Numbing Comes In Many Forms

We live in a culture that numbs--heavily. With narcotics, greasy food, workaholism, driving fast, even exercise.

One of the most difficult realizations I've had in life thus far was that even AFTER I gave up drinking and drugging, even AFTER I gave up eating like crap, I was still numbing.

[Y'all are going to think I'm crazy because my new vices are the antithesis of what we think of when we think of vices. But I must say, I've worked hard to make them so.]

Reading is #1 on my personal list. I put my nose in a great big book when I start to feel insecure about work, when I feel sad about my mom being gone, when I'm trying to escape something.

If I can learn something new, I get a little buzz. Yes, it's the same kind I used to get from getting lit on a Friday night.

The truth is: a great habit poorly applied becomes dangerous, too. Your job is to find that tipping point--when what was once good for you is no longer serving you.

And at some point, you have to ask yourself: what am I so afraid of FEELING?

Vulnerability? Pain? Fear? Sadness? Failure? Acceptance?

Those are just feelings, nothing more. They can't hurt you.

All the psychological research supports this idea that you CANNOT selectively numb emotions. When you dull your sadness, you dull your love, joy, enthusiasm.

So I say: if you want to be happy, feel the shitty part first. Feel the guilt, shame, pain, vulnerability. Cry that out. Get it all on the table. Appreciate your imperfections, your humanity.

Don't dim. Don't dull. Don't go through the motions. Stop trying to manipulate what's going on outside you.

If you don't feel it, it owns you. Period.

It's really that simple.

The question now is simply whether you have the courage to feel what you already do.

Kate Ward