Monday, February 17, 2014

Numbing our feelings

Most of us have times that we numb our feelings. Often, we aren't even aware that what we're doing is numbing. Some people use alcohol or drugs. Some use TV. Others go shopping. For still others, spending time on the internet can provide that numbing effect.

Years ago when I attended Weight Watchers for the first time (this may be my third and, I hope, final time because I want to stick with it this time!), I recall a slogan our leader used often: "Feel your feelings; don't feed your feelings." That one hit me right where I live because food is my numbing device of choice. Not that I like having chosen it, mind you. But it appears that it's what I grew up doing—turning to food for comfort whenever I felt down. Now that I think about it, I turned to it when I celebrated, too!

Now I realize: When I numb and block my bad feelings, I'm also numbing my good ones. I would much rather stay awake and aware. I'd rather be conscious of what's going on in and around me. Yes, it can be painful at times to be conscious, to really feel what's happening. But at this stage of life, I know I can handle it ... with the help of family and friends, with strength from God and with the use of all the resources I've learned through the years. And when I allow myself to feel the hurt and pain, I'm also so much more open to all the good things. I can feel the joy and notice the gifts and blessings. I can savor the beautiful, warm sunshine streaming in my windows—even with the sub-zero temps outside. I can share the exuberance of my young grandchildren as they learn new skills. I'm present to it all—when I can be aware of it and not succumb to my numbing tactics.

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