At first, it can seem like your world’s been turned upside-down. Everyone and everything annoys you. At the same same time, you’re trying to reassure yourself there’s nothing really wrong and why can’t you be nicer?
Or maybe you’re trying very hard to get yourself out of the funk you’re in by being grateful for what you have, only it’s not working. The heaviness still weighs in your chest like sandbags.
You torture yourself with the question, “What am I doing wrong?”
The answer is nothing. You’re not doing anything wrong. In fact, it’s most likely very right.
What’s happening is life is squeezing you a bit to clear the blockage around your heart, or unprocessed feelings. And at the root of many of those is grief.
When those you come in contact with can’t seem to do or say anything right, when every little thing causes an overreaction from you, when no matter how hard you try to buoy yourself with positivity you keep sinking down instead, you know you’ve butted up against some emotion trying to make its way out, only we aren’t allowing it.
What we normally do is beat ourselves up over our feelings, tell ourselves to get over it, or push the discomfort away through some form of escape. But there is no escape. Until you’ve accepted the emotion that’s coming up, you will continue to feel “crazy”. When we shut off our hearts, our minds overanalyze to compensate all the energy we’re pushing down.
When difficult emotions arise, it is not a punishment for something we did or didn’t do. It’s Life trying to free us from suffering.
What causes suffering is nonacceptance of whatever is happening and our feelings about it. Instead, we judge ourselves, defend our position, or push away the emotions entirely and “forget about it”. But we never just say, “Ok. This is what’s happening in my body and my life right now,” and choose to give loving kindness toward ourselves in spite of it all.
And yet, a little love goes a long way.
When you’re feeling crazed, anxious, or heavy try these steps to get back to wholeness and connection to your heart.
- Notice when unexplained anxiety arises. It’s most likely a precursor to an emotion or realization making its way to the surface. You may feel a desperate need for safety and control. Just notice when it comes and allow yourself to do whatever makes you feel safe, as long as you are not harming yourself or others. It also helps to do something practical that requires your left, logical brain – like grocery shopping, paying bills, organizing a closet, or making that phone call to the internet company you’ve been meaning to get to. This can pull you out of the “trigger” and back into real time.
- Set aside time to just be with your emotions in a safe and nurturing space. Sometimes it helps to watch a movie that reflects what you are feeling, or read a story about others that are going through something similar. After my divorce, I watched Under the Tuscan Sun many times to help me tap into the grief hovering beneath the surface. All of this can help get us in touch with the emotion when it’s difficult to do so.
- When you do feel the feeling, visualize someone you know who loves you, living or dead, human or not, holding your hand and staring into your eyes with waves of gentleness and compassion. Notice what that kind of loving attention does to you.
- Allow whatever arises to be there, even if it’s uncomfortable. If words come to mind, say them aloud. Do not censure yourself. No matter what, this energy will eventually change. The body lets you feel only what and how much you are ready to feel. It’s not up to you. Make friends with it.
- If and when sadness builds to the point of crying, let yourself cry as much and as long as needed. Feel the pain completely. Don’t push it away or stop it. You are in the process of being healed. The mind may want to set a time limit on how long sadness should last, or berate the fact you’ve “already dealt with this”. But the body has its own time frame. It knows what to do. Allow it to be there, however long you can, even when it’s uncomfortable it is to hold.
You’ll know something has shifted on a very deep level when you feel yourself take a calming breath and no longer feel the need to cry. The heaviness will have lifted to a point of relief. You may begin to feel an unexplained quiet joy or peacefulness in your being, as if you just stepped out of a cave into the sunlight. Something is different – YOU are different.
Be gentle, be kind. Emotional work can be exhausting at times. It requires time and focus. But in the end, it’s the only way old wounds ever truly heal.
Try these articles for more on this subject:
Living in State of Grace
Miracles don’t come through effort or struggle. They come when you accept you live in a state of grace. You only have one goal and all else will fall into place.