Stay with uncomfortable feelings and they’ll go away sooner
You’re continuously surrounded by stimuli and so you might find yourself going along and distracting yourself from how you feel, from how you actually are. Some of these distractions are more socially acceptable than others, for example overworking or extensive use of social media are far more acceptable in this society than substance abuse. The nature of the underlying dynamic is similar if not quite the same. Ultimately, it’s never about the thing you choose as the distraction but the need to escape. And, of course, you do need to escape every now and then, but doing just that for the sake of it feels as if something needs to be challenged.
What becomes difficult is that even though your attention is occupied by, for example, reading a social media thread and ignoring your partner next to you, you don’t stop feeling. What needs to be said is that this dynamic doesn’t discriminate either so feelings that are part of living, be it loneliness, anger, anxiety, fear, boredom or even joy get pushed down. Your ability to experience and express feelings weakens and so what connects you to others as a feeling being fades.
Looking at this phenomenon from a compassionate stance is crucially important. First, notice that we all do this. Let this bind us for the time being until we figure out how to find our feeling space again, until we learn how to be with whatever is going on for us, instead of chasing the illusion that distraction will lead to moving on.
Working on myself and supporting clients, it has become clear that the more I attempt to experience fully whatever I’m feeling, the sooner it’ll go away. Something shifts on a feeling level and when I manage to gather enough courage to meet it, be it disappointment or rejection, face to face there’s a sense of relief, a sense of completion that then carries me forward.
Learning to be with the pains of living and finding your feeling space is no easy task and we need to empathically support one another to do that. Paradoxically though, staying with whatever you’re experiencing has the most potent ability to transform your relationships with others and restore a sense of connection to yourself. Distractions around you will not lessen, so learning the skills and resilience to stay with your experience is needed more than ever before, so is a dose of kindness to the part of you that yearns to escape.
Counselling can give you the space to do just that, to strengthen your resilience and skills to stay with whatever is going on for you as long as you need to, so you can have a sense of completion, build relationships that feel more alive and reconnect with yourself.