I just realized very recently that I’ve intellectualized many things in my life in order to prevent myself from feeling things fully. If I overanalyze and think everything through enough times, then I won’t have to feel as much pain if the bad things happen. I’ve used this as a crutch most of my life. Falling back on my thoughts as a way to mitigate the possibility of pain. It’s a coping mechanism, but it’s one that can have some disastrous consequences.

One of those consequences is that you lose touch with your genuine feelings. In realizing I had this tendency, I also realized that it’s been truly rare for me to have an unadulterated emotion. I have almost always had mental commentary that coincides with feeling anything. Happiness, sadness, confusion, anger, and so on. My mental commentary is right alongside telling me:

  • I shouldn’t be feeling that emotion the exact way that I am feeling it.
  • I shouldn’t be experiencing this thing in this way.
  • I shouldn’t be that vulnerable with that person.
  • I shouldn’t be the way that I am, I should be some different, undefined, mysterious, unattainable “right” way.
  • On and on and on…

It’s a lot of mental bullshit.

The other consequence is that my relationships, my art, and my daily activities suffer because I am not allowing myself to fully experience them in a 100% authentic way. Mitigating or tamping down feelings is one of the most detrimental things I can do. I thrive on experiences. It’s what influences my creativity, drives my connection to people, and makes waking up everyday worthwhile.

The funny thing is I have control over the commentary, and I have chosen to let it stay. For several years, I allowed it to take root in my mind. But now, I am getting to a point where I’m not allowing this anymore. However, making this shift is proving to be seriously challenging. Telling that voice to just shut up doesn’t work as well as it should.

So, I have to remind myself that I have permission to feel whatever the hell way it is that I’m feeling. I have the permission to experience things the way that I am supposed to experience them. I have permission to be here, right now, just being me…whatever that may mean. And most of all, I have permission to not know. There’s a huge freedom in allowing that sort of mystery to be present in my life.