I would sink into anxiety or depression.
When I believed the outer world was responsible for my inner world, it was a no-win situation.
But I had it backward.
My inner world was always creating my experience of the outer world.
I created my emotions by what I was thinking about all the above.
Now I had something to work with.
Managing emotions should be taught in school.
It’s essential because emotion is what shapes our lives.
Once I figured it out, my entire life changed.
Calm is now my superpower, and it can be your superpower too.
Calm is defined as a peaceful mental or emotional state.
A calm state helps us think more clearly and creatively.
Calm helps us see the good and enjoy life more.
Calm takes us out of survival mode (fight or flight) and helps us thrive.
Calm is not the absence of negative emotion but the ability to allow the emotion with honor, love, and grace.
It was something I had to learn, and you can learn it too.
The first step to calm is to stop resisting and start allowing emotion.
What we resist persists.
We resist feeling by overeating, over-drinking, overworking, oversleeping, and getting lost in social media or Netflix.
Sometimes fighting/bickering with or withdrawing from loved ones will help us temporarily feel more power and less pain.
The negative emotion persists because when it’s never fully processed, we react, and those reactions cause more negative emotion.
Like I said last week, sometimes life is hard, and it’s supposed to be.
Part of life will include negative emotions, and that’s okay.
We can embrace it, get good at experiencing it, letting it go, and moving forward.
Willingness to feel releases the resistance and allows the emotion to flow through you instead of being stuck in it, reacting to it, and compounding it.
If you’re ready to start feeling better, you must learn how to feel bad on purpose.
If done correctly, feeling bad can be highly productive and lead to peace, love, joy.
If you want to learn more, click here for my guide on processing emotions.
When you learn how to remain calm in the midst of your circumstances, you make better decisions, and the sum of those decisions creates your life.