You find yourself in love with your best friend’s wife. You realize you hate your college major. You no longer feel attracted to your partner. This is very inconvenient isn’t it? Don’t you wish you could just stop feeling that way?
The number-one reason folks see me for therapy is because they think somehow I will make their feelings go away. Or talk them out of it. But the truth is that these inconvenient feelings are just part of life. And they really stink.
Learning how to deal with inconvenient feelings is really hard since you grew up without being allowed to express them. Your parents never taught you how to stick with your feelings and manage them. They just told you to ‘suck it up’. And they didn’t even know how to deal with their own feelings, never mind yours.
Even though you don’t want to feel them, those feelings will not disappear. You have to tolerate them. You didn’t plan to fall out of love with your husband. But it happened. And now you need to deal with it. All the guilt in the world will not make those inconvenient feelings go away.
Ignoring how you feel will lead to misery. You will get angry and depressed. You will alienate those around you who you love. You may use drugs and alcohol to cope. There will be no way to make things better while you are in denial about your feelings.
When you are able to accept the truth about how you feel, you can find the strength to do something about it. You can tell your parents you’ve decided to change your career and enroll in another college even though you will lose some money. You can choose to go to couples counseling to work on your marriage or begin the process of divorcing. None of these will be easy but people do them all the time. And so can you.
Once you are able to embrace your inconvenient feelings you will see that they were just a way of showing you that there is something very important you need to do to make your life more fulfilling. They were just a way of telling you it is time to make a change.
And you will look back on inconvenient feelings and see they were more convenient than you thought.