Just being with it

Often, when I’m experiencing something unpleasant – stress, anxiety, shame, self-doubt, etc. – I try to fix it. I try to shut it out or do or think my way out of it.

This basically never works.

The only thing that has ever really worked is simply being with the unpleasant emotion, to allow it, to console it, to not try to fix it at all.

Often, just by being with it, the unpleasant feeling resolves itself almost immediately, as if by magic. All it needed was to be acknowledged and not pushed away. And sometimes, it lingers on. But even when it lingers, my experience of it changes. By being WITH it, I let go of the illusion that I AM it. I get the distance I need to not get swept away in it.

From that distance, I can relate to it like a parent to an emotional child. I just sit with it and hold it in my arms as long as it needs. I make sure it knows that I love it and will always be there for it. I make peace with the fact that these tantrums are an inevitable and even constructive part of the process.

Eventually, just like an emotional child, it softens and relaxes. It feels how OK I am and realizes it is OK too.

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