Have you had thoughts that you are not good enough?
Do you think there must be something wrong with you?
That you need to learn more or acquire something prior to finding happiness, love or success?
Do you feel isolated and alone even if you are with people?
Does it feel like no one truly hears you or sees who you really are?
Do you worry your life is passing by and you are going to miss out on what was meant to be?
Add your own thoughts to the list.
We can know the perfection of our essence and still feel hounded by unwanted thoughts and feelings. The solution lies not in getting rid of our feelings and thoughts but coming to peace with them, and at times even finding joy in the depth of them in the present moment. Joy comes from feeling deeply and being accepted and embraced with our feelings, not without them. If you have ever had a real cry and been held and loved in the process you know what I mean.
Why we feel what we do
We come into the world from a place where we are surrounded and protect, loved and connected. Born into pain and a physical world where we are physically separate from everyone and everything. We are a baby just holding out our arms wanting to be picked up and held. In a skin suit that holds a mysterious biology that gets our attention through physical pain. Our survival depends on others we have no control over. We are at the mercy of adults that can physically harm us or simply ignore us as easily as meet our needs. The world is a dangerous place. We are very fortunate if we are born to parents that respond appropriately to our needs. Nothing can equal the love and connection we are born out of. Even with “good” parents we are left feeling something is missing or not enough and it must be our fault, or someone else’s.
Our life experiences add to what we are born with. People we care for don’t care for us. We don’t get into the college of our choice or get the job we really wanted. We are told we are not good enough in many ways. Clearly others are far ahead of us, better at what we want to undertake than we are.
On top of our own reasons to have all these unpleasant thoughts and feelings we inherit the feelings of our ancestors. They are in our very genes. Our ancestors lived in a far more dangerous world where survival was far less certain. Go back far enough and only the people on high alert for danger survived. Those that were smelling the roses were killed and eaten and their DNA was not passed on.
Hiding our feelings
No wonder we have deep seated anxiety, fear, depression and anger, it is the natural human response to being born human and separate. Unfortunately it seems no one wants to hear about it. We need to hide our feelings in the hopes that we will be loved if we are strong and independent, shiny, bright and attractive. Being sad, anxious or angry is not going to win the love we need to thrive and yet most of us have all those undesirable feelings. So we bury the feelings, we hide them, because being loved is more important. Sometimes we are successful at hiding them from ourselves. We wonder why no one “gets us”. When we do experience joy, or love, because that is also part of who we are, it is shallow and temporary.
The walls we build around the feelings of anxiety, sadness and anger are built around all our feelings. It is an all or nothing proposition. You can have joy but you have to agree to all your feelings to have it. You can feel loved but you have to dare to drop the wall you have hidden behind. You can be seen and heard but it is scary to expose yourself, to be vulnerable to the possibility you will be rejected. It is a possibility. The one who’s love you seek may be unable to accept their feelings. When you show yours, their feelings will be ignited, if they can not bear their own feelings, they could turn away. It is risky to be all of who you are.
All feelings happen in the present moment. You can remember a feeling you had but that is not the same as having it. Memories can open the door to feelings but the feelings, when they happen, are present. Fear is a present moment experience about something that might happen in the future, that imagined future is not real but the fear in the present is real. If you have had trauma in your life or if you were neglected or unloved you carry the resulting feelings into the present. If you have built effective defences you may not notice the feelings but simply have the thoughts that began this article.
Feelings and thoughts feed on one another. Thoughts result in feelings that are real, but the thoughts are not necessarily true. Together we can examine the thoughts and divest them of their power with our awareness. We can feel the feelings that make us human.
It is not our feelings that are painful but our resistance to them. We resist them because we fear a tsunami of held back feelings that may result if we begin to feel. We are afraid the flood will wash away the love that we long for. For some of us the walls around our feelings are so well built we no longer have access to them. We need stillness and a safe place to find them.
We need each other to make this work. I can provide the safe place and the willingness and desire to feel and be real in the present moment. We can be whole together.