Today I’m feeling unappreciated and a bit defeated. At work. At home. As a mom. As a wife. I’m feeling a combination of emotions that are so overwhelming. But I won’t let them get the best of me because for the first time in my life I’m allowing myself to FEEL them. I know these feelings are temporary. I know that I’m not a bad mom or wife. I know that I’m not a bad employee. It’s just been one of those days. Fortunately, I’m dealing with it better than I used to.

For years I would sweep my emotions under the rug in hopes that they would just disappear. Then I could put on a happy face like everything is OK. And no one would think that I couldn’t handle it. Or that I wasn’t good enough. Or that things aren’t perfect.

And then I reached out to a blogger that I follow.

I had read a post of hers and it resonated with me. So I emailed her and told her what I was feeling and how her words had touched a nerve within me. To my great surprise, she responded. I told her what I was struggling with and how I questioned if what I was doing was right or wrong. I shared my guilt and my mixed feelings.

Her words were sincere and kind.

She told me that feelings aren’t moral. They just – ARE. So it’s best not to deny them. Here’s an excerpt of her reply to me:

“When you’re cold, you shiver — you don’t sit and lecture yourself for shivering, ask yourself why the hell are you shivering just because it’s cold? We accept physical reactions better than we do mental reactions. You feel sad because you’re receiving an emotional trigger. Not right, not wrong, just there. Allow yourself to shiver when you’re cold, you know? Don’t beat yourself up.”

This exchange occurred about a year ago. And a lot has happened in my life since then. My family has changed dramatically with the addition of my beautiful little girl. My marriage has been to hell and back, but is now thriving. My walls have gradually come down. My inhibitions are slowly melting away. Maybe it’s because I hit forty, I’m not sure. But I do believe it’s partly because I’ve finally convinced myself to deal with my emotions. To feel them as they occur. And let them move like a wave over my body, through my heart, and across my mind. Really feel them so that I can process them, deal with them, and let them pass on through.

I guess I’m finally learning to shiver when I’m cold. And it feels OK.