Feel Your Feelings

On Wednesday, I felt unwanted.

Today, it took me an hour to write the first sentence – that sentence, about Wednesday – of an emotional, super personal, and rather melodramatic blog post.

Portia de Rossi, an actress who battled anorexia and perfectionism. One of my biggest inspirations.

Portia de Rossi, an actress who battled anorexia and perfectionism. One of my biggest inspirations. Image via justjared.com.

Here’s how Carolyn Costin recommends dealing with eating disorders: feel your feelings, challenge your thoughts. Understand that the reason why you garner satisfaction from maintaining a slim waist might be because you need to compensate for a lack of control in other areas of your life. Maybe the compliments you receive about your body heal an injured sense of self-esteem. Perhaps the constant binging and purging numb you to the more painful, organic emotions present within your heart.

Accepting imperfection isn’t just about embracing an A- or being okay with second place. It’s not even about welcoming a D or taking last place with grace. Letting go of perfectionism, for me, involves digging deep into the emotions behind my fear of failure and understanding that it is okay not to be okay.

Earlier this week I faced boy issues. I will not delve into detail, but it involved a lot of “ugh he likes me as more than a friend but I don’t think I like him as more than a friend but if I do like him as a more than a friend it’s because I’m shallow and I don’t want to be shallow and wow I want to cry.” And then I felt worse because “I’m Thomas, I want to help people with their problems, I’ve gotten through much worse than this, I don’t waste time with shallow emotions.” And now, I’m coming to terms with what I didn’t want to feel – I’m learning to be okay with every emotion I experience, even if it’s as adolescent as insecurity.

Everyone falls short sometimes. The best football player fumbles a pass, the mathematical mastermind messes up an integration, the passionate parent scolds with just a little bit too much fervor. Feel your feelings, and accept. Accept, accept, accept. It’s the first step to freedom.

Jessie J, singer of "Who You Are." AKA, the song that's helped me survive this week.

Jessie J, singer of “Who You Are.” AKA, the song that’s helped me survive this week. Image via thenewstribe.com.

Has anyone else fought back feelings they didn’t want to feel, or can anyone else relate to the problems of perfectionism in general? Despite some of the lows of this week, there have been highs, such as the wonderful quality of my new courses and my solidification of a research project. Also, you can find my thoughts on Reboot by Amy Tintera and Neighbors by Raymond Carver here and here, respectively. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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23 Comments

Filed under Personal

23 responses to “Feel Your Feelings

  1. I hope your weekend is spectacular Thomas. And yes. I’ve had those feelings we don’t want to feel. The ones we refuse to acknowledge or voice. Your title says it all. Feel them. No good comes from not.

  2. It’s one of the hardest things to do not to mention scary. I will have to get back to you on this. I had to say something as soon as I finished reading because you put what I feel so eloquently into words, probably not everything but most and I need to have several moments alone right now. Thank you so much for writing this, Thomas.

    • It’s difficult to express our emotions at times, especially the ones we do not completely understand ourselves. Thank you for reading and commenting as always, Devina.

  3. I’m a perfectionist, but I’m learning to loosen up and and realize that sometimes it’s not worth it to make things perfect. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes being a perfectionist has its pluses. But, it’s always worth that extra effort. Life is full of imperfections and those imperfections are what makes life perfect.

    • I agree, perfectionism has its strengths and weaknesses like everything else in life. Imperfections often create beauty, especially of the unanticipated variety, so we should accept them as they come and go. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. Thomas, we all have feelings we don’t want. We despise people we should (and do, sorta) love. We are insecure when we want nothing but to appear strong. We are lonely when we are surrounded by people. We abhor chaos, but we reject monotony.

    No feelings are shallow. They reflect your heart, and it is incredibly complex and nuanced. They may not be feelings you want or choose to hold, but you are absolutely right – they demand to be felt.

    Perfectionism is….a siren. I struggle less with perfectionism and more with its sister, control. I’m not sure if your comments on eating disorders at the beginning were intentional, but they resonated. I have hovered on the edge of an eating disorder for years – it is difficult to return to “normal.”

    I hope you give yourself a chance to feel your feelings, even the shallow ones. Have a beautiful weekend, and best of luck as you are jumping back into school. :)

    • You’re right, humans are contradictory beings. But, our hearts are what bring us beauty and make us who we are – alive, flourishing, despite how we sometimes face setbacks. My research project actually involves reading about and researching memoirs concerning anorexia, and I’m super excited to hopefully start. Thank you for reading and commenting and I hope this weekend serves you well. (:

  5. Bravo on such an honest and inspiring post. You have written about the ultimate human experience, our feelings. Even if they’re unwanted, they’re part of this whole thing we call life and accepting them is the strongest thing you can do.

  6. Ohmigoodness, this endless tangle of feeling frustration (of any kind, at a person, situation, or anything) and venting that frustration in ways that only ends up making you feel guilty for feeling that type of frustration in the first place? Then you tell yourself that you are entitled to your feelings, but that doesn’t really help lessen the guilt and ti’s just a vicious cycle? Gaaahh let me lay down and diieeee.

    It’s hard trying to live up to your ideals. And it’s a very wobbly sort of discussion. We tell ourseleves it’s ok not to be perfect, but also tell ourselves that we should try our best in what we do, anyway. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it can be conflicting messages at times and maybe confuse the old brain there. We’re supposed to try our hardest, but not berate ourselves too much when we don’t meet our expectations? There’s a delicate balance there.

    But yeah, there there *pat pat* Haha! So much comfort…

    • Can I just say that I love how I feel like you know exactly what I’m describing in this post? It really is a vicious cycle but one that we need to address and comes to terms with in order to grow – from pain comes beauty and all of that. Thank you for your support, it really means a lot to me!

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your boy issues – we’ve all been there! I most definitely have fought back feelings I don’t want to feel. A lot of these comments (particularly ‘Klyse3′) say exactly what I was thinking as I read this, so I feel I don’t need to add anything else, as everyone else has written my thoughts much better than I could. Again, you’ve written a beautiful piece and I feel captivated and moved by your words.

    • Gotta love it when other people express the words inside of your heart – great minds think alike. (: Thank you so much for reading and commenting and for your kind words!

  8. Perfectionism is absolutely a huge issue. I’ve been there, done that. Wonderful job writing. It’s really honest. I think all of us have wanted to be perfect in one way or another.

  9. I think acceptance is something that is so important, yet people pay very little attention to it. I think for some it comes with striving to be someone so different from who they are and not recognizing that they are precious just the way they are. If people want change it has to be because it would benefit them and not to do it for others for the sake of acceptance. I think it also comes down to how people define perfectionism too. I guess for me perfectionism is embracing all the imperfection that there is within myself and in others. We can’t always be the person others want us to be and that’s okay. I think we all feel feelings that we don’t want to feel or we’re horrified to feel sometimes. Even I’ve felt that sometimes and it’s hard to fathom because you don’t associate yourself as someone capable of certain emotions, but it happens to all of us.

    As for Boy feelings, we’ve all been there :). I think it was more in High School than in University for me because my school was 70% girls and there were hardly a lot of guys lol. But it’s okay to feel those feelings. You’re still a baby (at least when I think about it lol) and you have the remainder of your University experience to meet great people :). So don’t worry too much! But we’ve all been there and we all walk away with some kind of lesson out of all of them. I love how you spoke about wanting to help people- but remember that it’s okay to feel the emotions that you don’t want to feel too. It’s what makes us human. Sometimes we’re way too hard on ourselves and like you said we have to accept that it’s okay to be not okay with certain things that happen in life.

    This was a wonderful post Thomas! I really enjoyed reading it :). I hope you have a fantastic Sunday!

    • I love how you raise the idea of redefining perfectionism relative to what we want from it – perfectionism in accepting our imperfections and the imperfections of those around us sounds splendid to me. I agree that sometimes we struggle with emotions we do not want to feel or thoughts that we fight because they sound so outside of ourselves, but, all of life is a growing process. I’m grateful for your reassurance regarding boys (so weird that they’re technically considered men now) and the remainder of my time here at college. Thank you for reading and commenting and relating, and I hope this weekend is splendid for you!

  10. Little Panda Buh Bye

    Ugh being a perfectionist is ruining me lol! I’ve been told I am going to fail my art course because of my lack of work, oops~

    To deal with stress I procrastinate. And to deal with feelings – I’ve mentioned before – I don’t do that. And ugh other people’s feelings keep on being pushed on me, I’ve somehow become the person to talk to about problems, ahh I have problems too, please let me breathe! and oh I’m venting here sorry. But still, I don’t express myself much. meh to me.. but it’s easy now yay~~

    I’ve just come back to your blog and see all these new posts woo~ Hope everything is all good. Happy belated New Year! :P

    • Thank you for coming back to my blog, and I hope that you find a way to handle your procrastination and turn it into productivity! Please do not always feel responsible for your friend’s feelings and other people’s problems when you need time to express or deal with your own – to be more helpful to others you should strive to help yourself first. Thank you for the belated New Year wish!

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  12. I have extremely unhealthy ways of coping with emotions, and I’ve done it for so long that trying to talk and be open has made me feel worse. My self-esteem level is so low that even thinking about having a friendship with someone makes me squirm. Acceptance is seriously underrated, because let’s face it, we need it in order to trust others which is the crux of most relationships. Major, major sigh. Hope you’re feeling a bit better now.

    • Georgie, I’m so sorry that you feel that way – that being open and seeking friendship brings you down. If you need anyone to talk to, please do not hesitate to talk to me, and I hope we both find acceptance in the future!

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