Let me set the record straight, I love my life. At work, I feel appreciated, respected, involved, and supported. At home, I feel loved, needed, wanted, and safe. Within myself, I feel whole, successful, and present.
But, I also feel less than enough, unsettled, and anxious. How can all of these feelings co-exist? It’s called life. You can feel pain and joy in the same instance, and as my Peloton instructor, Jess King, recently reminded me, we need to normalize that.
Is what I’m feeling “normal”?
I wanted to know if others felt the same way as me, so I set out to answer this question by asking around. I decided that instead of answering with the common “I’m fine” response when someone asked me how I was, I would instead be vulnerable, in hopes that the people on the other end of the text thread would do the same.
Here are some of the answers I received in response to my vulnerability:
“Getting as much done while you can help that anxious feeling but also…know that if it all doesn’t get done, that’s ok too.” – Christina
“Life is a constant state of ups and downs, highs and lows. Totally understand the feelings.” – Hilary
“I feel ya, as it took me a while to respond back. So many things…while all good…still just a lot.” – Mary Jane
Ultimately, yes. It all ebbs and flows. Different events can trigger us all differently based on our childhood wiring, dispositions, and current level of self-awareness and healing. However, we all have feelings—regardless if we have adequate tools to express them and move through them or not.
How many times has my daughter replied to “What’s wrong?” or “What’s going on?” with a somber “Nothing,” or “How are you feeling?” with an uncommunicative “I don’t know.” So why would I for a second think that what I’m feeling isn’t something others may relate to?
It made me pause: We’ve become accustomed to the necessity of highlight reels and picture-perfect settings; are we losing sight of the realness and authenticity that comes with living offline?
Even with the introduction of more VR-based experiences from NFTs to exercise classes, is it really worth fixating on creating an escape from reality, a new reality of sorts, instead of fixing our current realities to make it a better place to be and feel?
As I see it, it’s become a lot more about power and popularity than connection and sharing. There’s a lot of talk about creating space, and lifting people up (especially within the female community) but we also talk A LOT about ourselves.
In fact, if we were to be honest, most of us are pretty poor at active listening and truly offering support. We insert our own experiences, play the comparison game, and often question someone else’s behavior in the context of how it impacts us.
Ok, great. So then what? We acknowledge all this and just live with the seemingly opposing feelings. Right?
Well, we sit with them. Sure. Then, we consider their origin. The accuracy of them … are they just in line with stories we continue to tell ourselves or are they rooted in fact? Above all else, we try not to avoid them. Instead, we work through them. Most of you may immediately go to the flashy “self-care” tactics that inundate our news feeds and TV screens. Massage, meditation, bubble baths, retail therapy, etc.
What I propose is sharing. Just talk about it more with family, friends, complete strangers, or even your pets at home. Write it down. Type it out. It’s about seeking clarity and oftentimes, the feelings are more overwhelming when we keep them cozy inside our minds.
Another thing I’ve been working on is catching myself when I start to think too much ahead, whether it’s planning my son’s birthday or keeping track of to-dos at work. Bringing myself back to the here and now. What can I do right now? These are the techniques I’m leaning into to get over feeling “over it.”