Let it Flow.

“Let it go.”

“Suck it up.”

“Get over it.”

“Could you just move on?”

The next person to say any of version of these phrases directly to me or anyone in my radius will get in return an eye roll so large that a portal to another dimension will open.  For anyone who has gone through something painful or traumatic (read: most everyone), the ability to flip a  switch and to just “Let it go” is far too simple.  If it were that easy we’d all be blissful ninnies.  Hey Elsa!  Emotions are meant to be FELT. You ran away from your problems and locked yourself in an ice castle. Not exactly the healthiest reaction, either, huh, princess?

We’re told again and again, whether directly to our faces or through what we’re shown in the media that dwelling on a ‘bad’ feeling for longer than a minute is weak, unproductive. The moment we feel ‘off’ or ‘bad,’ our initial reaction is that there is something WRONG with us. However, there is a significant difference between, “I don’t want to feel this” and “I shouldn’t be feeling this.”  Feeling crappy is, well, crappy.  But it’s normal. It’s healthy sometimes.

Now, of course, as with anything there are extremes. If you lock yourself in your room for weeks on end and wallow in your misery (like Elsa, for example), we got a problem.  Feeling low or down and out is okay. Again, and I can’t repeat myself enough here,  emotions are MEANT to be felt.  We live in such a crazy culture, one that advocates burying feelings, denying emotions, and distracting ourselves from anything that that makes us sad.  At 30 years young, I have witnessed all sorts of coping mechanisms–some healthy, some not so much.  We all have our personal coping mechanisms that we turn toward—we think we know what works for us.

The strongest individuals, though, are not those that “suck it up” and “move on,” essentially shoving those painful feelings deep down inside never to come out again in a healthy way, but are the ones who face them head on. Who feel them and process them. Who go through the turmoil.  Not get over it.  Not let it go.  But go through it.  It isn’t easy, but it’s immensely beneficial.

And so, there are plenty of the walking wounded out there. Everyone’s got a story. Some have many. The real benefit of feeling your feelings?  You begin to understand that you are human.  You begin to understand that your emotions won’t be the end of you.  You also get to understand how strong you truly are.

Forget “Let it go.”  How about, “Let it flow”? How about let the emotion run its course.  Great times don’t last forever…and neither do bad times.

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