You’ll feel the emotion begin, hit its peak, and then begin to dissipate. This process is typically much faster than we expect. When you sit with your emotion and feel it in detail, you let it run its course.
This is a process of feeling, not thinking. While you’re feeling your emotions, you’re not judging them or commenting on them. You’re simply experiencing them as objectively as possible, just like the scientist would.
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What am I doing if I’m not feeling my feelings?
If you’re not feeling your feelings, you’re resisting or suppressing them. This might look like distraction or avoidance; obsession with something else, busyness, addiction. No matter how it looks for you, resisting your feelings causes them to persist. They simply can’t go away until they’ve been experienced and processed.
Think of a beach ball you hold under water. If you want to hold the ball under water you can, but only for so long. Eventually, your arm will get tired or you’ll get distracted or forget to apply the pressure and the ball will shoot up to the surface.
The same is true of emotions. You can successfully push emotions away, keeping them under the surface for a while. But not forever. At some point, your defenses will be weakened and you won’t be able to resist your emotions any longer—they’ll come to the surface, like it or not. The longer and more forcefully you’ve been resisting them, the more impact they’ll usually have when they do eventually surface.
When you feel your feelings all the way through to the end you’re processing them in a healthy way without resistance. So, dive into them. Really experience them. Don’t be afraid. Don’t resist. Let the feeling wash over you and feel it all the way through to its end. Let it run its course—beginning, middle, and end—and it’ll be over sooner than you expect.
As Robert Frost said, “The best way out is through”. The best (and fastest) way out of your negative feelings is to go through them. This is grieving.
2. Separate your Story from the Facts
Although there is real pain from the loss of the relationship that needs to be felt and grieved, much of your pain is unnecessary. Unnecessary suffering is caused by your story of what happened.