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Breakdowns Can Be Our Breakthroughs.

Once, I was writing in my journal and I got so sick of what I was writing, I threw my journal out in the trash.

Once when I was painting, I disliked an image so much that I used big globs of black paint to cover it up.

Once after gaining weight, I got so upset I no longer fit into my clothes I gave them all away.

And once, I was angry and sad and poured myself some wine and then said, screw it and poured myself some more.

For an instant, I felt relief. It felt really great in the moment.

But soon after, I missed the journal that held within its pages potential material for my memoir.

When I painted over my artwork, I felt like a failure. I no longer wanted to continue and it took some time for that desire to come back.

I lost the weight, eventually, and really wished I had my favorite good-money-spent outfits that I felt great wearing.

And of course, after all those glasses of wine I had one hell of a hangover.

What happens when we get in the mood to tear things up? When we want to react by destroying whatever’s in front of us?

We end up covering up a feeling.

Obviously, something powerful arose inside of me when I wanted to throw my journal away. It seemed easier to “just get rid of it” rather than keeping my pen moving across the page.

I may have had a release that was far more healing. I could have had a safe place to truly explore my feelings. Plus, it may have given me fresh insight — something undiscovered and revealing.

The time and attention I put into the specific detail in my painting before I covered it up came from presence and integrity. Once I slathered it with black paint, it was like burying myself.

There were other ways to move through the intensity of what I was experiencing. If I stayed present to what I was feeling, I could have met it with care, respect and attention.

Continuing to write or paint could have given me new awake energy rather than bitterness or shame.

Rather than bag up my clothes and give them away, I may have found myself sitting on the floor in my closet having a gentle cry.

The tears may have informed me why I was eating more than I wanted to. They may even have motivated me to start eating healthily.

And obviously, drinking was self-harming. Too often, when we want to destroy something, we end up hurting ourselves.

When we let ourselves feel what we’re feeling, we gain power and self-esteem.

We build a stronger infrastructure.

It’s a lie that if we block out, suppress, deny or push away our feelings, we’ll feel better. Feelings are like a powerful current of water that will break the dam eventually.

But instead of a dam, what breaks is our courage, morale and self-trust — and, more importantly, our hearts and our spirits.

THE TIP:

Destruction never benefits us OR feels good in the end. Instead, it destabilizes us.

Know that you’re safe to allow your feelings to pass. Trust that they’re there to guide you because something new is ready to be liberated.

Wishing you a week of breaking through!

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Lynn Newman