• Jackie Brubaker

Food For Thought: Why It Feels So Good To Feel So Bad

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

Okay, so let’s be honest here. While no one intentionally goes out of their way to feel bad sometimes in the strangest way it can just happen. Like, when you’re curled up on the couch with a big fuzzy blanket, watching your favorite sad movie, the one that really gets to to have that good cry it can, dare I say it, feel good? Or, when you call someone or text them about something that’s happened to you and they instantly come to your defense telling you how unfair something is and how you absolutely are the victim it can feel, well, nice?

If you’ve felt like this before trust me, you’re not alone. But, did you know there’s a reason for this and it all starts back in your crib. No, not your apartment. Like, where babies sleep.

When we were babies we were completely helpless and reliant on our parents. We would cry or fuss and they would come rushing to our aid. We eventually understood that crying meant attention. I’m sure if you’re a parent you’re all too familiar with this and wish for the love of the sleep you once knew you could make it stop. But, your reaction is the same as millions of parents over the course of millions of years. Cry— go.

Now as adults we’re not given such attention all of the time. If I cry all alone with no one around my neighbor isn’t going to hear me and come banging on my front door to see if I’m all right and ask how they can make me feel better. We’re going to have to cry it out or in the very least text or call someone. And, that’s where I’m going with all of this. When we call someone to make us feel better we’re copy catting what we did as babies and hoping for the same effect. Attention.

It feels good to feel that someone will come to your rescue and make you feel better. It also feels good to make someone feel better. I certainly love helping people in all kinds of way when they need it, especially when a friend calls me with an issue. While I don’t always have the answers, because I’m a big believer in people deciding largely how to fix their own problems, I’m more than happy to shed some light on things or give a different perspective if asked.

But, when we constantly call, text or look for someone to act as the preverbal scratching post to our bad feelings while it may feel good in the moment it can create codependency.

Now, I’m not saying to not reach out or to not tell people how you’re feeling and stuff it all inside. Hell no. Please feel your feelings and express them and talk to someone about them. What I am saying is don’t make it a habit of falling apart all of the time because you know deep down you’re going to get the hit of attention your inner baby is addicted to.

Self soothing is a big help. You essential act as your own parent and help yourself feel better without wallowing in your pain. But, before you can self soothe you have to have that good cry and feel those feelings. That’s when you get to take care of yourself without the intention of feeling good in feeling bad. Focus on breathing in the moment. Then focus on the pain you might be feeling however big or small. You could be feeling really frustrated or angry. Feel it and then ask yourself, what do I need right now and what can I do to make myself feel better in a healthy way for me? Don’t get destructive and eat a pint of ice cream. You know that’s only going to make you sick and why add to the misery?

Maybe try volunteering. Sometimes when we help others it helps us get out of our own head and gives our subconscious the time it needs to work out the problem we’re dealing with. Also, helping others reminds you of the bigger picture and as my grandmother always says, this too shall pass. Sometimes when you see someone in a worse position it can be humbling and put in perspective your pain and help you find a solution. Or, simply make for a good distraction until the pain passes.

What we learned as babies we held onto for survival and that brought us into adulthood. But, some of those survival techniques are outdated and it’s time to let them go. Learning to self soothe and to stop feeling bad to feel good is a great step in evolving and becoming a better version of you. Besides, this life isn’t for babies.

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