We’ve learned to label emotions “good” and “bad” or “okay” and “not.”

We’ve learned to push our feelings down and away, to plaster on a smiley face, to say “anyway” at the end of sentences (or paragraphs) where we’re being real but we think we’re being a downer.

We’ve learned to work (way too) hard to keep up the illusion and reputation of our inspiring, positive self.

Or at least I have…

We’ve also learned – out of our care, concern, and love for others – to help them move (perhaps too) quickly through the “bad” and “not” emotions by pointing out the positive, redirecting their thoughts, easing them away from their seemingly downward spiral into negativity.

But I’m re-learning, and specifically I’m re-learning that it’s okay to feel the fear and other “bad” emotions.

It’s not only okay, it’s good. And healing. And necessary.

I was talking with my therapist the other day (and with a few friends who are therapists) about finding and honoring the shifting lines that separate letting myself feel the feelings as much as I need to and then moving on to moving out of pain and getting stuck in the feelings and bringing myself out of the feelings way too quickly so that I don’t actually feel anything. (Hopefully that makes some sense…)

They are shifting lines, and they are confusing to me at times. At many times.

But I’m getting it. More and more and messily and messily each day.

There is grief for me to process and feel. Fear for me to let wash through my soul. Pain for me to let erupt. Anger. Sadness. Anxiety. It’s all there. I had to shut way down to get through these past six months or so, but it’s all there. And it needs to be allowed and to be felt.

Don’t get me wrong. There is also joy. And beauty. And love. And all that lifts my heart, soul, and spirit.

But in case I forget again, it’s okay to feel the fear, and all the other “bad” emotions. (They’re not really bad, but I think we’re in agreement about that by now.) To let them move in and through me.

And to move on (with my hand on my heart and compassion in my mind and soul, of course).

How about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Callum Shaw on unsplash

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