Most women I know can relate to the reality of being completely stuck in their head. We overthink everything from what to fix for dinner to how our choices will screw our kids up when they’re older. We even think too much about which font matches our current mood in our digital planner the best! We get stuck in our heads over absolutely everything.
On one hand it’s nice to know that I’m normal. When I meet my girlfriends for drinks or coffee this is a topic we can all easily relate to.But I’d like to spend some time challenging this very normalized approach to life, and highlight what it is costing us as women.
When we get stressed out and overwhelmed, we disconnect our thoughts from our feelings. This is a normal part of the human experience. It’s brilliant actually because it allows us to survive short-term stress and get through the moment. We stop feeling and just manage the situation in the best way we know how.
Ideally, the crisis then resolves and we reconnect with our feelings and process the experience. Once we feel all the feelings we’re then able to integrate the experience and move forward. Fully thinking and feeling the life we are living. And in an ideal world, thinking and feeling happen simultaneously. We can react and respond in real time to all our experiences. From a loving gesture to our child, setting a boundary with our boss, to thinking about and preparing for an exciting getaway with our loved one. We flow through our day responding and interacting in a way that is true and connected to our personalities and who we are.
If you are laughing or rolling your eyes right now, I get it. I honestly don’t know this magical person either. I know a few people who are pretty close, but no one I know has a life that is so stress free they get to just be in real time responding to life all the time. I wanted to paint this picture because I don’t believe that many of us even know how locked up we are. We don’t realize how our over analyzing and overthinking of every aspect of life in order to “get it right” or “keep it together” is costing us valuable time, energy and resources. Most of us don’t realize that living this way is a choice. We certainly don’t know how to rewire or reinvent our reality in order to turn things around.
How this has happened is the result of a few things. For starters, many of us grew up in homes with overwhelmed and stressed out parents. Humans learn by example, so when we experience our parents being disconnected from their feelings and holding it together we think that approach is normal or the way it is supposed to be. When we are told to stop feeling as children and suck it up, we do. So, essentially for many of us, this approach is a learned behavior.
I also don’t know anyone who hasn’t been really overwhelmed or scared, especially since 2020. Everything about the way we do life has had to change and that is freaking stressful! To survive, we stop feeling and we think and try to control as much as we can, even in this out-of-control world that we are living in.
And it’s common for people to get stuck in a stress response if they have faced a number of stressful events. The emotions inside build up so high over time it feels like we’ll die if we have to leave our heads and go back into our bodies and feel them.
This creates a challenging reality, doesn’t it? Feel my feelings and completely fall apart or continue to not feel them and be miserable in a stressed out, overwhelmed life.
I’ll admit, there is no easy solution here. However, both choices have lasting consequences that I think are really important for each of us to understand.
Staying stuck in your head to overthink and over plan every aspect of your life and the life of your family removes all sense of inspiration and joy from your home. This means that your children experience a home where there is no inspiration, joy and connection. You see, we cannot have both. We cannot push away all the big, bad, sad and overwhelming feelings without also pushing away joy, connection, contentment and inspiration. Those deep feelings exist on the same plane. So while your family may look really good. Everyone dresses well, gets their homework done, eats healthily and talks about their day at the table, there is no feeling. The family doesn’t FEEL connection, joy, inspiration and motivation.
This is confusing for kids. Some kids mirror their parent(s)’ actions and overwork for perfection and love. While others rebel against this lack of integrity by acting out all feelings. They are doing the same thing we are doing just in the opposite way. They stop thinking and feel all the feelings for the family.
It will cost you and your family SO MUCH if you continue to stay stuck in your head in survival mode. I know it isn’t easy to reconnect with your body and feelings. You will have to let go of control of so many things. You will have to feel big, deep, scary feelings, and your life will feel messy which will probably cause other people to judge you. But let me tell you a secret. The only people judging messy families are the people not willing to live a real life. People who are not willing to feel their feelings and allow others to feel their feelings too. Those people judge messy/feeling families because it’s much easier to judge than to look at their own lack of joy and inspiration.
My challenge for you today is to begin the work of feeling again. Maybe for some, if you are like me, it will be a feeling for the first time. Truly feeling. Want to know how to get started? Self care. I know it sounds too simple, but I have done this myself and helped hundreds of others do it too. Begin by assessing what you need in one area of life and follow through on that need.
This means you will have to learn to tolerate the feelings of frustration and anxiety when you choose not to control life and what will happen next. You can’t control it anyway, and when you spend your life trying to predict everything that will happen next, you lose all sense of wonder, connection and meaning in this experience of life we are living. It’s miserable. Are you miserable? Are you miserable enough to begin to change?
We have a whole community of women who are done being miserable. We are working together to learn how to reconnect our heads and our hearts. We are learning how to let go of control and just live life. We are learning how to let our kids live their lives, make their choices and feel all their feelings. We are leading by example and we offer each other so much grace and understanding because we are all doing the hard work together. Join us!
My challenge to you today is to begin the work of feeling again, truly feeling. Do you want to know how? Self care. When we infuse our mind and heart with kindness and love it allows our defensive barriers to soften and open and we begin to come alive. We become inspired and we inspire everyone around us to begin the journey of feeling again too.