What is the feeling you’re trying to avoid right now?

Feel your feelings anyway

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Seinfeld famously said when you reach dadness fully, nobody in your family can hurt your feelings anymore, because you don’t have feelings anymore. Feelings were too much of a problem to have, so you just get rid of them.

That’s why he drives expensive and flashy cars, he says. Because they’re machines that stir deep, human emotions, and he really needs that because he doesn’t have any.

What a fascinating and funny way to experience the world. And I’m sure it works for him. But personally, anytime I swallow my feelings, my body begins to digest itself. Anytime I attempt to suppress negative emotions, rather than accept and appreciate them, it typically backfires and increases feelings of distress.

And so, instead of eating or drinking or shopping or whatever coping mechanism is available to temporarily hold despair at bay and distract me from panic and insecurity, I work to domesticate my emotions. I notice them without judgment, name them by affect labeling, accept them with compassion, sit through them with patience, and then process them into action.

Because I trust the process. I know that all of my feelings have a beginning, middle and end. And so, whatever the emotion of the moment is, good or bad, I remember that it’s not going to last. That feeling will subside to the point of irrelevancy in no time.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be proud of having my own feelings about the world and get on with my life. And as use them to fuel my meaning making efforts.

What is the feeling you’re trying to avoid right now?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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