Getting comfortable in the gap
I might be going out on a limb here but I'm going to say that I am not alone in feeling uncomfortable in the gap.
The gap I'm referring to is the space between experiencing challenging emotions and the solution.
When was the last time you felt a difficult emotion arise?
When you did, what did you do?
It is not uncommon to reach for a quick fix such as repressing or ignoring the emotion, attempting to distract yourself with something else, reaching for a pharmaceutical or even naturopathic remedy or finding a surface level solution and moving on with your life.
I am absolutely guilty of searching for quick fixes. My quick fix is to minimise, find a solution and move on - "Don't worry guys it is all sorted and under control. I got this". It is an inherited pattern of thinking, reinforced by societal values and my conscious or subconscious choice to continue to repeat the pattern.
You see a problem free life is a load of rubbish. Experiencing challenging and difficult emotions is something we cannot avoid, cover up or mask - and why should we! This is an inherent part of life. It is time to accept this and come up with some healthy ways of managing these challenging emotions.
So where do we start?
Firstly, I'd like to suggest radical acceptance. Radical acceptance of not just the good but, let's face it, the bad or shadow aspects of life. Emotions such as sadness, disappointment, guilt, shame, anger, jealously...etc. Let's stop kidding ourselves that in order to live a good life we should simply be happy - how one dimensional! The wholesome life is where it's at peeps. Our greatest growth, awakening and realisations come from the challenges we experience. These shadow feelings aren't going anywhere so let's welcome them into our life and stop believing that there is something 'wrong' with us for feeling them.
Secondly, we need to validate our feelings and yes, sit in the gap. If we try to avoid the gap and try to rationalise our way out or even ignore what is going on we can miss the healing opportunities that the gap offers. Now I am not saying that you should wallow in every emotion you experience, but what I am saying is perhaps it is time to listen to the feelings that are causing your problems (or even ones you enjoy and want to relish in). When we validate our feelings with a sense of compassion and kindness we allow them to settle and not be so charged. Only then can we can gain a clear picture of how to move forward in a healthy and positive way.
Some ways you might like to explore the gap is by talking to someone who is a good listener and allowing yourself to feel heard, writing what you are experiencing down in a journal or perhaps using a meditation to be still with what is going on within.
Let's get comfortable with the gap.
If you experience mental health issues it is recommended that you engage professional help and assistance when exploring challenging emotions.