Archives for Healthy Coping - Page 2
So many of us struggle with feeling our feelings. Maybe we were taught to dismiss them, to pretend they don't exist. Maybe we were taught that anger is an emotion to swallow and sadness an emotion to sweep away. They're negative, after all. Maybe we received the message that some feelings are OK ---like happiness and excitement---while others are not. Maybe we received the message that good kids smile and don't rock the boat by having "bad" feelings. That bad feelings equal bad, ungrateful, naughty, unruly, shameful kids.
There's a powerful passage in the new book Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic For a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living where author Shauna Niequist talks about why she's choosing to be present in her life---instead of striving for perfection. She writes:
In our society, restriction is perfection. It is beauty. Restriction is seen as a correct, desirable approach and path. We glorify it. We yearn to adhere to it. We see it everywhere. Restrict the number of calories and carbs you eat. Restrict the amount of dessert. Restrict your portions. Don't even think about having pasta, pizza or ice cream. Don't even think about eating past 7 p.m.
There are days when you almost leap out of bed, ready to welcome the early morning, ready to tackle your to-do list, ready to navigate whatever challenges come your way. You're able to do so much and do it so efficiently: You complete an important project, jot down a few great ideas, tidy up the house, make a meal and get to the tasks you've been avoiding for days. It all seems so, surprisingly, easy. You're simply plugging along.
In the last few weeks I've been exploring the topic of embracing ourselves as we are---and actually letting others see us. The real us. Beautiful and bruised. Shattered and standing. Flawed. Vulnerable. A multitude of contradictions and hues. People with rich, painful pasts. People who've struggled, messed up, loved, lost, abandoned, been abandoned, triumphed, failed. People who've tried on different identities as teens and young adults. People who are still trying to figure ourselves out.
Are you rushing a lot? Hustling to get everything done? Do you feel exhausted and depleted? Regularly? Have you forgotten what it feels like to simply sit and do absolutely nothing? Do you play? Do you even remember how to play? When was the last time you wasted time---and didn't feel an ounce of guilt?
"Being someone we are not is nearly a guarantee for unhappiness," according to Christine Selby, Ph.D, a psychologist in Bangor, Maine. And these words couldn't be more accurate. After all, happiness happens when we create a life based on our values, a life that is meaningful, that includes activities that fulfill us, surrounded by people who truly understand us. Which are all things that we don't exactly do when we wear a mask. Or two. Or three.
Is it easy for you to be kind to yourself? If you're like many people, the answer is a big, clear-cut no. It's not easy at all. Instead you're more used to berating yourself. Instead you're more used to criticizing your every move. To being impatient. To minimizing your struggles. To minimizing yourself.