Put Your Phone Down – Feel the Feelings
Here is what had happened to me when I was grieving.
I would have a thought about Austin or remember a conversation that I had with him. Then, BAM! It would be followed by this intense pain in my heart.
I would experience an emotion that hurt my heart. To be totally honest with you, I did not know at the time that these pains were unwanted emotions—unwanted emotions and feelings you are just not willing to feel.
I would have these thoughts or memories of Austin and instead of dealing with them right there and then, I would pick up the phone. Somewhere deep down, I knew that I had to avoid these feelings and get my mind off the subject. I would then proceed to scroll through any social media site just to avoid my pain.
How many times have you picked up your phone today
Have you been looking at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram all day long
After any major loss or during a grieving experience, have you noticed this constant urge to pick up your phone?
Is this avoidance technique helping your heart?
In some strange way, this was a great way I found to avoid the pain. I would not have to think about what was hurting my heart. There were so many feelings I was unwilling to feel.
Trust me, the phone was not the only technique I used. I used all of the techniques I could find to avoid the pain in my heart. I used television and alcohol equally to avoid the pain.
After a loss, we know that grievers will use any and all the tricks they have in their arsenal to avoid the heavy feelings in their heart. What are heavy feelings? Any emotions we are unwilling to experience.
To only name a few. Raise your hand if you have experienced any of the above.
We know for a fact that unfinished grief can have harmful effects on your capacity to be happy. This time, more than ever, we are experiencing unwanted emotions.
These times are so different. It is not like you can pinpoint what is causing the unwanted emotions. They are almost silent.
So, why do we do this when times are tough? Why do we reach for the phone or veg out in front of the television? Why is it that we plan to only have one drink to take the edge off and end up on glass four (or a full bottle) without even knowing it?
- One reason is that this helps us not feel the pain in our hearts
- These are also great avoidance techniques
- All of these ways to avoid help us keep ourselves out of our hearts and, in turn, the pain
- Then, there is a dopamine hit that happens in the brain and makes us feel a little better
Here is the truth. We do feel better. But it is only for a short period of time. Because, when the wine wears off or we put the phone down and the television show ends, guess what comes back? Yes, you got that right—the pain of what we were trying to avoid.
Here is the deal. We have to be willing to feel the feelings. Even the ugly feelings. My friend, grief is a part of our journey here on earth. Grief is not something that we can shy away from.
We must lean into the unwanted emotions. We lean into the pain. Grief sucks. But healing is on the other side of that. Lean into the suck.
We feel the feelings. Everyone, if they live long enough, will have a grieving experience in their life. Grief is a part of this human experience. We are supposed to experience grief, pain, and the suck. We are not saying stop all of your the tools that you are using to cope with currently. We were there we would not have survived without them. Here is an idea how about you feel the feelings for 5 to 10 minutes and then you pick up your phone, drink or veg-out on television.
Maybe today you do 5 minutes and you cry it out. Then the next time your feelings come up you do 10 minutes. Will this make the pain go away forever. NO. But you will get a chance to blow off some of the pain you have been bottling up in that very precious heart. ~ Sharon