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Why you should accept your thoughts, feelings and emotions

Updated: May 11, 2022

Hiya! Another month, another post.

I arrived to a few conclusions about these posts:

  1. I won’t talk about technical painting stuff (at least not often) as I am self-taught myself and I don’t think this is my main focus.

  2. What I do want to talk about is mental health, movement, happiness, emotions, psychology, etc. For painters and non-painters. I love these topics and I’d love to help people (and myself) somehow.

  3. I also want to relate these posts with my current paintings, storytelling.

  4. I need lists. I couldn’t express these thoughts without a list without getting lost in thought lol.

So the post of today comes with my last 2 paintings. I may make a collection out of them or it may stay as it is. I called this small collection 'Windows'. This collection represents the human feelings beneath the surface.

All of us have thoughts, feelings and emotions. These are within us, and we are very good at covering them up. We don’t want other people to be aware of them, we don’t want to seem weak, and we don’t want other people feel sorry for us. I always find it funny when people ask: “how are you?” (or equivalents in other languages), just expecting an answer such as: “I’m alright”, “I’m good”, or “not too bad”. The worst of all is: "Not too bad". Not too bad? It means you feel shit but don’t want to commit suicide yet?

This doesn’t only happen towards the outside, it also happens towards the inside. What I mean is that we don’t like to show certain emotions to other people, and we don’t accept them in ourselves either. This is something I am guilty of doing too. I don’t like it when I’m sad, I think "Why can’t I just be happy today?". And I think we all generally blame ourselves for not always being productive and positive. But why should we? It’s normal to have ups and downs. It’s ok to be sad one morning and cry, it’s ok to be angry at how the world is right now and it’s ok to feel frustration and even envy sometimes… I’m not saying just accept it and don’t do anything about it, of course try to help yourself feel better. But at the same time, stop punishing yourself for not being always 100%.

Imagine this situation: you wake up feeling sad. You wake up but don’t want to get up yet, so you end up rushing, running like mad around the house or you will be late. You go to work where you work with custumers. Of course, as a good “professional” you keep your feelings in and smile in front of the clients. This makes you feel even worst because you feel fake, you end up getting tired of the fake smile and the fake energy, and you also blame yourself for not feeling good most of the time. Your colleague asks you how are you, you say, not too bad. Sad as f*ck but you’re not going to say that, are you? In the meantime your feelings build up within you, and you get more and more sad, more and more depressed.

The thoughts keep spinning in your head over and over, each time a worst case scenario, repeating the past and the future. Then a customer shouts at you when you don’t think you have done anything wrong, and you keep the calm during the storm, but afterwards you go to the toilet and cry. Finally, you go back home after a shit day and you want to be sad, cry and talk about it. But your partner/friend/whoever you live with, tells you that you are too much, you are making them sad or depressing them. So you stop and just go to bed, where again you can’t sleep because your thoughts keep attacking you. So you also have a bad night, only sleep 5 hours and have to go back to work the next day. Sound familiar?

Now imagine this other situation: you wake up feeling sad. Because of that you get up when the first alarm rings and you decide to have a good shower, or meditate for 5 minutes, or stretch, or go for a quick walk. You don’t feel like it but you know it will help you stop focusing on your thoughts, which can be also quite irrational, so you do it anyway and show yourself some self-love. After this, you feel a bit better. You are still sad but at least the thoughts are not torturing you. You go to work and have a chat with your colleagues, you express how you feel, they listen to you and accept these feelings. They may try to make you feel better or just listen to you without judging, so you can relax in your workplace instead of hiding within. Customers arrive; you understand it’s ok to not be your best today, so you’re not too hard on yourself. You give them a good customer service within your abilities. You take a breath in your lunchbreak, or play some music which helps you relax and calms down your nervous system. A customer shouts at you when you don’t think you have done anything wrong, so you politely ask them to be respectful. Then you go inside and rant with your colleagues, maybe cry and get some comforting hugs. Finally you go back home after a shit day. And you want to be sad, cry and talk about it. Your partner/friend/whoever you live with listens to you and accepts your feelings, and tells you that it’s ok to be sad, that you are worthy as you are. You go to bed, still feeling sad but accepted and loved, and have a decent night sleep.

My conclusions about thoughts, feelings and emotions are:

  1. Thoughts are not real. Our thoughts cause our emotions. You think something is terrible, but ask yourself: Is this thought real? Would I be ok if it was?

  2. Only the present is real. Overthinking about the past and future doesn’t get us anywhere, we are just torturing ourselves for nothing as we can’t change the past and the future doesn’t even exist yet. Ask yourself: Can I do something about this issue right now? If it’s something in the future and you can’t take any action now, maybe take a note so you don’t forget and move on. Or if it’s something that happened in the past, just accept it happened and realise that thinking about it won’t change it.

  3. It's your choice. There are things that we can do to slow down the thoughts, or make ourselves more present: stretching, taking some deep breaths, going for a walk, being in nature, practising yoga, having a shower, exercise, meditation, art…

  4. We are harder on ourselves than anybody else would be on us.

  5. Self-love. It’s ok to not feel 100%. You don’t always have to be productive, or happy, or positive. But you can love yourself anyway despite your feelings. You are worth it no matter how you feel. We all are unique special human beings, no matter what. And feeling shitty doesn’t make us any less special.

  6. It is nice to listen and embrace other’s feelings instead of dismissing them or blaming them for making us feel worst.

  7. If we created a society where it’s ok to not be ok (where we all always have days when we don’t feel good), we can share more of how we feel, and get support and love despite it, then we would be able to share and be real, feeling better within ourselves and in this world.

  8. Again, I need lists lol

I am not sure if this is a thought for you guys or it is a thought for myself. I need to remind myself of these things as I am human and struggle with it just like anybody else. I want to try to accept how I feel instead of blaming myself. I want to be better at listening and not dismissing other’s feelings. I want to not be uncomfortable when somebody else shows me how they feel. I want to be more present and slow down those thoughts that don’t serve me. And if we all tried, I think we would be able to offer more support to each other and we would have happier lives for it. And also I think the world would be a better place for humans and animals on earth.

Some books that have helped me are: “El arte de no amargarse la vida” (Rafael Santandreu),” The power of now” (Eckhart Tolle) and “The artist’s way” (Julia Cameron).

How do you feel today? Do you need some support? You can tell me anything, it doesn't matter who you are :).

What do you think about these ideas? How do you help yourself deal with your thoughts, feelings and emotions? What do you do to help others?

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