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Avoiding Emotions Creates A False Sense Of Security

Ryf-Van-Rij-199x300For most of my life I did just about anything to avoid feeling the full range of my feelings and emotions. I was an emotional anorexic.

Avoiding emotions represents a false sense of security and essentially numbs us to reality.

So now I tend to feel my emotions instead of trying to numb them out. Sometimes that sucks but I have learned that this too shall pass. The challenge is to not to label our emotions as bad. At some point in our lives, each of us faces the loss of someone or something dear to us.

It is a normal part of the human experience to navigate through feelings of grief.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross talked about the five stages of grief people go through following a loss. Sometimes people get stuck in one of the first four stages. Their lives can be painful until they move to the fifth stage, which is acceptance.

The five stages of grief are:

  1. Denial and Isolation:  At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
  2. Anger:  The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if they are dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. The person may be angry with themselves for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
  3. BargainingNow the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, “If I do this, will you take away the loss?”
  4. Depression: The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
  5. Acceptance: This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

The grieving process has mirrored my personal growth journey.

Hitting the surrender point represented the death of the old me. Initially, I went into denial and I isolated from the world for months. I then turned to anger at my parents and those who had failed me during childhood. It felt familiar and safe for me to be in a place of victimhood during this period. I bargained with my soul and with my understanding of God for many months, feeling that the only way to pay for my past and relieve the mountains of pain would be to check out. I most certainly felt the full brunt of the most debilitating depression. I became a danger on the roads while driving, I left my belongings everywhere, I became nervous in crowds and preferred to stay home and I felt incapable of  finding or sustaining a job. With the help of 12 Step, counseling and coaching I began to move into acceptance and began calling things by their right name.

Even though in life we may slide into dark places, these dark places are still parts of the whole that is Source/Universe/Higher Power/God.

The challenge is to feel our emotions instead of trying to numb them out. Sometimes that sucks but eventually it will pass. The challenge is to not to label our emotions as bad.

The irony is the emotions and feelings we want to get rid of are often signposts that are driving us toward our Inner Divinity. They are really just indicators pointing us toward the change and growth that are a necessary part of our spiritual evolution.

There is a blueprint for the way we see our worlds and the way we think the world should be. And it comes from all kinds of outside and past circumstances. But it’s not the outside and past circumstances that ultimately define us; it’s what we choose to make that outside and past circumstance mean.

Enlightenment is really just acceptance in high gear!

Could you accept that the dark parts of your life that you may be trying to hide and deny are still parts of the whole magnificence of who you are?

Is there somewhere in your life where you are avoiding the full range of your feelings and emotions?

Is there some part of your past that you are choosing to avoid and deny?

Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Much Love & Welcome Home,

Ryf.

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Ryf Van Rij is a coach and creator of The Daily Way Home. Connect with Ryf via Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://evelinealmeida.com/ Eveline Almeida

    Now I understand what I went through the past months. I went through all these stages between 2012 and 2013 and I can really say I finally gained acceptance. But between stages 4 and 5 I also had a panic disorder which I believe was my lowest point. And the panic attacks taught me to surrender and accept. It was the only way to deal with them and overcome them. It was when I found out that I needed to feel all my panic and anxiety instead of avoiding it. I understood there was a reason for those feelings and the only way I could move forward was to step into those feelings and surrender.

    • https://twitter.com/TheDailyWa

      Powerful Sharing Eveline. Your awareness and levels of consciousness are exciting. Most people would have chosen to medicate these feelings either with prescription drugs, street drugs or coping mechanisms rather than feel every ounce of the pain. What you did takes courage, faith and the willingness to let go and trust. Pain is really just a calling to grow.

      Thanks for risking to share your vulnerability.

      I honor your journey.

      Love & Respect,

      Ryf.

    • The Daily Love

      Eveline, thank you for sharing! So happy to hear that you were able to move past the tough feelings into acceptance!!! Sending LOVE!
      -Team TDL

  • Hank

    Really great stuff !!! Thank you for writing it and sharing. Loved the quote : Enlightenment is really just acceptance in high gear!!!

    • https://twitter.com/TheDailyWa

      Thanks Hank,

      Letting go does not mean giving up. Letting go means we are accepting Source’s renewal in our lives.

      Letting go means giving up our desires to control people places and things. Letting go means relinquishing the attachment to past story that may be preventing us from our futures. Letting go is the way to self fulfillment and self realization.

      The “Road less traveled,” requires us to “accept” our Inner Divinity. It is then that Source can flow in and through our lives to support our dreams and goals.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Respect & Love,
      Ryf

    • The Daily Love

      Glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed it, Hank! Thank you for your comment!
      -Team TDL

  • JustMe

    Thank you for this, Ryf! Let Go and Let God (or the Universe or your Higher Power…whatever you believe it to be)

    • https://twitter.com/TheDailyWa

      Just Me, Just For Today, I let go and let Universe steer the ship.

      At the end of the day that’s all we have to do.

      The fact is there is no place on earth where we can get closer to Source/Universe/Higher Power/God then where we are right now! The fact that we may be unaware of this does not negate the fact
      that the presence of Source/Universe/Higher Power/God is always in us, waiting for us to become the full potential of how we were created.

      Peace be the Journey,

      Ryf

    • The Daily Love

      Glad that you liked this, JustMe! Thank you for reading!
      -Team TDL

  • Lile408

    Beautiful Ryf… I have been following you @ TDWH for almost 2 years now and your personal
    sharing and daily inspirations have always been thought provoking. I have loved seeing you
    grow and expand … I feel many times that iam walking the same path right next to you.
    My mother too suffered from Parkinson’s disease and fought hard for many years. It is a long goodbye that holds many lessons . My heart is with you and your mother and your family on that journey. Thankyou for your great blogs so happy to see you here at TDL…
    You are another great teacher that I add to my heart.
    Love and light!
    Lile

    • https://twitter.com/TheDailyWa

      Wow!!!! I cant tell you how much your words mean to me! Thanks you soooo much for supporting my Purpose and TDWH. My Passion, my Purpose, my bliss and my calling ls personal growth and serving others.

      Thank you for pointing out that it is a continual growth process with no arrival point and yes I continue to evolve and grow and thanks for noticing that in my blogs.

      My mother has taught me great lessons of forgiveness, acceptance and UNCONDITIONAL love. Its strange to watch my mother who was my rock, become a vulnerable and helpless child again. I am there for her now and giving back in a small way for the gift of life she gave me.

      You teach me the lessons of selflessness and how powerful the act of gratitude is.

      I wish you all the abundance that is your birthright for 2014 and beyond.

      Blessings,

      Ryf.

    • The Daily Love

      Glad to know that you are enjoying Ryf’s writing, Lile! Thank you for sharing!!
      -Team TDL

  • She2

    Death and grief and these common stages make sense to me. But I have watched as so many go through these stages during a rejection or argument with a loved one, or an angry email. Non confrontation , running away & only focusing on our own egos is much easier for too many these days. I witnessed reality being altered too easily and frequently, because of our own thinking and our own emotions staying locked up and safe, from the outside world.

    • https://twitter.com/TheDailyWa

      Hi She2

      Great point! Isolation is certainly a short term and very unsustainable solution. The challenge is to not allow others to steal our peace. We need to stay true to ourselves and our values but at the same time accept that it is not our job to change others.

      Infringement on anyone’s personal development is interfering with their God given opportunity for self awareness. The challenge is to sit back and allow them to be in their own pain, realizing it is their path to God.

      Ultimately we can only ever change ourselves.

      Ryf.

    • The Daily Love

      It certainly gets easy to hide behind a screen and keypad these days, She2. Thank you for sharing!!
      -Team TDL

  • Naomi

    I was about to go to sleep and wake up tomorrow marinating in pain and saw a link an acquaintance on Facebook posted and the title to the article was discribing exactly what I am feeling right now, which is “avoiding my feelings” as I won’t allow myself to feel because it’s almost as though it is stupid for me to feel the way I’m feeling, yet I really want to cry and be hit by all the nuances of pain so I do not carry it with me, tomorrow, the day after, etc.

    I recently loss the friendship of a few good friends, people I considered family and reading this and all the comments and stories people shared have lifted my broken spirit or at least it made me feel some type of way.

    I recognized myself in the 5 stages of grief, as I am in stage 1 and totally isolating myself. We all have a lot of mutual friends and everytime I might feel like I want to enjoy my friends company I am reminded (I remind myself) that we used to all be friends and now, I might just be ridiculed and mocked upon by the people who used to be my friends, thus there is a force that keeps me from going towards others and I feel way safer in the comfort of my own house and in the comfort of my own silence because, if I do not express anything I won’t have to deal with the pain and I won’t think about it…

    All I’m thinking is that I’m only human and I can’t handle the pain… I’m tired of keeping quiet and not being me. I have become shy, anti-social, mindful of what people may think of me when I used to not care, be cheerful, jovial, thoughtful, amicable and not shy at all…

    And this situation sucks.
    I want to know how you guys manage to move on from situations like these or accept them? What has been the journey?

    I NEVER REPLY TO THESE POSTS ON BLOGS, NEVER.
    But these words have just touched my soul and I feel like it’s a message and there is something that should change in my life to help me grow and become the full potential of what I am…

    Thank you again. Really.

    • David

      Naomi, I appreciate your bravery to share your pain and fear…. while it is not “simple,” I would only suggest that you be the glowing self that you describe above (“cheerful, jovial, thoughtful, amicable and not shy at all”) by “loving” yourself and not blaming yourself for the loss of your friends….. accept that friendships can end after they have served their purpose in our lives…. be in touch with your heart and be the beautiful soul that you are…. the peace and joy will follow….. with gratitude and respect, David

  • Guest

    Surrender is a place of vulnerability and that throws me into a panic attack, because I have to be in control of me all of the time (or so I believe) — which goes counter to my spiritual healing. I am, however, embracing the idea of taking off the armor, and revealing the frightened soul inside the shell. The fear resides in the belief that if I were to cry, to fall apart for even a moment, that no one would be there to rescue me — I must risk learning that I will be there for me, and that I can trust in myself.

    I love what what you wrote about acceptance and it being enlightenment in high gear. Too resist acceptance it to resist what is — to prolong the pain. If we accept ourselves and others we are in a place of love — a place of the Devine. Thank you!