Might As Well Open to It

Opening to your feelings, even if they’re highly uncomfortable, is the only way to release them. Anything you deny, run from, or repress absolutely owns you, and any of those actions–choosing ignorance, fleeing from what you know to be true, or taking most of your energy and using it to push down what has come to the surface–will isolate you. You can’t turn to anyone because you’re not willing to face things as they are. No one can comfort you, because you aren’t dealing with your pain, you’re avoiding it. You may be desperate for relief, but if you’re in a blaming frame of mind, you won’t find any because you’ve made yourself powerless.

We all want connection, it’s the most natural thing in the world to us. We come into this world needing each other, and we go out needing each other, and in between, of course we need each other. The surest gateway to connection is understanding. When you’re able to lean into your own feelings, especially the charged ones, you recognize pain in someone else, and you can offer compassion. Just like that, you have connection, you have a shared understanding, not just about the pain of being human, but also the joy of it.

Last week I was crossing the street on my way to meet a friend. This woman, probably a decade or so older than me, was crossing from the other side, and it wasn’t a big deal, but we made eye contact, and didn’t break it after a split second like people normally do. She didn’t look down, and she didn’t look away from me. She seemed like a happy person, like she was enjoying life, at least in that moment, and we just smiled at each other, as if to say, “Isn’t this grand?” It made my day.

When you’re on the run, or you’re dealing with your own aversion to things as they are, you’re likely to create a story that justifies your feelings and behavior. Only people willing to accept your version of reality will be allowed in, and even then they can’t do much for you because deep down you know this story isn’t the thing. It’s something you’re clinging to, it’s something you’re using to shield yourself from the truth of your painful feelings. The simpler thing would be to drop the story and just feel whatever it is you need to feel. We build this stuff up in our minds. This idea that these feelings will overwhelm us. There are some things in this world that are so knifing, you might really need help to get through. Short of that, though, most charged feelings will not destroy you. We’ve all been enraged, jealous, insecure, clinging, dishonest with ourselves or others, ashamed, scared, confused, petty, judgmental, irrational, ridden with guilt, betrayed in some way or another. Some people have been abused, neglected, abandoned. Hopefully we’ve also known love, kindness, compassion, affection, loyalty, gratitude, and joy. The idea is to lean into all of it. It won’t always be light, and it won’t always be dark. You can’t control what life will put in your path, but you can work on the way you meet whatever it is. I highly recommend open eyes, open heart, open mind, and open hands.

I used to crave happiness, but somewhere along the way I became hungry for and curious about the truth. Let me know the truth of my own experience. Let me know the truth of the people in my life. Let me see clearly. Being happy in every moment is not possible or realistic. Being aware of what you’re feeling and able to receive it, absolutely is. Either way, you’re going to get some heartbreaking stuff and some stuff that will blow the lid off what you thought you knew about love; that’s the human experience. Might as well open to it.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

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