As human beings, we crave safety. We crave comfort. Often, our same-old same-old routine becomes our safety and comfort. Sometimes, it may seem easier to go on autopilot, without any consciousness about our internal experience. It’s natural and adaptive to want to avoid things that cause us pain (both physical and emotional). After all, who wants to work harder to feel the not-so-pleasant feelings, when in the moment it is much easier and less difficult to avoid the pain?!
BUT…there’s a big cost to this same-old same-old avoidance thing we do! Check out 5 of the expenses here…
1) All-or-Numbing: As human beings, we can’t only allow in the “feel-good” feelings and filter out only the painful ones. It’s an all or nothing/numbing sort of thing. When we train ourselves to avoid our feelings, we block everything and even the good feelings tend to feel dulled and muted.
2) Festering: The feelings we avoid or deny reside in us somewhere. They build up and fester, like mold, in our bodies (and in our minds). They often show up later as physical pain, depression, anxiety or other illnesses.
3) Missing Out: When we numb out, we miss out. We miss out on a fuller experience of ourselves and our lives. The more we cut ourselves off from our connection to our feelings, the more we cut off our connection to ourselves. We stop being able to access the wisdom that is alive inside of us. We lose who we are, what we want, and the ability to tune into our true selves.
4) Disconnecting: When we halt our feelings, we stop being able to tune in to the feelings of others. Of course it would follow that if we lose the ability to tune in to ourselves (see #3), we are no longer able to tune in to the feelings of others. This often negatively impacts relationships and connection with people we care about deeply, which can lead to loneliness and depression.
AND if these aren’t reason enough…there’s more!
5) Scientific Proof: Maybe scientific proof will make you a believer. A study done on “emodiversity” in 2014 of over 37,000 participants found that people who experience “an abundance” of emotions (versus those that limit their range of emotions) were shown to exhibit better mental health, physical health and over all well-being. The study posited that these participants also had higher emotional resilience over all. Good stuff, right?! (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem; 2014, Vol. 143, No. 6, 2057–2066;)
We aren’t robots, folks (as much as during the painful times, it might seem appealing to be one).
The cost of not feeling is too big to ignore…and it’s never too late to decide that you’re ready to tune in!
If emotional avoidance resonates for you, see if you can be in curiosity and non-judgment about it. This new awareness provides you with a great opportunity to create something new and to step into a more fulfilling way of being!
SO, how did we get to this avoiding place and how do we learn to tune in more deeply? Read these steps to learn how!
In the meantime, email me and tell me what you do to stay connected to your internal experience. I always love to learn from you!