PERMISSION TO FEEL
When it comes to feelings, we don’t have to wait for someone to hand us a permission slip to feel them. We can give permission to ourselves to feel the full range of our feelings — like sadness, gladness, grief, peace, contentment, worry, helplessness, joy, anger, fear, fear and more fear — we get to have them all.
Life can get overwhelming. No one escapes hard times as we float along in our little boats on this ocean of life, but we are all in the same storm when it comes to our relationship with food and ourselves.
Stuffing ourselves with food might be familiar, and we hold onto food and food behaviors for safety when we think we might drown in feelings.
The opposite of addiction is connection. With added support, it is easier to sustain the high, low and medium tides. Sometimes we have many feelings all at once.
In the DBT language here at Beacon, we use the word dialectic. A dialectic is a synthesis or integration of opposites. So, at the same time we might feel some contentment and worry, we might have gratitude and fear. All are okay! It is when we are not giving ourselves permission to feel the full array of our feelings that we get off track.
We promise you this: if you give yourself permission to feel your feelings, you will see how they come and they go — just like the waves, just like clouds overhead.
Marc Brackett, the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, makes a persuasive case in his book Permission to Feel. He writes that our feelings aren’t impediments. In fact, they provide important information that can change our lives for the better – when we give ourselves permission to feel them. Just like us, he uses acronyms. He uses the word RULER, which is made up of five emotional-intelligence skills for accessing feelings.
This is a practice – and we love all sorts of practices at Beacon! The practice challenge today is this: give yourself permission to have all the feelings, because it will lead to a truly amazing life. Give yourself permission to get the support you need.
Oh, and a beautiful quote as an endnote:
“Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” — Rainer Maria Rilke