The longer we try to avoid or ignore uncomfortable feelings, the longer they remain present. I had a professor who said, “Whatever you resist, persists!” It’s a bit trite, but true.
We go to great lengths to try to make feelings go away. We may judge them, fear them, get angry at them, endlessly analyze them, or try to ignore them.
We may try to make them go away by doing one or more of these things in excess: eat, drink, shop, gamble, drugs, sleep, work, or non-stop activity.
Whatever you try, nothing seems to really help. When you allow yourself to notice, the feelings are still there. Unfortunately, they are often stronger now than they were initially.
The first step is to acknowledge their presence. They exist. They don’t have to define you, but the sooner you allow them to be present, the sooner the uncomfortableness will lessen.
“I don’t want all this. I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want all these feelings. I want it to go away.”
I know. It sucks.
There are often distorted thoughts, bad memories, and other crap that cause feelings we don’t like. Allow the feelings to be present in order to find your way through them.
While, “It sucks less as soon as you stop fighting it,” might not be a great motivator, it is practical. It’s also effective.
If I discover another method, I’ll let you know!
Most of us understand regret. “Why did I do that? I’m so mad at myself!” We know what we did. We recognize that it was avoidable. We can’t undo it.
When the mistake was trusting someone who you later discover is not worthy of being trusted, the regret is more complex.
“Why did I do that? I’m so mad at myself for trusting them!” It creates an emotional mess! You trusted. The trust was betrayed. The anger gets turned at them and ourselves. It just gets all twisted up.
When someone lies, their intent is to get what they want and deception is how they do it. They care about their needs. When they are exposed as deceptive, they may be sorry, sorry they were caught, continue to lie, or justify their actions. Regardless if the behavior was rooted in being malicious, stupid, self-centered, or self-righteous, we trusted them.
We trusted. Once we know, we may judge ourselves for having missed it. “How did I not see it?” Give yourself a break. Everything is clear when it’s out in the open.
Remember, the deception was not an accident. It was intentional. Our trust gave them power to influence us, and that includes the power to deceive.
To swing to the opposite extreme and pull ourselves back from trusting is not the answer. Life is about trusted relationship: being an influence to others and being influenced by others.
It sucks to feel regret. However, we can learn from it.
What can I learn about myself from this betrayal? Were there indicators present that I didn’t want to acknowledge as possibly true? How can I gain wisdom about who I give my trust to in the future?
We are all somewhere. We often want to be somewhere else.
Whether it’s a time from the past that we miss or a place in the future, we are often positive that it would be better than here.
Jeff and I have noticed that our conversation often drifts to retirement years. What do we want to do? We have clear pictures of what we don’t want, but the vision for what we do want is blurry. It doesn’t stop us from continually talking, wondering, and dreaming.
We generally snap ourselves back to reality, “We don’t even know if we’ll be here tomorrow.” The conversation can be fun, but at some point, it’s not all that practical. It can be draining.
All we have is the present. Now. We can spend so much time worrying or dreaming about the future that we miss the life we have now. I don’t want to do that.
Yes, planning matters. It’s responsible. It’s what adults do. However, there’s a point when the planning needs to stop and living needs to start.
When people are stuck in a place that they don’t want to be, the first step is to accept their current reality. This is the reality. It might suck, but this is it. Denying it, ignoring it, or fantasizing about it just delays the pain of seeing it.
This is the place where I am. Whether it’s my own choices, the choices of others, or situations that have just happened. It is what it is.
Accept where you are. You don’t have to like it, celebrate it, or understand it. It’s where you are. If it were so easy to change, you already would have. Accept it.
Decide your next step. Prepare or plan as you need to. Take it. Repeat as needed.