“The key to healing is the radical acceptance of all our emotions.”
It can be hard to sit with our negative emotions, and to simply say in a non-judgmental voice:
“This is exactly how I feel.”
Adopting that approach is often very difficult, and especially for those who’ve been deeply traumatized.
But, really, we don’t have to do anything at all.
We needn’t act upon them. We needn’t bury them.
We needn’t exorcise them, or make them disappear.
And we don’t have to change them into positive emotions.
Instead, the best thing we can do is to become curious, and to sit with our emotions, and observe what’s happening in us.
And as we do this, we’ll find that they usually pass through us, that they slowly dissipate, and they start to fade way …
Then we return to a place of equilibrium again.
What Does This Teach Us About Handling Tough Emotions?
This means we don’t have to squash them.
And we don’t have to numb them.
And we don’t have to reject them
Or to feel ashamed of them.
In fact, the worst thing we can do is to harshly sit in judgment, and to experience contempt towards these painful, raw emotions.
What Else Does This Tell Us?
It means there’s no place in our life for self-rejecting comments like:
“What on earth is wrong with you?”
Or: “You shouldn’t have these feelings.”
Or: “Why can’t you just be normal.”
Or: “You must put this behind you.”
Or:“You’re acting like you’re crazy.”
Or: “You really must move on.”
The Role of Self-Kindness
Self kindness is a mindset that allows us to “just be”.
There are no “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. It’s devoid of harsh demands.
And it frees us from despair – for now there are no measuring sticks. All feelings are accepted, and acceptable, to us.
And, ironically, this mindset will help to set us free.
For self-kindness is the ointment that heals, eventually.
Something to Remember
“Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through.” – Kristin Neff