Week 11, Day 32: Fire Starter

Tip #32:

Let the fire burn and give your feelings their due.

Any flaws that existed in your relationships, your parenting, your self-care, your work ethic, or your diet (just to name a few) are likely full-blown problems at this point. Quarantine has been acting like an accelerator for these types of issues for individuals and families alike. I am seeing this in my caseload as much as I'm feeling it within and around me.

When we feel fragile, our defaults assert themselves. If we are prone to a quick temper, chances are we having more difficulty holding our tongues. If we struggle with change or transition, chances are we are feeling stuck, irritable, or overwhelmed. If we are sensitive, our emotions feel as though they're in hyperdrive.

I cannot stress enough the need for self-compassion in these times. Whatever combination of emotions you are feeling, let yourself feel them so that you can move through them. Name what it is: fear, anger, sadness, or grief and then let the emotion wash over you like the wave that it is. Just as you can't hold back the ocean, that wave of feeling can't be stopped either. Stuffing it down or shoving it aside doesn't extinguish it so much as displaces it. The feeling wave will manifest somewhere else like our sleep, appetite, patience or focus. Self-compassion allows us to feel all the feelings without judgment or hierarchy. It doesn't criticize us for not handling all these challenges seamlessly, it loves us for experiencing it all as a human not as a robot.

Self-compassion is not permission to be unkind or unjust because of what we're feeling. Instead, it acknowledges that we're not going to get everything just right. Self-compassion gives us a chance to see that our mistakes are opportunities to experience our fullest selves. And in doing see we gain insight into what we might be needing to feel better or more empowered. The pause enabled by feeling our feelings, grants us the opportunity to course correct whereas plunging ahead and "skipping" the feeling bypasses this growth opportunity.

Let the fire burn. Face it. Name it. Give those feelings their due. And in the burning, you may find the power to heal.

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