Monday Morning Truth: Fear of Feelings

I had a perfectly happy Saturday morning. Seriously. One of those mornings dotted with sighs of contentment because everything seems exactly right. Then a few hours later I found myself staring despondently out the window, trying not to cry, and thinking, I feel bad inside. Really bad. I didn’t know what caused the shift. I just knew that I didn’t want to try and figure it out…I wanted to run from it.

After struggling with depression for many years, I got tired of feeling crappy…so tired I eventually let my eating disorder step in and deal with the pain. Food became Novocaine for the emotions I didn’t want to feel anymore. Which is why one of the hardest parts about eating disorder recovery is learning to just feel your feelings.

But maybe this is a wider problem that a lot of us struggle with. When you have feelings of stress, anger, or sadness, what do you do? Do you deny and stuff them away? Drown them out with distractions? Because the fact is that we don’t like to be uncomfortable and most of us don’t tolerate suffering very well.

And for some of us, it’s more than that. Some of us are afraid of our negative emotions. On some level—usually on one we don’t even recognize consciously—we are scared that these kinds of emotions are somehow bad. That they will overwhelm us (or maybe others?). That they will make us do things we’ll regret. That they will last forever.

But these are irrational beliefs that turn negative emotions into monstrous, controlling demi-gods. It’s time to challenge these fears. And to challenge ourselves to stop running from being uncomfortable.

Do you deal with negative emotions in healthy way? If not, why not? If you are afraid of negative emotions, examine where these fears come from. Decide if they’re based on God’s Word or on untruths we’ve told ourselves or internalized from other people.

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