Have you ever felt embarrassed about something you’ve said, or something you’ve done?
Probably all of us right?
Have you ever felt ashamed about something you’ve said, or something you’ve done?
We’re probably slower to admit this one, but still probably most of us right?
Now, have you ever felt embarrassed or ashamed about your thoughts or feelings?
This one might be a bit trickier. I have been learning in therapy that every feeling has a function, these feelings serve an innate purpose for our day to day living, they help us exist in society (yes, even the big ugly feelings like shame).
But what about when it comes to our thoughts and feelings? Is it still functional then?
I have always struggled especially this past year with feeling guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed about the things that I feel. I feel bad about feeling bad, I feel ashamed for being sad…again, I feel guilty for feeling grief, and so on. Is this functional? Is there purpose in this?
What we feel is what we feel; there should be no questions asked.
If I feel grief I should be allowing myself to feel grief; if I feel sad I should be allowing myself to feel sad; if I feel hurt I should be allowing myself to feel hurt. What happens is I get wrapped up inside my head and start thinking that other people have sadness worse than mine, other people are in worse conditions than me, other people have greater pain than me, other people are dealing with more stressful things than me, I am sad too often, and I try to push the feelings away.
There is some truth to this; there are people struggling through things that I can’t even imagine. I think there will always be someone sadder, someone who has it worse, someone dealing with more. We cannot let this deter us from whatever our minds and hearts are feeling in that moment.
As a society we are constantly told that we should be happy, content, excited, hopeful, and fulfilled, and anything outside of that is foreign and unheard of. I am here to tell you that is just flat out messed up. If there was no rain there would be no flowers, if there were no cloudy days how could we appreciate the sunny days, the rainbow always comes at the end of the storm – do you see where I’m going with this? We have feelings for a reason and they are innate in every single human being. Let’s not shy away from the scary, ugly, big, emotions that nobody talks about. Let’s embrace them as a part of who we are and feel them, as scary as that might be. What we should be shying away from is the shame, and guilt that so often come with feeling the “negative” things.
When those negative feelings come up in our lives we need to let them run their course, and feel them in their entirety. I am in no way saying this is just as simple as feeling them, they are hard scary big feelings and because of that we should take extra care when they come around. I have three things that I do when I notice the negative things coming my way.
I will usually give myself a day, or a weekend, to just sit and be with the feelings. I stay in sweats, eat all the ice cream, write, cry, sleep. I don’t pretend it’s not there, I let it exist for what it is.
2. DO WHAT I LOVE
After I feel, I do something that my soul loves to do. For me that is a cafe, a pen and a notebook, for some people it’s being by the water, some it’s painting, running – whatever works for you, do that. Do something that you love.
3. BE WITH MY PEOPLE
After I have had some alone time, and feeling time I need people time, so I just make sure I see my people. My family, and my friends, it doesn’t have to be some extravagant extra special outing but just being in the same room as someone you love can make a world of a difference.
So that is my challenge for you this week – try to put the shame and guilt attached to the negative feelings away and let yourself just feel whatever you need to feel.
About Chelsea Moore
My name is Chelsea! I am in my third year of university studying Anthropology and Sociology. I started self harming when I was 15, had my first suicide attempt when I was 16, and that is when I was diagnosed with Depression. Since then my life has been about recovery, and throughout this journey writing has been my safe place. Throughout my journey I've learned that everyone has a story, and hurting together feels a lot better than hurting behind closed doors.I am passionate about bringing awareness to mental illness, and couldn't be more excited about this opportunity to write for Healthy Minds Canada!