I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. Brene Brown

We call them negative feelings because we don’t like to feel them—vulnerability, grief, sadness, depression, loss, and pain. We often work very hard to avoid them by distracting ourselves, drowning them out, or covering them up. We use TV, food, sex, shopping, social activities—any kind of addiction. But the problem with not feeling our feelings and trying to avoid our unhappiness and pain, is that we can’t selectively numb out. It’s like taking a general anesthesia: we stop being able to feel anything, which means we also can’t feel our joy, bliss, love, or peace.

Rather than numbing out, we must become resilient to the bad times and learn to become comfortable with the discomfort. Negative feelings are important parts of the human experience. There is something to learn, or grow from, or practice in every situation when these feelings are present. Remember that feelings aren’t forever—they come and go like waves on the ocean. Everything changes, ebbs, and flows. Only Spirit is forever.

Spiritual Contemplation: What do you do to allow yourself to feel your feelings? Which ones do you try to avoid the most?

Affirmation: I have the strength and courage to feel my feelings. I allow them to ebb and flow like the waves upon the shore. Spirit is the steady, ever-present shore upon which my feelings are released.

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