“Is it okay that I feel like this?” and “Am I normal for feeling like this?” are two of my most frequently asked questions when people share their struggles and experiences with me. And every time my answer is “It’s 100% okay to feel how you feel.” There isn’t a party line of standardised feelings and responses.

Each and every one of us has a personality, character, circumstances, resources, level of abundance and backstory individual to us. How we respond in any given situation is based on 1) those six factors and 2) well, being human.

If you feel unexpectedly happy despite the bloody coronavirus situation we find ourselves in, it’s okay. What’s the point in shaming and guilting you into feeling like shit?

If you feel exhausted, low, anxious and resentful on what might feel like a roller coaster of emotions, that’s okay too. No, it doesn’t mean that you have to dine out on these feelings day in day out, and it’s certainly not as though you have to resign yourself to them, but you’ve been through some stuff.

Accepting that you feel as you do can be the gateway to acknowledging the journey you travelled to this point. It’s normal to feel this way given whatever you’ve been through.

Not exactly chomping at the bit to check up on people that you don’t normally engage with and where there’s maybe a level of tension, friction and resentment in the relationship(s)? Guess what? That’s okay too. When we’re honest about how we feel instead of suppressing and repressing it and then it manifesting itself in our mental health and what might at times be our passive-aggression, we get to make a conscious choice about 1) how to take care of us and 2) how to engage with this person from a boundaried place.

Should-ing you into doing something only leads to guilt and resentment. Yes, you might be doing ‘good’ things, but you’re doing them for the wrong reason.

If you feel paralysed about what to do in terms of work, mate, I get you! Sitting there feeling embarrassed because you haven’t fired off a load of email newsletters, transitioned your business online a hot minute after lockdown or worked out of all your offers isn’t the way. It’s okay to feel confused and uncertain. Again, you don’t have to move in on a permanent basis with these feelings.

Compassionately investigating why you feel how you do yields better results than clobbering you with comparison and shame.

Miss your ex even though they didn’t treat you with love, care, trust and respect? So common, it’s why so many of us put our hands in the flames of our old relationship several times before finally accepting that the fire burns.

How you feel is how you feel. And it’s normal. It isn’t a permanent statement of the future though, so you don’t need to judge you into doing something you’ll regret, resent or shame you about.

Thoughts precede feelings.

Acknowledge contributing factors so that you can understand the messages contained in your emotional responses. Given that thoughts precede feelings, it’s also worth acknowledging anything you’re saying to and about yourself and life, whether it’s consciously or not, that contributes to and exacerbates repeat feelings. While it’s normal to feel whatever we feel, sometimes what’s making a feeling or set of feelings ‘the norm’ is our habits. If we’ve spent six months thinking about our ex as soon as we wake up and then while we’ve, for example, showered, commuted, daydreamed in meetings, etc, it’s normal to still feel that way because it’s become a habit.

Rushing you to feel differently without acknowledging what you feel and why slams the door on your self. It also tends to heighten the feeling and add more meaning than it needs. The sooner that you accept what you’re feeling without judging you, not only can you begin to move on from it, but you can identify what you need. Because ultimately, whatever you’re feeling, it’s trying to offer clues about how to take better care of you.

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