“I’ve diverted myself many times by becoming involved in what surrounds my pain or sadness, while never feeling the thing itself. So when someone asks me how I feel, I wind up retelling the circumstance of the pain, but not feeling it. Or strategizing what to do next, but not feeling it. Or anticipating reactions, but not feeling what is mine to feel. Or swimming in the anger of injustice, but not diving through the wound.
Though we fear it, feeling our feelings is the only clear and direct way to free our hearts of pain.” -Mark Nepo
I’ve taken up reading Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening again. Some old time readers will remember that his words were frequently quoted here because no matter the day I can always open it and find solace in his poetic wisdom. Today’s piece resonated with me because this is exactly what I am striving to do in therapy- feel the feelings. I am at the place in my “personal growth” where I can logically assess the WHY of my feelings. Most of the time I can tie them back from some pain from my relationship with my father. Like you need me to tell you that again. Sheesh, even I am sick of hearing about it. But the thing is, I can’t give up on delving into all the old hurts because in the delving I hope to recreate myself to some extent- to find peace, to let go, to just BE easier. And maybe not have to reference my shitty relationship with my dead father all the damn time.
Not that I am angry or anything.
Okay. I am. (Feeling the feelings.)
The part about “anticipating reactions but not feeling what is mine to feel” is so true for me it is painful to read. I have spent my life anticipating other people’s reactions because, hello, it is one of the main job requirements of being the oldest child of an alcoholic. So I basically have the equivalent of a PhD in it.
I do not want to be this way anymore but I do not know how to not be this way. This is why I go to therapy. To learn, then unlearn. Because if knowing is half the battle then I am only half-way there.
So if you need me, I’ll be here. . . feeling my way through.