I’m laying in bed at midnight. I gave myself permission to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. tonight even though I had more to do. But I can’t sleep.
So I wanted to talk about giving yourself permission.
There’s a theory, that I’d link to if I wasn’t writing this on my phone, that talks about the different parts of us that determine how we feel and how we see the world. The easiest way is to think of it like Inside Out.
So when I feel sad, my brain immediately jumps to all the reasons I shouldn’t be sad. So it becomes a battle of anxiety instead of just sadness. It’s sadness + I can’t feel sad because people have it way worse + oh man, now I’m thinking about everyone suffering around the world + but I am still sad about my sad thing + omg single moms how do they do it + but I’m so sad it hurts, like a giant weight in my chest + there are people on lists who need heart transplants and that must feel awful for them and their families + I can’t feel sad, it’s not that bad. Etc etc etc.
This is… Not helpful. You have to feel the feelings as they come and not rationalize them away. They’re like a small child that’s begging for attention and will calm down once they get some. If you are sad, angry, happy, excited, let yourself feel those things. I rationalize away happy feelings sometimes too. I can’t be happy because x,y,z is going on in the world.
Feel what you are feeling. Express what you’re feeling. Don’t feel like you have to feel anything else. It’s natural to want to suppress bad feelings and to tell people “everything will be fine.” Or “You’re better off.” But the dismissal of feelings will just cause them to come back later, usually stronger than before.
Grief has become a friend of mine. Grieving is a great word because it implies there is purpose to your sadness. Let yourself grieve. The loss of a person, a job, a project, the life you thought you’d have. Let yourself grieve small things that don’t seem important enough to grieve, because the only validation you need is that you’re feeling it.
I’m to the point where I cry in public. It’s terrifying and embarrassing. But when they come, they come. And I actually recommend it because after a few times you just stop caring. Wear sunglasses and carry tissues with you at all times.