Feeling the feelings


Quote of the day:

What do you believe would happen if you allowed yourself to feel your feelings instead of avoid them or swallow them with food? Geneen Roth

Back to the subject of feeling the feelings … Have I mentioned before that when emotions become too intense for me, I bolt?

Never mind eat! 

I run away – as fast as my legs will carry me. I don my walking shoes, jump on bicycles, in cars, trains, planes – anything that will carry me away from the intensity – the discomfort. Even feelings of joy can become too intense for me. They overwhelm me. In my early childhood I learned that my feelings were not important or valid – including those of joy, pride, happiness, or pleasure. So it has taken me a long time to understand that I can allow myself to experience different emotions – they are valid no matter what they are, and that feeling them are not the same as expressing them. Indeed, once I allow myself to hold still and experience the emotion, it becomes so much easier to know how to express them in ways that are productive. 

In terms of one's eating habits, I believe the reasons we reach out to food for comfort have direct connections with how we were loved beginning at infancy. So much comfort came through feeding. At times when I feel at a loss about helping my own son emotionally even now that he is an adult, I think that a bowl of hot chicken soup might work better than anything else I can say or do. Feeling loved is inextricably linked to being deprived or comforted by food.

No wonder diets feel punitive!

I like Geneen Roth's idea of writing a "curiosity dialogue." I know it has helped me to be curious about my feelings, or how I "tick" emotionally. For example, it has helped me make connections with behaviors and expressions that might have been unhelpful, or even self destructive for me in the past.

Indeed, I think this blog has served me well as a type of "curiosity dialogue."