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Conceal, Don’t Feel

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my wants, needs, and feelings. During my growing up years, I somehow ended up with the belief that having wants, needs, and feelings are signs of “weakness,” unless of course you’re sick and then you get a pass–probably because you’re already “weak” (yes, I now intimately know that it takes more strength to be sick than it takes to be healthy). I’ve been digging around in those beliefs in my quest for health. It’s sad how easy it is to ignore those things.

When we watched Frozen, we talked to our kids about feelings and how if you suppress them, they end up breaking out all over the place and hurting others (and often yourself). As I was thinking about this, I realized the problem with my wants, needs, and feelings is not their weakness, but rather their strength. They change my direction, like the ocean currents. They overwhelm me. Imagine if they were harnessed–where could they take me?

I also realized that God made me with those things. Every human has wants, needs, and feelings. To act like I don’t have them is to live contrary to my very nature. In essence, I am telling God that He made a mistake in the way He created me. It’s serious business to live like a stoic.

Thus, I can continue to ignore my wants, needs, and feelings unless I’m sick, thereby creating an environment where my body is safer when it’s sick, or I can fight to break that default setting and pay attention to them, to harness them. Change is scary and, like Elsa, it’s easy to believe that “conceal, don’t feel” is safer for myself and for those around me. But “conceal, don’t feel” doesn’t get rid of my stuff, it just creates a situation ripe for something to explode.

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