Going towards, or staying with the feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness and so on, has to be one of the most difficult mindfulness practices that one can partake in.
There’s a natural inclination that accompanies unpleasant feelings – a need to escape, to hide, to block them out, to get the hell away!
And that’d be fine – if it actually worked.
But of course, it doesn’t. Because no matter how many times you run, hide or dampen with avoidance, alcohol, donuts or shopping, these same feelings have a way of coming back.
I came across a phrase recently that really summed it up nicely:
What you resist, persists.
When you avoid or distract ourselves from these uncomfortable feelings, refusing to face them, they only become more fearful, more upsetting, more worrisome… like the imaginary monsters living under a child’s bed.
Instead, though, if you try and stay with these feelings – to explore them with curiosity and acceptance – then you might come to see them in a whole different light.
When you get comfortable at being uncomfortable, you might just find that these feelings aren’t quite the big, scary monster you’d thought them to be, but rather the scared child, simply looking to be safe and loved; simply in need of a little reassurance.