Giving to yourself: Sit with it

image by Valenty

Do you remember the feeling of wanting to run away from yourself because of the distress and discomfort you felt within? The feelings of sadness, anger or pain inside of you that you wished you could escape from or numb so that you no longer feel? You may even be experiencing it now.

Sit with it.

To sit with your feelings means to accept and tolerate them as they flow through you. It is not the easiest thing to do as the mind and body consistently work towards avoiding pain and discomfort.

Sit with it. Difficult? Yes but it has benefits.

When you learn to sit with your negative feelings, you learn self-control. It is a difficult type of self-care. You learn to not react to your uncomfortable emotions as many of these reactions can be self-destructive. You may lash out at those close to you because you are irritated or upset, smoke and drink excessively, have reckless sexual encounters to feel anything other than pain, use harmful drugs or make poor, poor decisions that lead you into further trouble.

Sitting with your feelings teaches you about the ebb and flow of emotions. You learn that feelings are temporary. The intensity of your anger will decrease over time and when you are calmer, if you had sat with it, there will be little damage to repair. It teaches you to be patient, to act slowly and gently, to calm down, to think, to listen to yourself and to wait.

“If you can sit with your pain, listen to your pain and respect your pain — in time you will move through your pain.”
Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

It does not mean to sit quietly and suppress your feelings. It looks different for different emotions and different circumstances. The important thing is that you are confronting, accepting and learning to bear your own emotions.

Sitting with your sadness can be lying curled up on the floor in your room crying and screaming without rushing to the bottle of alcohol in the fridge or the half-smoked blunt in your ashtray.

Sitting with your anger can look like taking a walk down the street and punching in the air to release the tension in you. It can be taking a deep breath before you respond with an attitude to your friend’s question because your pain has nothing to do with them. It can be locking yourself in your room so you do not act out your frustration and hurt another.

Sitting with confusion can look like laying down on your bed in your room in silence.

Learn, my dear friend, how to see and carry your own pain. Not to run from it, project it or deny it but to recognise it, acknowledge it, accept it, express it and bear it. Let it flow through you and then out of you.

Sit with it.

Sit still.

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