A lot of the time the kind of self care that I talk about is light and fluffy and NICE. It’s colourful artwork with motivational quotes, cups of tea and walks outside in the fresh air. This is intentional; the world is dark enough as it is, and in creating Tilly & Type, I wanted to make something to shed a little light, create a little safe space, a bit of flowers and fuzzy feelings to go around.
But today, I wanted to talk about a not-so-nice bit of self care, that isn’t so light and fluffy, but I’m finding is more and more important lately for me. Part of my self care is embracing my “bad” feelings. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with yet, then that’s okay, but I do encourage anyone who can explore their feelings to keep reading and try it for themselves.
By “bad” feelings, I mean those that I don’t enjoy feeling, the ones for which my first instinct is to push them away, make them better, ignore them, make myself feel happier. Anxiety, fear, worry, anger, shame and guilt, just to name a few.
Although experiencing these feelings can be uncomfortable, lately I’ve started trying to embrace them when they appear. If I notice myself feeling anxious, I try to allow myself to really feel it. There are lots of other things I might do, such as go out into nature, or take a moment to breathe, and I talked about these in our new zine. But one page that I think I should have talked about more was the page titled “Feel”.
“When you notice an uncomfortable feeling, instead of resisting it or ignoring it, notice it. Acknowledge the feeling. Allow it to be present and be okay with that.”
This is the first step, being able to be mindful in the moment of a “bad” feeling and realise you’re feeling it, put a name to it. But I didn’t talk about the next step, which is really the reason why I’m asking you to embrace the feeling.
What can you learn from this feeling? What is it trying to tell you?
My anxiety might be telling me that I’m outside of my comfort zone. My anger might be telling me that someone crossed a boundary. My shame might be telling me that I think I’ve not lived up to an expectation or ideal that I (no one else) am holding myself to.
So next time you’re experiencing a “bad” feeling, before you try to make it better with breathing and an affirmation, allow yourself to wonder what the feeling is telling you. You may find that it’s something you can incorporate into your self care routine by acting on it (such as cutting out that toxic friend who makes you feel guilty), or by reminding yourself of the real truth (such as when you’re worrying about something that isn’t a real possibility).
Then, you can always do a bit of the light and fluffy stuff too.