If you’ve ever wondered why it is that we go on and on about the importance of feeling your feelings, the reason behind it is a bit sneaky. Because, in fact, it is not so much that feeling any particular feeling is important. The feeling itself is irrelevant. It is resistance to ANY feeling that causes the damage in our lives and diminishes our performance.
Producing the results you want, creating the relationships you long for, and living the life you know is possible, requires that you have all your resources, intelligence, capabilities, sensitivity, and awareness. Unfortunately, we can’t resist ONLY the “bad feelings.” When we resist any feeling, it is like putting a blanket over everything. We dim all of ourselves, not just the anger or the sadness, or whatever it is that you might not want to feel.
Years and years ago, Burton (founder of Workability) was traveling in France. He hadn’t realized he had a terrible allergy to wheat that led to his not being able to taste or smell much of anything. He was offered a selection of cheeses one evening and told his wife, Paula, that they were mostly tasteless, but one of them was quite nice. When Paula tasted the one that he offered, she gagged and almost had to spit it out because it was such an extraordinarily strong and “stinky” cheese. Because of his diminished ability to taste/smell, it took a cheese that practically knocked Paula out of her seat for him to taste any of it, at all.
This is what happens when we resist our feelings. We become less sensitive, we lose some of our acumen, we are less aware, and we have fewer “taste buds” for life. Following the metaphor, we don’t just numb our taste buds to one type of cheese. We numb our taste buds across the whole cheese board (sorry).
When we resist our feelings, we end up living anesthetized. As a result we aren’t able to express our greatest abilities, perform at our highest level, and contribute in the ways we find most meaningful. If you’re thinking, “well I’m pretty capable and competent, I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my life,” consider what you might be able to accomplish if you resist less…and then less…and then even less than that.
To using your whole palate