I stayed up way too late last night. And I blame my best girlfriends.
You see, a group of five of us have been steadily hanging for the last ten years. Brought together by new motherhood, the glue that has kept us together has been laughter, honesty, generosity, compassion, and connection.
As we laughed into the wee hours of the morning over topics like urinary incontinence, I took stock of the room.
None of us has had it easy. Among us, there have been divorces, death, illness, relationship issues, kid stuff, aging parents, career transitions. Life. Just life being life. And a little bit messy.
And one of the most beautiful gifts of spending time with these women is this:
We all get to feel whatever we feel, share about it, and still be loved.
If you have this gift, hold tightly to it. It is special beyond belief. (Seriously, it is with these women that I learned to receive love, no matter how extreme my hot mess was.)
Lately, so much of what I’m hearing from the women I talk with is a general sense that feeling all that they feel seems like too much. They feel so much and so deeply on the inside, but feel like those feelings don’t have a place to be shared on the outside. And it is eating away at them without their even realizing it.
At the end of the day, most of us want a place (or many) in our lives where we feel like all of us is welcome and is loved – whether that’s in our families, our job, our relationships, our friendship, or our communities.
When you are accustomed to doing, feeling becomes an advanced skill.
The “problem” with women like us is that we have used our smart, capable selves to get shit done. And sometimes that comes at the expense of pushing our feelings to the background.
There’s more to do than there are hours in the day. When you don’t have time for everything, you have to make choices. And most of us have been taught to favor action instead of feeling.
And, if you’re in the extreme, it’s been so long since you’ve been connected to your feelings that they feel tough to access.
Are your untended emotions catching up with you?
Have you gotten so good at sucking it up and pushing forward that you haven’t really incorporated your feelings about what’s been going on in your life?
Ok, first with the bad news. At some point, your emotions will catch up with you. Being tough on the outside doesn’t mean you can ignore what’s going on on the inside.
Often, this shows up as feeling TIRED. If you are generally getting enough sleep, feeling lethargic is a strong signal that you are having emotions that need some tending.
But the good news is, that you don’t need to go back and retroactively process every single emotion you’ve ever had. And you don’t need to become someone that only ever talks about her emotions.
You can start simply with the tiny question, “How do I feel right now?”
And then, “What do I need?”
How often do you ask yourself how you feel? Is this a question you want to be asking yourself more often – why or why not? Hit reply to this email and share your answers; I read and respond to every one.
Bonus assignment: send the people in your life that love you no matter what some love and appreciation. It means more than you know.