Robert Frost
March 26, 1874 -January 29, 1963

 

I used to plead with my therapist for an easier way to process and heal my past. Feeling the feelings is really hard work, and incredibly painful. I wanted a short-cut, some magic wand to fast-forward me to the finish line.  I Wish.

Turns out Robert Frost had it right all those years ago. The best way out really is through.

If we don’t feel the feelings and process them –at least enough to heal and move forward they will continue to haunt us in hidden and mysterious ways.

I’ve learned and re-learned the frustrating truth that we can know something in our heads, but if don’t know it in our hearts it doesn’t translate to change.

Without a doubt it has to start in our heads. We need to think, consider, and chew the facts a while. But the only way I’ve seen knowledge migrate from the head to the heart is through feeling the feelings. Processing emotions like loss, anger, and truth is draining, even excruciating at times, but it’s eventually very freeing.

The most tangible way I’ve seen my life changed

by “going through” is that I rarely react anymore. What a relief!

My abandonment feelings used to shadow me in the most unexpected ways. I look back now and see how controlled I was by them, but at the time I thought my behavior was merited. It is critical to preserve the notion our behavior is rational, because the only other alternative is to admit something is amiss. Until we are ready to face the unseen influences, we will remain enslaved to them.

An easy example for me to describe is how other people’s tardiness distressed me for many years.  (even having to wait a few minutes would send me spiraling.)  I never realized the impact emotional and physical abandonment as a child had on me in this area. All I knew was when someone was late, I had to leave. It was that simple. I could not wait for them or my anxiety would skyrocket through the roof. If for some reason I was unable to leave, my anxiety turned to volatile anger. I had no idea hidden emotions were behind my intolerance, but I unequivocally, absolutely, could not bear waiting.

Needless to say this affected my relationships in a detrimental way. I had no room for flexibility in this area because the degree of abandonment was so high.

Since I’ve processed the emotions about my younger self being abandoned, I can accept someone being late. I remain calm and don’t have to flee the scene in order to avoid my feelings. I can make a rational choice about what to do while I’m waiting. Stretch my legs, make a phone call, or do nothing at all. This is the freedom of ‘going through’ the emotions.

How about you? How has ‘going through’ changed your life?

 

 

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