The Importance of Authentic Feeling
Sometimes we lose ourselves in ideas, concepts that our brain creates to make reality less painful than it is. We disguise our fears and perceived weaknesses in an attempt to appear as though nothing can bring us down. Nothing can crack the cold, hard, and seemingly invincible exterior in which we’ve coated our real, raw, and vulnerable skin. We seek out the beautiful moments in life while trying desperately to avoid the undesirable. We think that by always putting on that proverbial mask and creating an externally perfect surrounding, that we somehow bypass acknowledging our intrinsic world. We somehow escape the reality that we are just human, and we do feel. We feel everything. This includes inescapable lows that shake our souls and seem to unforgivingly rock our bones from the inside out. Pretending these moments in time don’t exist is just a hindrance to who we are. It’s just denying the complexity that is life and existing as a sentient being.
Common sense says that running away from yourself is impossible. So why do we all choose to do it? Why do we deprive ourselves of the relief we feel when we let go the tears of a broken heart? Why do we hold in the anger that swells so dangerously within tortured veins? Why do we always want to appear… strong?
Perhaps strength simply needs some redefining. Maybe strength is the ability to give yourself permission to be vulnerable, open, and unveiled. To give yourself permission to feel, and I mean, really feel. Feelings, after all, are something that we all possess. We all face a variety of them everyday. Some we like. Some we don’t. But the truth is that sometimes our own judgment about the emotions we have can be unhelpful. The simple act of labeling an emotion as “bad” makes the unavoidable experience of that emotion more distressing to us. It implies that our raw intrinsic world is “wrong” and we shouldn’t be going through whatever it is that we are. It also makes it more likely that we try to mask, numb, or ignore the feeling. In doing this, we only guarantee that this feeling, once only a seed, will grow into a tangled bed of weeds that eventually consumes our being.
So, how do we change this? Paradoxically, the key is actually to nurture the seed. Allow the seed to exist and grow into whatever it is meant to be. Maybe it’s a seed full of unexpected heartbreak… or one painted with an angry red. Maybe it’s the beginnings of anxiety or a seed bursting at the seams with painful memories. Whatever it may be, acknowledging it and encouraging its experience will ensure that it becomes a single flower. Sure, maybe this flower isn’t the prettiest or most desirable… but it’s there, a marker of our experience and a reminder of our strength. It no longer becomes a neglected bed of weeds because we’ve chosen to take care of it, to accept it as existing in our garden of human emotion, even though it wasn’t our ideal seed. This is a powerful choice because it allows us to feel authentically without getting stuck. We are free to feel how we feel and once the flower has blossomed, we are free to move onto nurturing the next seed, whatever it may be. There will be periods of time in our lives where we fill our garden with mediocre flora… but by acknowledging, allowing, and fiercely accepting these, we make sure that there will also be spaces where the most beautifully unexpected flowers grow.
Kaylee Garside, MA, has extensive experience in the areas of mindfulness and acceptance practices, plus many more. For more information on Kaylee and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.