As a therapist, I have said similar words to clients and patients. If I am going to be honest, “Just sit with it” are four incredibly hard words. When I say anything remotely similar to others, I know how hard that is. As I sat with another therapist yesterday, I was discussing some things that were on my heart and became visibly upset. I began to cry, and I just could not stop. I would take my deep breaths and, at times, tried to hold my breath to keep from crying. (Yes, I know). Each time I would calm down, it would be just seconds before another wave of contemptible angst would just pour from my heart, and eyes. Again, I would let a little out and then do my best to suck it all back in as quickly as possible. It’s like a nurse who has to be a patient. If you don’t know any nurses, make friends with one and be around them when they are sick. They are not the best patients. But, I digress. The other therapist I was speaking with tells me to “Just sit with it. Whatever you are feeling right now, just sit with it.” Ugh!
Wanting to do everything but sit with it, I squirmed and looked at every object outside and inside where we were sitting. Took breaths as if I were in labor just to keep from crying even more. Any of my therapist friends who are reading this right now may be feeling my pain. Some of them may be giggling. The thing that happens when you shake a bottle or can of Coke (Yes, I said Coke which includes all carbonated soft drinks. I am from the South, don’t ya know.) is the same thing that happens when you have shaken up things inside of you and try to keep them contained. Sooner or later that pressure is going to be too much, and it will explode all over the place. I tried, and it did. I was a big, snotty, teary, swollen-eyed, red-nosed mess. I don’t regret exploding, but I just often do not like it.
It needed to happen when it did. To allow yourself to be vulnerable is one of the hardest things one will ever do. It’s a time racked with fear, anxiety, and the need for an exponential amount of chocolate or ice cream….or both. I know, however, that the only way to break free from any emotional imprisonment is to allow for that vulnerability. It truly sucks on every level, but it is freeing. You do have to be careful not to be vulnerable around unsafe people. I am grateful that I have someone I can feel safe with. I have a few of those people in my life whom I can be my most vulnerable, and they will just be gentle, loving, and gracious with no judgment.
The results of my vulnerability spewed all over the place yesterday are that I am exhausted, and I am completely drained and need to be filled, again. I have to chew on some things, and some of those things taste like yucky medicine, rolled around in poop, dipped in vinegar, and sprinkled with the truth that this has to be done. GROSS! It does have to be done if I want to grow and become a better, healthier me. And, I do want. I do need.
While all of this was painful and had me wailing from the deepest part of my being, I will talk with her, again. I will allow myself to be vulnerable and risk being that knowing that it is for my good. I will, again, be told to “Just sit with it,” and I begrudgingly will because I know the even bigger risk of not doing it. That’s a risk that I am just not willing to take. So, as one human to another, I want to tell you that those very hard, dark, gross, feelings you have are normal. They come as they should and trying to keep them enclosed in a shaken bottle is becoming dangerous. Whatever feelings come to the surface, let them come. Feel them. Just sit with them.