May 14th, 2012
You’ll Never Get Over It. So Stop Trying.
Last week, I found myself on the floor, crying. Err, I dunno, maybe sobbing…a little. And it was after receiving a text. And amazingly nice and sweet text from the Bird I talked about in my last post. After receiving it, all my feelings came rushing to the surface and I couldn’t control myself. Tears happened.
And as I sat there crying, judging myself (but trying not to), feeling like an idiot, I wondered to myself, “geesuz…when am I going to get over it?” I thought “It’s been long enough dammit, I know there are lessons here, I get it, but bloody hell, when am I going to stop letting it affect me?” And then I realized, that I had just had a session with someone who saying the same thing about her emotions. “When am I going to stop being scared?” and then “I just need to get over it.”
And in this moment, my words to her were something like: “Lady, you’ll NEVER get over it. You’ll NEVER stop being scared. But it’s ok because that’s not the point. The point isn’t to eliminate fear or doubt, but rather, the point is to be aware of it, and move forward anyway. Elimination should not be the end goal, because you’ll be disappointed.”
Rather smart, for a girl about 15 minutes away from crying over the same exact phrase.
But then I realized that this is, actually, one of the greatest secrets to life. One of those things that if you TRULY understand it, everything in your life will be better. Because what happens is we’ve created a faulty system. One in which the very thing we want (not feeling affected by an emotion), is the very thing we’re absolutely preventing from happening with the system we’ve set up (resist, avoid, judge).
We all hate being uncomfortable, so much, that we’ll do anything to avoid it. To resist it. But the problem with this is that what we “resist persists” so simply by trying to make it to go away, we’re creating more of it. And then it goes on longer and stronger and has more of an affect on us than we can possibly imagine.
I truly believe that it is not our job in life to correct all the hurt that has happened in the past. To eliminate the bad experiences. Because no matter how hard I try, the experiences will have happened. I can’t change that. So wishing it was different is not the point. The questions shouldn’t be “when will I get over it,” but rather “what can I do so that when it shows up, it doesn’t ruin my life?”
And the answer is simple: What I CAN do, is fully be in my own experience of it. Not try to push it away, not try to distract myself when it shows up (with texting, Facebook, alcohol, friends, food). Not try to run like hell from the first sign of discomfort. What I CAN do is feel what I’m feeling. Fully. Simple as that.
People always want to get somewhere. They want to be done with chapters in their life. They strive to not have doubts or fear in life. The “it’s the destination, not the journey” way of living. And we have it ALL wrong. The point ISN’T to eliminate hard feelings or experiences (as we’ve learned…you can’t anyway, so it’s a futile effort) but rather to be WITH them when they show up. That’ll be the closest thing to elimination that you’ll ever find.
I’m really glad Hawk sent me that text. Not only did I feel appreciated and seen, validated, and loved, but I learned some very valuable lessons: Uncomfortableness is a sign of growth. Emotions don’t have as much of a hold on you when you truly let yourself experience them. And again…it all boils down to love. Loving and being kind to yourself, and loving and appreciating others.
And so after I was done crying. When the last teardrop fell. The last nasty message I was replaying in my head stopped. I was calm. Appreciative. Ready to face the day. I put on my shoes, went to the range, and didn’t think about it again.
All of that is worth 30 minutes of discomfort, don’t you think?
So my advice to you is to stop trying to “get over it.” It’s not going to happen. And there is nothing wrong with that. Your emotion might show up once a day or once a year, and that’s ok. Just let it be there. Pay attention to what is happening for you (in your body and in your mind) when it shows up. Invite it in, rather than push it away. I swear. Try this for at least ten minutes, and your life will forever change. Money back guaranteed.
What emotions have YOU been resisting lately? Ever feel like “I should be over it by now?” Leave a comment and share your story. And share this with anyone you think needs to hear it.
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Well, you DO get over it, in a sense. When you acknowledge whatever it is that you are facing, and find ways of dealing with it that don’t amount to avoidance, then you ARE getting over it.
Exactly!!! Except the only thing I’d throw in there is reserving the right to “not be over it” again at some point, because inevitably it’ll probably show up again. Just this time, it might not affect you. But yes, I agree with you, oh wise Attorney of mine. :)
Ah, but Sally, that’s the point…of COURSE it will come back.
So once you have learned how to find a way to work with it, or around it, or whatever and not avoid it, but get in there and take it head-on, like a 5-round UFC bout where you get that referee stoppage via submission in the very first round, now you know how to “get over it”, and if it adapts and finds a way to bother you again, you know that, “Hey!! I fought you once and I WON!! I am not going to lose to you now that I know your weakness!!”, then you have succeeded in “get[ting] over it”, and there’s no reason for it to ever have such a profound affect on you ever again.
It’s like the bully in school. Once you’ve stood up to him and you know his weakness, yeah, he can corner you for your lunch money again, but you know how to get at him. You know what you are capable of doing. You won’t let yourself be bullied again.
The “fear” is like that. You know how to not let the “fear” overwhelm you, and once you solve that mystery, it can’t ever take advantage of you in that way ever again.
Sally this was such a good read for me today.
Every single day I’m reminded of a memory with my ex who I was with for 5 years. I keep trying to push him out of my mind, because the memories from the good to the bad haunt me, and it puts a cloud over everything I do. Just when I think I’m doing great and I’m not thinking about us, it comes crashing back in. It’s debilitating and slows me down in every other area of my life from business projects to things when the new guy im dating to just my overall self esteem and worth.
I need to stop looking at it as feeling like this chapter will never close, and just embrace it somehow. Listen to it. Let the emotions happen and then try to move on. Fighting it just keeps it with me all day long.
The hardest part is that we don’t even talk anymore. We may as well be dead to each other. We just faded away b/c it was too hard to talk, and no the single most important person in my life is nowhere to be found. The regret there kills me everyday.
Anyway, I’m rambling but thanks for this post Sally!
Miss Lauren…your comment hurt my heart. I feel you. And you’re absolutely right that when we don’t allow our true emotions to actually be there, they infiltrate other areas of our life. I think it’s the ONLY part of our lives that can affect all the other ones so wholly. And yes, fighting it will keep it with you. Just let the emotions happen when they happen. Don’t judge yourself or try to get them to go away. I know it sounds hard, but it’s actually much easier (and quicker) than resistance. You’re amazing. I love that you’re in my life. Thanks for your comment and make sure you keep in touch.
Beautiful post Sally! This morning I actually sat down in silence with the purpose of feeling emotions I’d been resisting. I checked in with all the places on tension in my body and asked myself, “What do I feel in my (blank)?”
I felt so much better afterwards I found myself humming in the kitchen as I made my oatmeal. I’ve been in my head a lot lately about some big decisions I feel I have to make quickly (btw, there’s actually no timeline… that’s something I’ve made up). SO, anyways, it helps to know we’re both on the journey xo
Wow…what a mindful being you are! And what an impact it seemed to make in your life. I hear you about the big decisions. Wanna chat????
There are several things in life I wish I could “get over.” But like you said, you don’t really ever get over it, you just move forward. I have a necklace with the word “fearless” written on it in Korean (because I am half Korean). It’s not because I am fearless, but it reminds me to move forward or try something new DESPITE my fear. Am I always successful at this? No. But will I ever give up trying? No.
Life is a journey. We all have a destination, but getting there in one straight line is never going to happen. We must take our detours and side streets and sometimes even back-track, but as long as we keep moving, we’re good.
Stay Strong Sally!
Fearless is a misnomer. It’s not the absence of fear. It’s the acceptance of fear, but moving forward anyway.
Heroes that run into a burning building, or military personnel or whomever are often thought of as fearless. It’s not that they’re not scared, or that they have no fear. It’s just that they accept that fear, but don’t let the fear overwhelm them.
That’s the true definition of being fearless.
I agree 100% and I love that Kimberly was talking about it in that way too. You guys are so smart. :)
Thank you for your reply. I agree with you 100%. Maybe my wording didn’t come out the way it should. That is the point I was trying to get across.
Oh miss Sally, get outta my head! Haha, just kidding…you can come visit me in my head any time ;) But seriously, I’m so right there with you – just this morning I was having a moment of being overcome by fear…the make-your-stomach-turn and make-you-want-to-crawl-into-bed-and-hide-under-the-covers-fear. You see, I’m actually, finally, STARTING to take real steps towards moving to Cali. And with each potential step I’m startled to find…no resistance except my own fear. I no longer have a person in my life who is preventing me from moving, instead I have a person in my life who is encouraging me and wants to be along for the ride. I no longer have property ownership tying me down. My livelihood is becoming increasingly mobile as I go deeper into yoga teaching. So…what’s becoming so evident that the only thing stopping me is ME! MY FEAR. MY DISCOMFORT. The “what-if-it-doesn’t-work-out” panic in the pit of my gut.
As this panic started to take over this morning (just at the mere THOUGHT of calling my landlord to ask if I can go month-to-month on my lease, by the way) your voice suddenly popped into my head: “FEEL the fear, and DO IT ANYWAY.” Those were your wise words. And then I thought of you packing up all your belongings and moving to f-ing COSTA RICA, and traveling in an RV, and I was like – okay lady, if Sally can do THAT…you can definitely do THIS!
And then your lovely blog popped into my e-mail box a few hours later. I’ll take that as a sign that I’m on the right track :)
Love love love,
Miss Violet…my darling! YESSSSSSSS it is a sign! And you CAN do it. And honestly, do I really need to tell you why moving to California is a killer idea!!?!?! You’ve been thinking about it for three years, you have nothing holding you back, California is awesome, Chicago will always be there, yoga is NOT going anywhere in this state, you have a community. I mean…yeah dude…it’s time. What will you do TODAY to move this forward??
I love you. Also.
Thank you for the push to action, Miss Sally! I called my landlord immediately upon reading your reply and negotiated a shorter lease renewal (9 months vs. 12) and a lower increase in my monthly rent to boot (woot woot!) I also inquired about subletting in case I need to leave Chicago sooner and, whaddya know, the management company has someone to help me with that when the time comes! I’m free-ee-ee…as a bird :)
Oh, and I just *happen* to have a trip to SF with my main squeeze coming up in about 2 weeks…you can bet your holster we’re gonna do some serious visioning up in that piece! Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration.
As always, love you too <3
OH HECK YES LADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love this post! My girlfriend and I, both going through divorces at the same time, use the term “STUG” – Sudden Temporary Upsurge of Grief. I learned it from a memoir I read called “Falling Apart in One Piece”. Recognizing that it’s a STUG has helped both of us with what you said in your post – “what can I do so that when it shows up, it doesn’t ruin my life?” Thanks, Sally – hope you can use the acronym as well!!
STUG! Oh my gosh I love it. And most definitely WILL use it again at some point. Thank you. And I love the title of that book. It rings very resonant with me. Thank you for sharing lady.