You don’t need to “decide” how you feel in any given circumstance.
Many people put pressure on themselves to “make up their minds” about how they feel.
They’ve been convinced that they only get to feel one way or another about a person or a situation.
That if they’re angry, that means they can’t also feel sad.
Or if they’re sad, they can’t also feel grateful.
Or if they’re grateful, they can’t also feel annoyed.
So they try really hard to figure out how they “should” feel about something or in a given situation, and then they do everything they can to deny, disown, or limit their awareness of any other feelings they might have.
The thing is: emotions don’t like to be denied or disowned.
They exist for a reason: to be felt, and sometimes expressed.
And if we’re consciously trying to deny them the opportunity to be felt or expressed, because we’ve decided we “shouldn’t” be feeling them…they WILL find a way to make themselves “heard.”
People who have Dissociative Identity Disorder know firsthand how this works. They’ve unconsciously sequestered certain feelings and memories into different “parts” of themselves, which they then go out of their way to not acknowledge.
(They don’t do this on purpose; it’s a process that happens instinctively, because certain feelings and memories are too overwhelming for their conscious minds to deal with.)
The way people with DID get better is by learning what they’ve unconsciously sequestered away in their “parts,” and developing the coping tools and skills necessary to handle those feelings and memories (i.e., without having to hide them away in their “parts”).
People with DID get better to the extent that they accept that denying and disowning their feelings and memories is no longer an option— that if they truly want to function without their “parts” screaming for attention from the inside, they need to acknowledge and communicate with the “parts” of themselves that may feel, remember, and “hold” a variety of intense, perhaps painful things.
This same process— of acknowledging and accepting everything we’re feeling and experiencing, regardless of whether it’s the “right” thing to feel at a given moment— is something we all need to get good at.
Different parts of us are going to feel different things.
It doesn’t mean we’re crazy.
We can’t treat our mixed feelings as if they are crazy.
We need to acknowledge and accept everything we’re experiencing and feeling with compassion and care— even if we don’t quite understand it, or even if we’re not thrilled with it.
Denying and disowning feelings and experiences is a surefire way to make sure they will not leave us alone.
It’s important for everybody reading this to realize that there is no rule that says you HAVE to feel only ONE thing about a situation or a person.
Human beings are complex. Situations are complex. You are complex.
Your past is complex, and your future likely will be as well.
We need to get used to the idea that we’re going to be of different minds about many things…and that we can accept and get curious about those different minds, without the pressure to “decide” what we feel.
All the “parts” of you have something valuable and important to say.
They all need your attention.
They all need your care.
They need your time, and they need your patience.
To the extent that you can manage the anxiety that comes with not feeling one “correct” feeling about every situation or person, and instead listen to what ALL of your parts have to say, you’re not going to have to worry about the “parts” of you clawing their way into your awareness.
Your “parts” will come to trust you and wait their turn…if you give them reason to trust you.
Listen to them, respect them, and communicate with them.
They want to help.
But they’re really hard to manage if they feel neglected or ignored.
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