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  • James McPartland

Access Point: Feeling All Feelings

"Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility”

— James McPartland

Access Point: Feeling All Feelings | Blog post by James McPartland | Speaker, Author, Executive Coach

We want life to be as magical and painless as possible. Yet it often seems to have other plans and a way of humbling us. Setbacks and heartbreak are written into our unwritten agreement with the world.

Everything in life, including life itself, is temporary. We are young until we are not. We are healthy until we are not. We are masters of the universe until we are not. We are with those we love until we are not. We are here until we are not.

There is a relentless assumption that we need to do something when we experience inner turmoil. We must fix, numb, control, or exert willpower over it. Simultaneously, we struggle to maintain the illusion that we are upbeat and in control as we slay those dragons of excruciating emotion.

Perhaps what we really need is to come to a place of experiencing all feelings not as good or bad, but just for what they are, temporary and transitory. They are here to teach us something if we are willing to listen for the lesson. Put another way, do nothing so you can tune into something. If we can resist the urge to escape through the exit doors of introspection, emotions can be insightful teachers.

Is it that simple? Yes. Is it that easy? No.

It may be that one of our greatest human triumphs is in recognizing our power of choice and therefore choosing to:

  • Feel all feelings

  • Make room for both the joy and inevitable pain that life affords

  • Be more self-aware, so not to turn fears into facts

  • See a thought as only a thought

  • Experience emotions as a source of information, not direction

  • Remember that everything in life, including life itself, is temporary

I leave you today with this-- something to consider while practicing the simple, yet not-so-easy act of feeling all feelings:

Not doing the things we told ourselves we are going to do can be an act of self-sabotage, an attack on the execution of our highest values. Making choices and negotiating relationships without a clear set of governing values at the front of your mind can be exhausting. When we periodically review and refine our values, align them with our goals and priorities, we come to find that we will be consistently reminded when we are off track. Our feelings (or gut instincts), frequently ask us to review the progress we are making on the path to whom we are striving to become.

Life can be beautiful, and we all learn how truly fragile it can be. Let us not face the world each day with everything up for grabs. To squeeze the juice out of life is to surf all of the emotions life will bring. Seek to understand the purpose of your emotions. What are they trying to tell you? Buried underneath the joy, frustration, and sadness (to name only a few), are the torch-lit rest stops that ask us to assess where the compass of life is looking to lead us and to clarify what we have learned along the way.


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