Those of us who have done a little bit of emotional eating in our day are really trying to avoid Feeling The Crappy. You won’t find any of us wearing t-shirts saying “I feeling my feelings!” We have performed amazing feats of distraction–overwork, overeating, overthinking, over-shopping, over-you-name-it, just to keep from being with ourselves. The problem is, we are already with ourselves. And, The Crappy is already there too. What we are doing is fighting The Crappy, which ups the intensity of The Crappy by about a factor of 10.
The best way to deal with The Crappy is to feel it. Truly.
Here’s an example. My client Lola*, has a thing about getting it all done. She will set a deadline for herself and push everything else out of her life to make it happen–other projects, exercise, socializing, and fueling her body. She recently realized she was operating in this pattern again, but instead of beating herself up or trying to push her feelings away, she did this:
“Right now, just articulating that I’m in the weird getting it done funk has helped a little. This time I’m watching myself do this, and saying why am I doing this? It’s progress… but it feels harsh because I’m not eating it away, I’m actually feeling what this is like–the stress, the tiredness, the strain.”
What’s she’s doing is perfect, she’s feeling The Crappy around her behavior, which is causing her to examine it and decide what she wants to do differently. If she does not feel The Crappy, she does not get to make a different choice.
How to feel The Crappy.
1. Locate it.
Where specifically are you feeling these emotions in your body? In your chest, heart, head, stomach? Scan your body and notice what you feel. You can actually feel the physical manifestation of your emotion.
2. Name it.
What exactly is the emotion you’re feeling? If this is hard to do, you can start with asking yourself if you feel sad, glad, mad or scared. Notice the difference between thoughts (I feel fat, I feel worthless, I feel gross) and emotions (I feel lonely, I feel anxious, I feel peeved). Naming the emotion helps you connect with feeling it.
3. Lean into it.
Instead of pushing The Crappy away, lean into it. I do this by visualizing myself leaning into wherever I feel the emotion in my body and allowing the emotions to come. Often my clients tell me they believe they will be consumed by the emotion if they do this. The truth is resisting the emotion and eating it down is consuming them. Feeling an emotion allows you to get to the other side of it, to process it. Then, like Lola, you gain clarity about your situation and decide what you want to do, rather than continuing to react and feel stuck. The thing about feeling The Crappy is that once you allow it, the feeling dissipates.
This is what Lola reported after feeling The Crappy:
“Big sigh of relief over here–and what made me laugh at myself is that it all was truly my creation, my fabrication… what up with that? It’s kind of comical now to think about.”
When you can laugh at yourself again, you know you’ve come out the other side.
*When you’re my client and I use your story in a blog post, you get to pick your own pseudonym. 😉
My friend and fellow coach Dani Fake Webb was thinking along the same lines with this post where she gets even more specific on how to feel your feelings.