Sit With Yourself Even If It Feels Painful

When you’re hurt, you feel the urge to take action to ease the discomfort. Just anything that would make the pain go away. Be it drinking, smoking, taking whatever pills, contacting someone you know you shouldn’t, or now and then even the thought of death. You’re convinced that your intense negative emotion is an indicator that there’s a problem that needs to be solved immediately, a sign that you’re supposed to backtrack towards the familiar comfort of the past somehow. You’re desperate. You’re scared that you’ll be stuck in this state forever and things will never be okay again.

Well, you’re wrong. Your emotion is a product of your brain. It isn’t an indicator or a sign of anything. It just is. You’re not meant to act on it. You’re meant to feel it and let it pass by. Yes, it’s unpleasant. Sometimes it’s really hard. It can be unbearable. But it will pass. Don’t run away. Don’t hide from it. Because this would only intensify whatever you’re feeling and make it worse. Face it and you will realise it can’t kill you, it can’t even really hurt you because it’s only in your head. It has no real power over you. You’re in control of it. And no, you don’t need alcohol, cigarettes, pills, or someone who used to care about you. You need you. Sit with yourself even if it feels painful.

Over the last couple of months, as I was healing from my stacked-up emotional wounds, I learned to sit with myself. There were a lot of difficult thoughts and emotions suddenly hijacking my brain throughout the day, and I learned not to act on them no matter how low they put me down. I learned not to drown my face in Whiskey. I learned not to respond to keen suitors (who I knew were not right for me) and escape in their attention and affection. I learned not to come back to the source of my pain and try to amend the past. I learned not to send text messages that would ultimately be useless. I learned to face my fear, to look into my insecurities, to stay in touch with my heart, to take care of my body, to not hurt myself any further.

In the past, I used to resist these uncomfortable feelings. I used to frantically find a way to make them go away. I used to do whatever I could to distract myself temporarily. And it would always end up tearing my past wounds even wider open, allowing all sorts of toxic in. I didn’t know that panic would only lead to more panic, reacting in fear would only make me more scared. Meanwhile, if I just let it be, like drops of water, the ugly thoughts and emotions would eventually evaporate, and I would be calm again, back to the healthy place I had fought hard to get to. I now understand that feeling something doesn’t mean I have to do something about it. It’s okay that I think about the past, it’s okay that I still remember the painful memories, it’s okay that I sometimes miss the people who are no longer in my life. I give this mind-wandering activity the time and space it deserves, then I move on from it, putting the focus back to my present.

Sit with yourself because there are times no one and nothing could help you but you. Because at the end of the day, you need to be there for you. If there’s anything I’ve learned after all the panic attacks and tears and shame and intense discomfort, after I’ve fallen apart and pulled myself back together again, it’s that you need to be your own person. You need to remember that you’re strong and you’ve already had everything you need. You need to build yourself and your world on such a solid ground that you can lean back on it anytime and feel okay to start over again. You need to trust yourself and that things will be better soon. You need to be self-reliant. You need to watch out for yourself — well-being, body, mind, soul, and spirit. And you need to maintain this even if you’re in a relationship.

Sit with yourself and tell yourself it’s okay because it really is. This too shall pass.

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