Tag Archives: help

Feelings are not facts!

We often fall into the trap of sensing that the emotions we are having this very moment are so real that they are facts and they will last forever.  When we are so overwhelmed by our emotions it clouds how we see our life and those around us.  The other side is that we are so sure that our emotions have such super strength that we avoid getting close to them.  Either way I’m here to tell you emotions are not as strong as we give them credit for. They are powerful insight into what is going on within but they are not the end-all-be-all.

First up is that you are tired, worried about something, life events move in a direction that appears negative,  and before you know it you are angry.  You start lashing out at people that you love and the emotions just seem to take over. You can’t seem to find your balance …. you know that what you are doing doesn’t make for good healthy relationships but you can’t help yourself. Or so you think.  Trapped in a spiral of negativity you feel bad, you attack others, and all this creates a bad situation. It grows and before you know it you feel like the world is crumbling down. You feel certain that you can’t handle things and that life will just continue on this way which of course adds to the feeling that you can’t handle what is going on.

Second is the approach that perhaps things are not going bad at all, instead they are going great. Your new relationship is going well and your partner just expressed their love to you.  You can feel the energy in the room shift and your partner looks at you to get a response as to how you feel. You turn cold. You feel yourself pull away on the inside. You don’t want to be afraid of this wonderful person but you have been hurt in the past. That hurt felt terrible and you never want to feel that again. So you turn off the happy connecting feeling so that down the road you don’t have to feel possible hurt. Again the emotions feel so huge that you can’t handle them.

One embraces the emotions as everything and the other ignores the emotions because they feel they are everything. Same coin, different sides. Feelings are a response to stimuli. They are the result of data coming in and being processed. How they are processed can be sound and valid or it can be based on passed issues that trigger a not as sound response.  This is why we look for other things within us (and sometimes outside of us) to help gauge.

Feelings are transitory. Don’t believe me? I am sure you can think back to a super happy wonderful time and then one event turned it all around. I had a birthday party as a child and was thrilled and then it started raining and I felt horrible. I went inside feeling it was ruined and no one would like me.  Stuff happens. One emotions can change into another.

You did not wake up thinking you would be happy every single moment but funny how our minds when we are upset think we will be unhappy for every single moment to come. It is a nasty trick we play on ourselves. So when you are dealing with feelings you don’t like or not dealing with them because you are so afraid of them, you are not in balance. Emotions are reactionary. They are creating your reality as opposed to you being proactive with your thoughts and creating it for yourself.

So when a situation occurs where you feel overwhelmed by emotion or want to escape them, try to remember that you are in control of your thoughts. You have the ability to consider HOW you are viewing your emotions.  How you view the day as negative or positive helps balance what emotions you respond with.  So if you are having a really bad day you will probably respond more negatively. You know this and take it into consideration and check yourself and your responses. If you are unsure if you are making choices that you would make in a more calm state of mind then take a moment, a day, a year, and really look at the situation. Evaluate what is going on and what others might do that you respect and see if you feel you are on track.

And if you are afraid to feel hurt or sadness or negativity and you run from it by not experiencing those emotions. They have a hold on you just as strongly. Emotions are not reality and if you allows yourself to feel sad you will not feel sad forever. It is hard and scary to deal with but even your levels of sadness rise and fall so you have proof that it isn’t all the same. And at the end of the day they are just feelings… they pass and move and change and you can handle that. If you try feeling your feelings (such a therapy phrase) and you get scared that is okay. Take it as an opportunity to learn a fuller spectrum of emotions with the knowledge that they shift and you are in control of the thoughts you have around your emotions.

Feelings are not facts. Feelings are not facts. Feelings are NOT facts.
Say it over and over again until you have a handle on how to deal with your emotions.


How to cope with pain

We have all done it. Paper cuts. The thin slice makes you want to scream and for a day or two all you can do is keep feeling your fingertip bump into just about everything. You realize how directly you use your fingers and sort of wonder how you ever made it through life before the paper cut. This example is small but it is real.

Pain of the physical (and emotional for that matter) is real. It can be a long drawn out illness or a short burst of a sickness. Either way being in pain is hard. You physically ache and you feel overwhelmed by everything around you. The world seems harder to bare and you just want to stay under the covers.

Pain isn’t a solitary issue… it creeps in to our relationships. For those of us that live with, care for you, or want to avoid you during pain … your wellness level matters.  It is hard enough being sick or in pain without having to worry about everyone feelings but we are intricately connected and what we feel is shared with us even if we do not voice our discomfort directly.

So what happens when your pain threshold is reached by you and those around you? Well the truth is that you do your best to take care of yourself and ask for help when you need it. Sounds simple enough but these two things are hard for us. Sometimes we do not want to be sick or in pain and want to avoid the very idea of caring for ourselves. Of course we know this isn’t healthy and would never recommend it for another but for ourselves we try to “push on through”. The second can be even harder for some because you are showing your vulnerability. There is a risk in asking for help because it is very possible that the person will not want to help. Then you feel in pain and alone. We often will do whatever we can to avoid the idea of slowing down for health reasons and/or asking for another’s support.

And while the above reasons, and many others, are valid in nature they do not provide us with the core answer to the issue. When we are sick or in pain we need to rest, slow down, and take the necessary steps to recover. This just the truth of the matter and very little happens if we try to avoid it. Also, there are some pains that we simply can not tackle alone. Being in pain feels huge and so taking on the task of healing can appear even more overwhelming. True, you might ask for help and not receive it but at that point you have lost nothing. And even if the person you are asking doesn’t want/or can’t help they most likely will have an idea of someone that can help.

The thing about human nature is … we rarely want to see another suffer. There is something deep within each of us, even the most harshly selfish, that makes us want to help another in pain. This makes sense considering that we want to keep the species alive. Beyond the most basic levels of our nature we also want to be there because others have been there in our time of need. It is a cycle of giving back that makes sure that we move forward.

I’m not suggesting that pain is not isolating. It is. Pain can make you tired, upset, and fearful. It can push those away that you love most in your frustration in the healing process. However, if there is one thing I would suggest to those of you in pain currently, it would be to think about how grateful you will be when you are on the mend or in full recovery. Just like with the paper cut … you realize that you were taking your body for granted and now you have an opportunity to rejoice in being healthy.

This may all sound rather trite, but I assure you that when you take the time to reflect back on being healthy, strong, and without pain you will find yourself smiling. Not paying attention to not being sick is how we usually exist. It doesn’t make sense to focus solely on how we are without pain, yet when we have experienced pain we then find even more space and appreciation for the lack of it.

It boils down to this… take care of yourself and slow down when you are in pain, ask for the support of others, and look forward towards a time when you are healthier.

How to stop being angry

There are a lot of books, articles, and ideas about how to deal with anger.  Many of these approaches work for those that have been physically abused in various forms. But what about if you grew up in a relatively normal way? What happens when you find yourself furious at every turn for what feels like almost no reason at all?

Many well tell you to breathe through the anger… this works. Others will tell you to consider the consequences… this works too. But what if part of your anger is that you never let yourself be angry at the right place, right moment, or right person?

Justifiable anger is a hard load to carry. You have valid reasons to be upset but not enough to really feel okay about what you are doing. You want to change the fact that you snap at the kids too quickly, jump down a co-workers throat, or scream at the car in front of you… but you just don’t know how.

So how do you stop being angry? Well, for many one of the first steps is to look at where the anger starts. Anger is a secondary emotion … it is easier to express then fear for most people. Also most of the anger came at a time in their life (i.e. childhood) where taking on the person that did an unjustice to you was not possible. This seed of frustration builds into a rage that is never fully expressed.

It seems out of sorts to say “My dad ignored me and I never dealt with it so now I lash out at what feels like random events.” but the truth is that unexpressed anger has had a lot of time to fester. If you were not able to express the pain or hurt from years ago it makes perfect sense that now as an adult you would feel empowered to respond to situations with more strength.

But when you realize that you have not directly allowed yourself to address the situation, then the unconscious will process it for you. Everything feels like a slight when you have an unresolved wound. You want to protect yourself from harms way so you put up denfenses of anger as a sheild. Your emotions don’t match the context of the situation but you have no other way to deal with it.

So once you find the root of what the pain is and you deal with it (through therapy, screaming, yelling, talking to the person, crying, reading books, or a host of other things) things find their way into perspective again. You don’t have to lash out at the world around you for safety sake instead you get to express your feeling in an adult way and set boundaries so that you can move forward freely.