In my post on Day 16, I briefly mentioned the phenomenon about staying plugged in all the time. Today I’m going to explain in more detail what I mean by that.
We’re Not Raised to Feel
I’m a huge fan of Big Bang Theory. If Sheldon Cooper had his way, none of us would ever feel again. We would simply exist in science and logic. I can think of several disadvantages to this way of living:
- First….BORING! Not because I find science boring. Some of it is quite fascinating; however with a planet full of Sheldons, Leonards, Rajeshes and Howards we would cease to be diverse and therefore cease to be interesting.
- Innovation comes through creativity and imagination which can’t be quantified by science. Remember, logic originates from the left brain hemisphere and creativity from the right.
- When we choose not to feel, we feel nothing. Sure we no longer feel embarrassed or bullied (if we grew up as a science nerd like Sheldon) but we also can’t feel joy, happiness, compassion or love….in their truest forms.
What is a True Form of Emotion?
It’s easier to explain this using a very common, very accessible “negative” emotion.
When something negative happens, our go-to emotion is to get angry. Rant and rave. Pitch a fit. Have a temper tantrum. That’s why toddlers throw hissy-fits because their brains haven’t developed more complex emotional functioning yet.
As we grow older, we hopefully learn that anger is simply the masking emotion. When we dig deeper, the root cause is usually something else–hurt, disappointment, jealously, frustration, overwhelm, tiredness.
If you have teen-agers, you know what I’m talking about. They’re angry and sullen all the time. Try to get them to open up and they slam the door in your face or say, “I’m fine. Whatever.”
In the emotional maturation process, there is a ton going on at this stage.
Flip the Coin
So what about the “positive” emotions?
When we’re feeling sad or depressed, a natural inclination is to want to feel better. We do this by reaching for quick fixes–a few glasses of wine, someone to flirt with, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
This is not a true form of being happy.
It’s something to kick-start the serotonin in your brain to make you “feel better” for a short amount of time. But guess what happens when the serotonin runs out? You go back to feeling like shit.
True positive emotions–just like the negative ones–are generated on the inside. Reaching out (for wine, a guy or ice cream) moves you further away from what is truly going to make you happy and content. No matter what those commercials say otherwise.
Stop Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad
When you are in a life transition, or find yourself just not in a good place, you can’t run from those “negative” feelings and you certainly can’t hide from them.
Being plugged in (thought I’d forgotten that, didn’t you?) keeps you distracted, busy. TV, computers, texting, social media, errands, honey-dos. All designed to keep you numb and tuned out.
Numb and tuned out doesn’t get you Un-Hooked.
By ignoring the hurts, aches, frustrations and pains on the inside, the hooks dig deeper into your soul until one day they’re creating physical hurts, aches and pains on the outside.
Yes it sucks to feel heartbroken.
However, the longer you deny your heartbreak, or ignore it, or gloss over it with more dating, the longer it will stay with you. And possibly trip you up in the future.
Getting Tuned Back In
Be brave and step into the true form of your “negative” emotions so you can experience the true form of your positive ones.
- Mind-body work is ideal for tuning in to your emotions. Yoga, reiki, tai chi, meditation, massage, EFT Tapping are excellent places to start.
- Buy a journal and get to writing. As different emotions pop up, grab a pen and your journal (a dollar store notebook will do) and let it all pour out.
- Cry, cry, cry. Don’t worry about your puffy eyes and runny nose. Just get it all out. Crying cleanses us emotionally. Need some help? The following movies are guaranteed tear-jerkers for me, no matter how many times I’ve seen them: The Color Purple, It’s a Wonderful Life, Pay It Forward.
Here’s to Tuning In!
P.S. What movies make you cry–guaranteed, no matter how many times you’ve seen them?
P.S.S. Here’s the link to the CK Louis video again.
P.S.S.S. Want to get a signed copy of my new book, Un-Hooked? Get it here.