Yesterday I had a few conversations with students and friends where each of us at one point were somewhat beating ourselves up for feeling a particular way.
For the student, it’s something I hear from time to time from those who have an accommodation. Accommodations can be for a multitude of things–from social anxiety to dyslexia to migraines. The thing I hear is that they are embarrassed to tell their professor and ashamed of asking for help. For some it comes from that damn Puritan ethic. For others it comes from the different societal voices that both men and women experience that tell us to “man-up” or “you can do everything”, or if I ask for help somehow I am less adequate than others. What I try to communicate to any student in this situation is that if I know the full situation I can help make their learning environment better for them. But if I don’t know, what could be a reasonable accommodation looks like a student who just doesn’t care. We also discuss the shame a bit, and talk about ways of helping ourselves through it. Brene Brown can tell you more.
For the friend and for myself it was feeling bad about “feeling bad” about a situation where we were “supposed” to be feeling another way. For all of us, the tendency to want to bury the feeling, hide from it, push it away, often only makes it worse. So I say, let yourself feel it, don’t dwell and wallow in it, but truly feel it, own it and then find a way to understand it and let it go.
Rilke helps too. This translation from Joanna Macy and Anita Barrow’s, A Year with Rilke.
Were you not always distracted by yearning,
as though some lover were about to appear?
Let yourself feel it, that yearning.
It connects you with those
who have sung it through the ages,
sung especially of love unrequited.
Shouldn’t this oldest of sufferings
finally bear fruit for us?
[…] on yesterday’s Let yourself feel, are these words from Yann Martel’s Life of […]