I have a really bad habit of getting restless when life gets too mundane for my tastes. As soon as things begin to settle or get comfortable and easy, I start looking to shake it up. Redecorate! Move! Change jobs! Go on a diet! Join a gym! “Examine” my marriage (code for “we have to talk” – every man’s worst nightmare). For some reason, I’m not okay when everything is just…okay. I’m impulsive. Emotional. A little unstable. I crave excitement and change. I worry that something is about to go terribly wrong. I feel that if I’m standing still than life will just pass me by. Carpe diem or soon there won’t be any diem to carpe!
Why? What is it that makes me feel this itchy thing? Why can’t I just relax and enjoy my life? Why am I always looking for more?
Oh that’s right…because I have the disease of MORE. Every once in a while that slips my mind.
Anyway, I’m beginning to understand (with a lot of help from the therapist) that feelings are only feelings and they are a part of me like my green eyes or my deviated septum or the fact that sometimes I snort when I laugh (see previously mentioned deviated septum). My feelings, negative or otherwise, are part of what makes me a whole person and I have to learn to honor them and give them value. They just ARE…no more and no less.
This has been one of the most difficult life lessons I’ve ever tried to learn. My natural response to a perceived negative emotion is to DO something about it. I’m feeling <insert emotion here> so I must FIX it immediately. Wine…chocolate…a new pair of shoes…a diet…a tattoo. Anything and everything I can do to escape this feeling and make it go away. Stuff that fucker down. Because I only want to actually feel and experience the good feelings. The less than good feelings need to leave…they are not invited.
It’s like I’m serving tea and the “bad” feelings are made to stay on the porch while the “good” ones are held captive until they begin to rot. I’m having tea with the continually fading good feelings while the bad ones pound on the door to be let in. Once the good ones rot away and the bad ones stop pounding, I get bored so I run around trying to find the good feelings again while bobbing and weaving through the bad ones until I trip and fall and the bad ones engulf me while the good ones scurry away.
Oh yeah? Well how’s THAT workin’ for ya?
Here’s the thing, there is no need to FIX anything because nothing is broken! My feelings are just emotions…no more no less. They only have the power that I give them…no more and no less. I don’t have to react to them or do anything about them no matter how much I am compelled. All I have to do is acknowledge them and maybe talk about them with my therapist or the hubs or a friend.
And then hold the door open when tea is over and it’s time to move forward.
“Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits.” ~Bishop Fulton J. Sheen