Everyone I know numbs themselves in some way or another. We are the most overweight, overmedicated, addicted and in-debt country in the world. Whether we are binging on the latest Netflix series or shopping on Amazon for the third time this week, we are doing the same thing over and over again – numbing. It is our go-to when things feel out of control in our lives and in our world. And boy do things feel out of control in the world right now.
Those who are living wholehearted lives work hard to deal with the emotions that come up when they feel out of control. This means they sit with the tough feelings and let them release through a practice of self-compassion and understanding. They might call a close friend or go see a therapist to move through something they become stuck on or feel powerless about. And most importantly, they take responsibility for their reality by focusing on how they can influence something even if they can’t control it.
The problem with numbing is that we never feel better afterward. We feel the same, if not worse. Nothing has been solved and we’ve spent zero time taking any personal responsibility for what has showed up in our lives. One way that I’ve found myself numbing is through food. During particularly stressful times I will find myself hiding in the pantry eating cookies while scrolling through Facebook, hoping my kids will leave me alone for a few minutes. I can tell you I never feel good after eating an entire box of Girl Scout cookies and looking at my friend’s latest vacation to Hawaii.
The first step is recognizing your tendencies and emotional patterns that keep showing up in your life. Ask yourself, what is it that I am avoiding right now? What is it that I really need and how am I responsible (at least in part) in what is going on? Then use the wholehearted guidepost #2 of cultivating self compassion. For more on how to do this, visit http://self-compassion.org.