For the past week or so I have not been feeling good. Everything feels awful. And despite running, swimming, meditating, doing yoga even having a drink with a friend, I can’t seem to shake it off. Life can feel so incredibly heavy sometimes. And what are you supposed to do when it does? I suppose it’s times like this that you are meant to really go into your feelings, and that’s easy to believe when you feel good. But what about when it feels far too overwhelming or confronting and you just frankly want to dig a hole and hide?
It’s hard not to feel like a big old mope. I look at other people who are seemingly functioning, being happy and light and I feel like a different species, one which is about as heavy as a ton of bricks. I judge the heaviness and it feels shameful to me to feel bad. Like there is something inherently wrong with me, with who I am, with my nature, that I can’t just get it together and feel good.
It’s really hard to be seen by anyone when you feel bad. It feels like all your negative parts, all your shameful secrets
and weaknesses are on show. And when I feel like that I get very defensive and sensitive. In my head I tell myself everyone is laughing at me behind my back. Everything people say to me feels super heightened and sensitive. Neutral remarks become intense criticisms and positive support feels like pity. I know the truth is that everyone is really just in their own stuff and not really thinking about or judging me at all but again that is hard to believe when the cr@p feelings are dominating.
I’m a fairly impatient person so I love the idea of quick fixes and short cut solutions and getting over things quickly. But when you don’t feel good, being impatient with yourself and putting pressure on yourself to feel better doesn’t really seem to help. I don’t think there is a quick fix or fool-proof solution. What you need is probably going to be different to what someone else needs and old solutions that worked before may not work again.
Maybe it’s about learning to not judge the negative, heavy feelings so much. To accept them as part of life and not as a personal failing or a flaw in our character. To take the pressure off “getting through” them and instead, when they come up, to listen to them. To come to the feelings with an open heart and try to understand why you might be feeling this way and being open to what you need moment to moment. For me, I’ve noticed that often at the core of my heaviness is fear. And fear is a really vulnerable emotion. Rather than pressure to lighten up or to get over it, fear seems to really require gentleness and patience and tenderness. All of which are near impossible if you are angry or frustrated with yourself.
And so it all seems to come back to having compassion for yourself and learning to forgive and ultimately love yourself. But this shouldn’t sound like a pressure and it also isn’t something you should feel bad about if you find it hard. I think it’s ok to have to learn how to support ourselves, how to nurture and really care for ourselves, especially when we don’t feel good. And become aware of what you need and how your coping mechanisms may need to change.
I notice when I feel awful, I habitually separate myself from everyone around me. I talk less, I remove myself, I try and find more space alone. And for me, most of the time, this doesn’t really seem to help. Because it’s in those moments I really need people more and need to know that I can depend on the people around and I need to know that I can trust that there is love and support for me. But it’s not easy to change this behaviour so I need to start with baby steps. Being aware, noticing what happens and forgiving myself even if I don’t do the right thing.
It’s a process, this self love thing, and it’s ok because we have the time to learn.