Most people like to feel good. Most people also like to avoid feeling not good. So it seems pretty straight forward that one of our main goals in life is to pursue feeling good while avoiding feeling not good. There’s just one small hitch… When it comes to feeling good or not good, you can’t have one without the other.
Imagine you had a dial over your heart that controls your level of emotional capacity. It doesn’t change what you feel, only how much emotion you feel. You have the freedom to set that dial to any level you want, from totally unfeeling to emotional overflow. Here’s the catch: Whatever level you set, you have to be willing to experience anything that comes with it, whether you like the feeling or not. This is especially true in romance.
You cannot selectively numb emotions. You don’t get to choose to only feel the pleasant ones and not feel the unpleasant ones. To reach the height of ecstasy and joy and true love, you must be willing to feel the depths of despair, loneliness, and sorrow. Emotions vary not by how good they make us feel, but by how intense they are. That doesn’t mean that you will always be oscillating between feeling really good and really not good. Absolutely not. You can feel great consistently and for long periods of time, but only if you’re willing to experience the unpleasant emotions whenever they arise.
Learning to turn the dial up to feel more and more can be a process that takes time. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Find a trained professional to help you process those feelings, especially if you feel overwhelmed by it all. Feelings are not right or wrong, but they must be experienced if you want a fulfilling life.
The longer you delay feeling something unpleasant the longer it will be before you begin to feel good again.
And most of us, when we don’t want to feel something unpleasant, find ways to cope with or numb those feelings we don’t want to experience. Almost all of us numb ourselves in some way. It’s not bad, it’s not wrong, it’s just a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of life. Who hasn’t turned to a piece of truly delicious piece of chocolate, or a glass of wine, when life is particularly stressful?
So if you’re unhappy with your current circumstances, it could be that there’s something that you’re not fully addressing inside. Some feeling that you’ve been avoiding, or suppressing, or denying. Whatever it is, that is what’s preventing you from having the fullness, joy, and happiness you desire. So, what’s holding you back? How are you numbing yourself? Using food, or alcohol, or sex, or media (TV, media, internet), or work (staying too busy to feel)? When you identify your method, you can begin to turn that numb dial back a bit, and spend more time getting in touch with what’s really getting in your way to feeling happy again.