“I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.”
― Joanne Harris, Five Quarters of the Orange
This quote reminds me of an article I read yesterday, “Your Feelings Matter” by Mike Robins. I have pasted part of it below. The rest can be found here. In order to let something go that is no longer healthy, making you happy and that exhausts you, you have to honor your own feelings. I was just faced with this in my own life this past week. It’s not easy to hand over control to the “river,” but there are times it is necessary. Mike Robins shares how to honor your feelings below. By following these 5 steps, I was able to ‘let it go’ and go with the natural current of my heart and my soul. Ironically, it’s bringing me home today!
“Here are a few things you can do to enhance your capacity to honor your own feelings:
1. Be Real About How You Truly Feel — The first step of any process is always about being real, first and foremost with ourselves. Even if we feel unclear or uncomfortable with a specific situation or certain set of emotions or desires, the more willing we are to be real about what we truly feel and want, the more ability we’ll have to honor ourselves and be authentic with others. Making it a practice of getting in touch with our true feelings is essential. A great way to do this is through journaling. It’s not about justifying how we feel to anyone else, it’s about being honest with ourselves.
2. Stop Judging Yourself — One of the biggest things that can get in our way in life, in general and specifically when it comes to feeling our feelings and expressing our desires, is self-judgment. We think to ourselves, “I shouldn’t feel this way,” or “If I share this, they will think I’m a terrible person.” We use these self-critical thoughts to suppress our true feelings, which can have significantly negative consequences on us and others. What if we just allowed ourselves to be real and to honor what’s true for us in the moment, without judging it?
3. Give Yourself Permission to Feel — Because of our self-judgment, we sometimes don’t give ourselves permission to feel… especially certain emotions. As human beings we tend to have a hierarchy of emotions — liking the “good” ones (love, joy, gratitude, peace, etc.) and not liking the “bad” ones (anger, fear, hurt, powerlessness, etc.). However, at the deepest level, all human emotions have value and can benefit us if we’re willing to feel them in an authentic and healthy way. Giving ourselves permission to feel what we’re feeling is critical to our ability to honor and move through our emotions in a way that serves us, our relationships, and our life.
4. Let Go of Your “Story” — Many of us, myself included, are attached to our “story.” We love all of the drama and all of the details that make up the relationships, situations, and circumstances in our lives (both past and present). While our life story, as well as the details of specific relationships and circumstances in our lives, is important at some level, too often we get caught in the story and all the drama, which actually takes us out of our emotional experience. Where we have real power is in feeling our feelings, not talking about them, rationalizing them, or explaining them — but in simply feeling them. Human emotions are not sustainable — especially if they are authentically felt. It only takes about a minute or two to genuinely feel and move through an emotion. However, when we attach an emotion to a story, we don’t allow ourselves to truly feel it and thus can keep it stuck in place.
5. Get Emotional Support — As important as our emotions are to our lives, our wellbeing, and our relationships, sadly we don’t get a lot of emotional training in life (through school, at work, and in general), and we don’t often have built-in, healthy emotional support mechanisms in our daily lives. We live in a world that is primarily focused on action, results, and appearances — none of which has anything to do with our emotional experience (even though our emotional experience is not only one of the most important aspects of our lives, but is what drives much of what we do and produce in life). There are, however, many ways we can find or enhance our emotional support. Most of us have certain emotional support structures in our lives that we’ve set up for ourselves, consciously or unconsciously. The key is for us to utilize these in a consistent and authentic way, as well as to make sure they are empowering us to honor ourselves and our emotional experiences in life.”