Feelings Need Felt and not Fixed

I am feeling my feelings. This may seem like an obvious choice, what else would I do with my feelings? Well, as it turns out I was doing a lot of things with my feelings.

  • Eating them
  • Avoiding them
  • Yelling about things that were not the feelings I was not feeling
  • Making decisions so that I could avoid them
  • Talking about things that were not my feelings
  • Crying about minor inconveniences
  • Watching a lot of episodes of Gilmore Girls in a row

Not all the time. I am, generally speaking, a fully functioning adult. This list is a little embarrassing just laid out like that. (Look at me! Feeling the feelings.) But I noticed that a lot of my energy was going to going around, over, under, when the best option was through. This doesn’t mean I think all my feelings are totally valid or even great. It just means I am letting myself feel them, and then I decide what should be done about them.

It has mostly been working out for me, this business of feeling my feelings. I have a lot more energy to actually do the things I want to do, and I have quit a couple of things because they always make me feel like crap (I’m looking at you, stat checking and Facebook stalking.) I went back to Target with both my girls to snag the last weighted hula-hoop because leaving it behind made me feel like I had really missed out on something good, and I have been using it every day because it makes me feel a little silly, but really free.

But I have been experiencing a snag. A thing I was not expecting but is certainly definitely happening. I am getting better about it, but the easiest way for me to feel my feelings is to talk through my feelings (extrovert problems). And when I talk about my feelings people want to fix them. All this month people have been telling me how to fix it.

  • You thing you need to remember is
  • The way you should think about that is
  • You should definitely
  • You should not have
  • You can’t keep

And on and on. I know they are trying to help. I know they are doing it because they love me. I know I am probably making people a little uncomfortable with my big feelings in response to small talk. (Hey man, you are the one that asked me how I am.) I am learning that feeling my feelings, acknowledging them to myself does not mean I must acknowledge them to other people.

I don’t need anyone to fix my feelings, and most surprisingly (even to myself) I don’t even want them to.

This is shocking to me because I have spent the last few months wanting someone to fix it, wanting to not feel it anymore. I have been praying that God would FIX IT ALREADY. And all through advent and Christmas, God has been reminding me that He is with me. That He sees me. That I am not forgotten. But He hasn’t really fixed anything.

I have quickly learned to treasure the people in my life who hear my feelings and tell me that they are witnessing my pain. I am wondering if the fixers aren’t giving me what I have once communicated I wanted. I am thinking about how to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am becoming aware at how often I have wanted to fix someone else’s feelings. Sometimes because it made them feel bad, but often because those feelings made me feel bad. I am learning that they don’t need me to fix it. I am learning that I don’t want anyone to fix it.

I am learning to feel my feelings, and I am learning what an extraordinary gift it is, to have a God who is with me while I do that.

6 thoughts on “Feelings Need Felt and not Fixed

  1. I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip once where they drilled into us the idea of “ministry of presence” and I’ve never forgotten it. Sounds like you could use some ministry of presence rather than ministry of fixing. I definitely support you feeling all the feels to be had.

  2. Reblogged this on the veil between us and commented:
    I DAMN CONCUR WITH THIS ARTICLE (not so much the religious aspect, however). No-one at uni understands just how much of a mess my life is at the moment, and inevitably glaze over or offer paltry advice that is so shallow it razes the hairs on my arms. I do not blame them in the slightest for it; I’m sure I’d be the same if someone was spilling their guts to me about matters I was deeply in the dark about.
    Feeling not fixing. It’s damn hard. Let time run its course and sort itself out.
    I hate time.

  3. have you ever read Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer? It’s so so good. I picked it up again recently because I am in a time of transition and it’s perfect for that.

    Anyway, he has an entire section about the depression he walked through and the well-meaning but not-helpful responses from the people around him. Standing apart from the fixers was a friend who came and rubbed his feet every day, and just sat with him in the sorrow. He said that friend is the one who helped him go through.
    I hope you can find and sit with those kinds of friends. I hope you can feel and feel loved. As someone who also has and does struggle going through the feelings, it is my wish and prayer for you.

  4. Pingback: What I’m Into: January | Don't Stop Believing

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