Open Topic

What Your Most Suppressed Feelings Are Telling You.

Emotional intelligence is not how infrequently you feel anything “bad” because you’ve developed the discipline and wisdom “not to.” It’s not how easily you choose what you think, how you let it affect you, or how placidly you react to any given situation.

Real emotional maturity is how thoroughly you let yourself feel anything. Everything. Whatever comes. It is simply the knowing that the worst thing that could ever happen… is just a feeling at the end of the day.

That’s it! A feeling. Imagine the very worst, the only thing bad about it is… how you would feel about it. What you would make it out to be, what you’d assume the repercussions mean, and how those would ultimately affect… how you feel. 

A sense of fear, a pinch or throb or sting. A hunger pang or ego kick. The sense of worthlessness, the idea of not belonging. (Interesting how physical feelings are always quick and transient, but the ideas we hold of pain always seem to stick around…)

But we avoid feeling anything because we have more or less been taught that our feelings have lives of their own. That they’ll carry on forever if we give them even a moment of our awareness.

Have you ever felt joy for more than a few minutes? What about anger? No? How about tension, depression and sadness? Those have lasted longer, haven’t they? Weeks and months and years at a time, right?

That’s because those aren’t feelings. They are symptoms. But we’ll get to their causes in a minute. 

What you have to know is that suffering is just the refusal to accept what is. That’s it. Etymologically, it comes from the Latin word to “from below to bear.” Or, to “resist, endure, put under.”

So healing is really just letting yourself feel.

It is unearthing your traumas and embarrassments and losses and allowing yourself the emotions that you could not have in the moment that you were having those experiences. It’s letting yourself filter and process what you had to suppress at the time to keep going, maybe even to survive. 

We all fear that our feelings are too big, especially in the moment we’re actually having them. We were taught not be too loving, we’d get hurt; too smart, we’d get bullied; too fearful, we’d be vulnerable. To be compliant with what other people wanted us to feel. As kids we were punished for crying out if our emotional experience wasn’t in accordance with our parent’s convenience. (No wonder we still respond the way we do.)

The point is, that you aren’t the one who is afraid of feeling too much. It’s the people who called you crazy, dramatic and wrong. The people who don’t know how to handle it, who want you to stay where you are. Those are the people who want you to keep not feeling. Not you. You know how I know?

Because your numbness isn’t feeling nothing, it’s feeling everything, and never having learned to process anything at all. Numbness is not nothing, neutral is nothing. Numbness is everything at once. 

Because your sadness is saying, I am still attached to something being different. Your guilt is saying “I fear I have done bad in someone’s eyes,” and your shame, “I fear I am bad in someone’s eyes.” 

Your anxiety is your resistance to the process, your last grasps at a control you are becoming more and more aware that you do not have. Your tiredness is your resistance to who you really are, the person you actually want to be. Your annoyance is your repressed anger. Your depression, biological factors aside of course, is everything coming to the surface, and you bellowing down to stow it away. 

And your arrival at the conclusion that you cannot go on like this, that you’re missing out, that you’re off track and feeling stuck and lost, is you realizing that you need not change your feelings. You just have to learn to lean into them and see what they are trying to tell you.

Trying to change how you feel is like finding a road sign that points in the opposite direction of where you had intended to go and getting out to try to turn the sign, rather than your course of action.

And what happens when we stow away the emotions that accompany our experiences, never give ourselves time to process, try to force ourselves into feeling any given way at any given time? Is we disregard what will give us the ultimate peace: just allowing, without judgment.

So it’s not about changing how you feel. It’s about listening. Not accepting what they appear to mean – that’s important – but really following your instincts down to what they are trying to signal. They are how you communicate with yourself.

Every feeling is worthwhile. You miss so much by trying to change every one of them away, or thinking there are some that are right, wrong, good or bad or that you should have or shouldn’t, all because you’re afraid that you’ll tell yourself something you don’t want to hear. 

The feelings you most suppress are the most important ways you guide yourself. Your apprehension to listen is not your own desire. It’s fear of being something more or less, greater or worse, or simply different than those around you have implied they will accept.

When you choose to value having other people’s acceptance over your own, you accept a fate of battling your instincts to assimilate to the needs of other people’s egos. In the meantime, a world and lifetime of listening, leaning, allowing, following, perceiving, feeling and experiencing… constantly eludes you.

Sadness will not kill you. Depression won’t either. But fighting it will. Ignoring it will. Trying to escape it rather than confront it will. Denying it will. Suffocating it will. Allowing it no place to go other than your deep subconscious to embed and control you will. Not that you’ll take your life or destroy everything “good” you do receive (though you might).

But it will kill you and it will rob you of every bit of life you do have: you either let yourself feel everything, or numb yourself into feeling nothing. You cannot select emotions. You are either in accord with their flow, or in resistance and attachment to the nature of them. In the end, the choice is yours.

Open Topic

The Art Of Over Thinking.

Overthinking. We all do it – of course we all do it. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is probably one of my more hard-hitting habits. I don’t even realize I do it anymore; it has become that natural. Overthinking causes damage, and I mean the “it’s 3am and I’m overanalyzing every aspect of my life – what I’ve done right – what I’ve done wrong in the span of my 45 years on this earth” kind of damage. And by damage I am referring to the beautiful 2 hours of sleep I am willingly allowing myself to lose at night. That’s the problem with overthinking – your mind is going a mile a minute. If something is causing you that much distress or fixation, then it’s clearly affecting your state of mind – and sleep pattern. Innocuous thoughts or not, something is important enough to you.

My thoughts used to stay scribbled onto the pages of my journals until I started unknowingly overthinking out loud which basically constituted in word vomit – and a lot of it. Maybe that’s what makes overthinking so bittersweet. We overthink things that have caused us hurt or happiness, just to experience it again and again. Half the time we are so off track with our own thoughts that we simply become a beautiful mess of feelings, opinions and in some cases, words left unsaid.

Now lets be real, thinking too much about ANYTHING is stressful. Our thoughts (whether positive or negative) consume us and are constantly on rewind and playback basically dictating whether we are happy or unhappy. “Just stop thinking about it” are words voiced at us. We are constantly thinking without even realizing we are thinking. Our brains are beating us up; maybe they are even essentially out to get us. Ultimately what I’m telling you is that our brains suck.

Joking (kind of). I don’t know about you, but my brain ever so often loves to team up with that other fundamental organ in my body to make my life a living hell. You know that “my brain says one thing while my heart says another” cliché bullshit that apparently to my surprise is actually true? Yeah, that’s what I mean. It’s in those situations when I can actually feel the ache in my chest, knowing that my heart is doing the thinking and my brain is just on standby waiting to be crushingly logical.

Overthinking is a whole other aspect in its own. It’s freakishly weird how much we succumb to it as well. If I go 2 hours without thinking about something in specific that has been on my mind for however long, I’m truly amazed.

More often than not, we distinguish overthinking with heartbreak and every other ‘this is the end of the world’ love sob story. Though I am not saying this isn’t true (as I’ve been this ‘end of the world’ glorifier) I don’t necessarily think overthinking is at all bad for us either. It is how we choose to act on these thoughts that is what affects us the most. If you have the power to think about something let alone overthink it, you also have the power to tell yourself not to. Seems pretty manageable, right?

Maybe overthinking can teach us one of two things. 1. That we are absolutely insane or 2. That we are experiencing something completely normal. Now unless your overthinking has resulted in you becoming an axe murderer, I think it’s safe to classify everyone with the latter. Yes, thinking too much about one thing is frustrating and tiring. I can’t even begin to explain the numerous times I’ve wanted to physically just shut my entire brain off.

However, overthinking has also caused me to come to a lot of good conclusions in my life. Not every overthought was an issue that was never there to begin with. Some things need to be thought-out deeply in order for them to come to the surface and for you to decipher if it’s worth making your mind vacant to anything or anyone else. Whether this is with your education, jobs or relationships – remember that your thoughts are your mediators and also your peacekeepers.

So you may be wondering when I’m ever going to get to the point of ‘why overthinking is an art’. Maybe it’s an art because individually, we are all able to have such vivid and creative imaginations. Or simply just the art of conjuring up problems that were actually never there to begin with. Whatever it is, your thoughts are with you always, and you are the only one that can decide whether you will let them get the best of you or make them the best you. Overthinking is draining, but it is also helpful in determining how much you are going to let your mind control your happiness. Don’t stop overthinking completely – just the things that you know are not worth your time and that take away from those precious hours of sleep, when your head has finally hit the pillow.

Open Topic

I Am Always Over Thinking.

I overthink until my stomach is sick. I overthink until my anxiety acts up.

I can’t charge headfirst into social situations without preparing beforehand. If I have a phone call to make, I am going to rehearse what I should say (or even write down what I should say on a piece of paper) beforehand. If I am going to a new place, I will find a map on Google to avoid walking around mindlessly.

I prepare conversation topics ahead of time. I prepare outfits ahead of time. I prepare as thoroughly as the situation allows, because I don’t trust myself in the moment. I am awkward. I am unsure. I have no idea what I’m doing, which is why I need some time to figure it out beforehand.

Unknown situations scare me, because I never know what to prepare for. I never know what I should expect.

Unless I can predict what is going to happen, I am uncomfortable. I don’t like spontaneous trips and last second plans because then I don’t have the time to think about what the night is going to hold.

I have grown so used to overthinking that it’s hard for me to think on the spot.

Sometimes my overthinking is a blessing, because when I have an interview, an NA meeting, etc. I prepare for hours and look like I actually know what I’m talking about.

Other times, my overthinking is a burden. It convinces me to turn down plans. It tells me that I am going to make a fool of myself and should save myself the embarrassment.

Because of my overthinking, little things like sending a text or answering the phone become big things. Things I am not sure if I can handle.

I have trouble enjoying the moment, even when I should be relaxed, because I am always waiting for something horrible to happen. I am always stuck in my head, worrying about something far in the future.

Open Topic

Loving An Over Thinker.

When you love someone who constantly overthinks, you are loving someone who’s mind plays tricks on them. You are loving someone who can’t help the way they think. Who can’t help how much they think.

Someone who over thinks, is someone who is always going to have questions. They are someone who is always going to be processing one thing at a time, and then constantly be overwhelmed with what if’s and questions marks.

When you love someone who overthinks, you have to be confident in your relationship. And you have to be an over sharer.

You need to be one step ahead of them, never letting their head start to spin with self doubt and self hatred. You need to not just tell them that you are there for them, you need to show up and do it. You need to take action, instead of just putting words into their head.

You need to be compassionate. To understand when they have questions about your past or about last night. To understand when out of nowhere, they are being flooded with fear. To understand when they think everything is terrible, while meanwhile, you think everything is great.

They can’t help how their brain is programmed to process life. They can’t help the thoughts that poke and prod them, until they need to explode. They can’t help it.

You need to show them empathy. Show them that you aren’t going to judge them when they ask you if you love them for the hundredth time in a day. Show them that you aren’t going anywhere when they tell you what they are worried about, or what they are fearful about. You need to show them that you will love them, despite how much they repeat and overthink and over worry.

You need to be able to communicate. To not just reply with one word answers or one sentences text messages. You need to be able to always say how you feel when you feel it, instead of hiding it. Over thinkers will try to find meaning in everything that you say and do, so you might as well always tell the truth, even if it’s hard to do.

You need to be able to talk them out of their frenzies. To be able to calmly tell them, ‘no of course that isn’t going to happen’, or ‘I promise they didn’t think you were weird’ or ‘of course my parents adored you’.

Over thinkers tend to over analyze everything, but also over analyze are the people that they are with. Be prepared to have an answer for everything. And be prepared to sometimes have hard conversations (just like every other relationship in the world).

Above all, you need to be loving. Loving an over-thinker can be a challenge, but isn’t every relationship a challenge? Be yourself and let them know how much you care about them. An over-thinker can sometimes drive you crazy, but they will stay loyal to you for eternity.

And they will love you, no matter how many weird habits you have or how much baggage that you carry. They will love you for not just putting up with them, but for loving them no matter how many times they drive you absolutely nuts.