There’s an opportunity at hand. I believe it’s always been there but now it’s being uncovered whether we like it or not. In short, we’re running out of distractions and ways to “keep busy” and for many, we’re starting to feel our hurt feelings; our buried emotional pains.
It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s painful. It hurts. Yet, it needs to happen or we’ll continue to suffer, usually unknowingly.
I’m really not a fan of pain and don’t subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” attitude. However, I know that in order to grow some stress is needed. Wolff’s Law states the body responds to the stresses applied to it. With no stress, we atrophy. With too much, we break.
To gain muscle, one creates micro-tears by lifting weights so it can repair in a way that is stronger than before. You certainly do not want to stress your body to the point of rhabdomyolysis which can be lethal. (I know a guy who almost died of this and it’s freaky!)
Thankfully, the stress many of us are experiencing today is not physical but rather emotional and while it hurts, it probably won’t kill you. Still, dying of a “broken heart” is possible like when Debbie Reynolds passed the day after she lost her daughter Carrie Fisher. If death is possible from extreme emotions, imagine what happens inside of us for any emotional pain even 1% less.
Without our typical distractions, our feelings are less “covered up” and they’re coming to the surface. A few of the symptoms you may experience as a way to manage those painful feelings are depression, anxiety, binge eating, binging TV, low motivation, angry outbursts, accepting every Zoom invite, etc.
Rest assured, you’re not crazy or weak, you’re just human like the rest of us. It’s not about your mental fortitude or physical prowess. It’s certainly not about your gender, age, ethnicity or religion. It’s about your humanity, your emotions, ALL of them, are critical to your well-being.
It sucks to feel your painful emotions but if you can allow yourself the experience then they will eventually pass on. It takes time and may need to be revisited regularly.
Let’s be realistic, have you ever heard of a bodybuilder, athlete, scientist or musician achieve an expert level in an hour, day, or week? No, they stay in the uncomfortable but growth zone for the duration!
Hopefully, along the way, you’ll have successes like a big “release” such as crying or joy and then a comforting calm. Perhaps you’ll begin to notice small things in your life “going your way”.
What’s really helpful when dealing with “the emotions of life” is having a support system. When weight lifting we use a spotter. In climbing, a belayer. If your support system is causing the emotional pain then it may be time to address that directly. Support systems are supposed to help and not hurt. Period.
A key element of emotional support is the ability to connect on a deeper, authentic level. This doesn’t mean you have to share your deep, dark secrets and be totally vulnerable and exposed.
True emotional support means you can share whatever you need without shame, judgement, or rejection. Imagine that!
You can share little tidbits or profound perspectives and it needs to be reciprocated. Both people need to share similarly in order for a real connection to occur. Perhaps this is why today’s social media struggles because it’s predominantly a one-way share. And a “like” certainly won’t match the depth of a heartfelt post although a little acknowledgment, just being seen, is nice.
We are in a period where we can slow down, have fewer distractions and the life-space to feel our feelings. We also have an opportunity to connect more authentically with the people who matter most to us. This is the opportunity at hand. Even if we’re struggling with our physical needs, emotional support, simply listening, still makes a big difference. The more we nurture those real connections the less emotional pain we’ll have going forward. The less pain, the less need for ways to distract ourselves or “keep busy”.
There are many tools to communicate and connect but be careful and note how you FEEL after using each one. If you feel happy, energized, joyful, and optimistic afterward then keep it up!
If you feel sad, lonely, drained, misunderstood, and pessimistic then it’s time to change.
If you’re looking for a different way to connect, one that’s been shown to strengthen relationships, check out the free Uchi app. By simply answering questions and being heard by only those people you cherish you’ll be nurturing your connections in just minutes a day.
Social media, group texts, phone, and video calls can be overwhelming, time-consuming, energy-draining, and unfulfilling. I’ve felt that way too often so I’m even more selective now.
We have a unique opportunity to slow down, get in touch with our emotions, prioritize what really matters to us and more often than not it’s the people in our inner circle(s).
I encourage you to take any opportunity to connect deeply, make it real and authentic, be curious about yourself and those you love and your life will be richer than ever before.
Creating your own supportive environment is critical! The limitations introduced by this COVID-time lead to decisions that shape emotional well-being. Some we may have started already (for example: I’m grateful that I gave up television years ago!), others . . . beckon!
Thanks for your reflection, Kevin. Your thought-provoking words spur action on connecting and adjusting to find ways that fit you.
Thank you for adding to the conversation Cynthia. Without it, I’m really not sure how we humans can connect on the deeper level we desperately need.
What kinds of action are you considering to enhance your connection? What helps make it truly take hold?
With you all the way, my friend. They key is – as always – “What’s really helpful when dealing with “the emotions of life” is having a support system.” We know we’ve achieved that system when we look in the mirror and see the smiling faces of others.
So true my friend. Isn’t it incredible how we shine and what we can accomplish when we feel that love, support and knowing that someone truly believes in us. It’s life changing and a change we seek and embrace rather than fear and run away from.
Isn’t the word opportunity wonderful? The opportunity to listen deeply to ourselves and really sense into where we want to spend our time, to practice self care so that when we do show up, we show up present which is the best gift we can give to another.
Beautiful Shelley! I love where you went with this. 😀🙏😀🙏
Thank you, Kevin, for highlighting the importance of emotional release of unresolved past hurts because we now know from ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) that unresolved developmental traumas often lead to physical body illness in adulthood. Crying, yelling into pillows, shaking, dancing, screaming into the air (not at people), ripping up recycling-can all be safe ways to powerfully release emotional content.(and having another person hold non-judgmental space for us can be transformational). We may not have been given tools of “safe release” when we were growing up. Connecting to one another from the heart can be the bravest work we do in our life times-and importantly, connecting deeply to our own internal quiet souls remains foundational.
Truly brilliant Laura! We all need constructive ways to emotionally release. And regarding ACEs, we need to also be aware that an ACE doesn’t have to be some BIG event. It can actually be a small event that’s repeated or just that has a profound impact on a child such as being criticized or shamed on a daily basis. Even being ignored by a parent when you want to show them something can be traumatic to a child and can have the same, lifetime, detrimental effects.
Good stuff, Kevin. I find that I’m oscillating back and forth from wanting to connect (all the Zoom calls) to wanting to sit quietly with myself. I appreciate this invitation to listen to myself.
Thanks Kimberly! Perhaps that’s your balance. Keep on listening to your feelings and go with it! Whatever FEELS right probably IS right.