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Posts Tagged ‘Meredith Creek’

Growing up we hear many messages about feelings. Some people are raised in an environment where no expression of feeling is permitted and “rub some dirt on it” is the response for everything. Others are raised in homes where feelings run around as freely as the persons residing there. Neither is healthy.

People have asked me, “How do I learn to just not be angry?” or “What can I do to just get over it?” My answer to those questions has been this, “Anger and other feelings serve a valid purpose in our lives. We don’t want to ‘just get over them.’ We want to feel them, process them, and then be okay with moving on from them. The problem comes when in response to the feeling we behave in an ineffective way.”

Running from or freely throwing around how we feel can cause serious complications in our lives. By avoiding the feeling, we are denying ourselves one of the most important aspects of being human. We are alive and with that comes an array of good and bad feelings in reaction to what is happening around us. Not permitting ourselves to feel leads to a bottling up of feelings that can then be stored out of our consciousness. Those stored feelings of anger, regret, loneliness, hopelessness, anxiety, etc. can eventually reach a point of explosion and the result may be something we are not prepared to handle. I have heard people say, “I don’t know what happened, I just snapped.” I can give you an idea of what happened… You allowed yourself to not feel and built a pile that was bound to come toppling down at some point.

Now, we can also carry our expression of feelings to the extreme which can backfire as easily as not expressing them at all. When feelings are flying around untamed people and things can be damaged. For instance, if your loved one is always sharing his/her feeling about everything that occurs, it can create a barrier in the relationship. A thought can then be created that you must “walk on eggshells” every time you are around that person because that person will certainly let you know how he/she feels. This can sometimes be expressed in physical ways which we all know is not appropriate.

We must learn to notice our feelings – even the ugly ones – feel them and then determine what we are going to do to respond. Are we going to talk with a friend or family member? Are we going to let ourselves cry? Are we going to write about it in a journal? Sometimes our feelings warrant doing nothing more than noticing. Sometimes they just want us to know they are there and to not be judged, but accepted.

Perhaps I use a bit of reverse CBT with clients in that I encourage them to first become aware of the feelings they are experiencing, notice them, but not get stuck in them. After this, I suggest they observe the environment for evidence that supports the feeling while not judging themselves, the feeling, or the process. Once the feeling is brought to awareness and the situation has been explored, they can then back up to discover what the thought was that preceded that feeling. A thought precedes every feeling, but the feelings are often most noticeable because they create a physiological response that is hard to ignore.

If a situation provides evidence that the thought and subsequent feeling are rational, nothing needs to be done. However, if there is little proof to suggest that the thought we are having is a healthy, rational thought given the situation, we must then work to change that thought or our feelings are not going to align well with what’s going on around us. I see this all the time with individuals who struggle with all types of mental health concerns. What happens most often is that the thinking and feelings are not always in line with the events that have occurred.

Regardless, we all must become aware of our feelings and not be afraid to express them in a healthy manner when needed. We must accept that no one is exempt from having feelings. We are all humans with very real feelings, but if we bottle them up or toss them around too lightly, we can be setting ourselves up for situations or problems we then are unsure how to manage.

One more thought… Know that it is never within our control to determine how another person feels. While our actions may contribute to the development of a feeling, it is ultimately the other person’s decision how they choose to feel as a result.

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Amid all of the weather news that has been occuring today in northern Kentucky and portions of the counties where my family live, I received an email with exciting news…

“This Side of the Creek” has been named a finalist in the Associated Press Society of Ohio news competition for the second year in a row! And once again, my colleagues at the Times-Gazette in Highland County also garnered several awards. Love those guys (and gals). Lora Abernathy, the Ohio Community Media southwest online editor, and I entered our blogs after winning first and second place in the competition last year. Lora and I received those places again this year and it is to be determined which place we took. At least we know we aren’t third, lol…

In May, we will find out for sure as we’ll head back to Columbus to accept and celebrate these awards with fellow newspersons from across the state. Sixty-seven newspapers entered close to 3,000 samples in categories such as blog writing, news feature writing, headline writing, photography, mulitmedia use, sports and front page layouts, etc.

Considering the hesitation I had when deciding to start “This Side of the Creek,” I am quite proud to have sustained this blog and the tremendous readership. Some days I’m at a loss for words and I shy away from posting. Other days it’s as if the words pop into my head and out the ends of my fingertips before I have a chance to take a breath. And there are even days when I doubt everything posted here and question whether I should continue on. I may ask myself, “Who really wants to read this? Why would they care about my words?” Those questions, however, are precisely why I keep going. They afford me the motivation and understanding of how I want to move forward with “This Side of the Creek.” In doing so, I aim to be as real as I can about issues that are often sugarcoated in our society.

As I prepare to turn off my television after hours of storm monitoring, my fear has gone and I’m feeling humble at this time for some good news today. I thank you all for helping to make this second AP award possible. Without you, “This Side of the Creek” would be lonely!

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An ephiphany. An “Aha!” moment. A breakthrough. They are those times in life when something that was once so confusing, even incredibly stressful, suddenly makes sense and you breathe a sigh of relief. You know, the moments when you see through new eyes for the first time and you smile knowing that it’s going to be OK.

I had one such moment tonight as I was sitting across from a friend and sharing struggles that have for so long seemed to not make sense. Without disclosing the details, I can say that I realized tonight that the person I am is A-OK. She is a beautiful, unique survivor of life’s trials and a woman who has within her reach all that she dreams of. Notice, I did not say “She is perfect,” as perfection is possible only by the man upstairs and to strive for such a thing is to miss out on who we really are. Trust me on that one. I spent many years trying to achieve that goal and once I realized I don’t have to be and can’t be perfect, it was like, “Whew, thank goodness.”

As we grow and learn in life, we may think that we must become something different than who we are. We may try to fit a mold that is constantly changing shapes or we may think too much is wrong with us and our days are spent considering what we need to do to make us better. When are we OK? And who is really drawing the blueprints we think we should follow?

No two things are alike. Therefore, “ideals” cannot truly apply to a party greater than one. What is ideal for me may not be ideal for you and the path I’m on may not be similar to the path you’re on. The important thing is to accept our paths for what they are today and if those paths are headed in unhealthy directions, make a choice to change them.

I don’t believe all has been revealed or that my “Aha!” moments are over. Those moments are a part of continued development that occurs throughout life. For today, I am enjoying my new outlook on myself and appreciating who I am because, again, I am A-OK.

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