Last week I told a client struggling with anxiety and depression about a tactic I've come to find very helpful in battling my own anxious and depressed reactions.
I told her to make room for it all.
Often we feel anxious or depressed because we're consciously or subconsciously choosing to hold down or repress or suppress something we are feeling. Maybe we don't feel comfortable feeling it. Maybe it doesn't feel safe to express it.
So we try to say, "sorry, not now. There's no room for you (feeling) at this moment."
And the feeling doesn't like that. So it waits for another opportunity to be heard and seen and felt. And if we don't make room for it, it demands our attention in other ways.
Like insomnia. Or illness. Or anxiety. Or depression. Or some other ways.
What happens when we make room for it all? All those feelings we feel and all those thoughts we have? Who wonders that it would horribly scary and horrible? Who wonders if it would work to feel more relief?
Have you tried it? Do you know what would happen?
After years of unconsciously doing other things, I've practiced making room for it all.
I make room for feeling like a failure.
I make room for feeling lonely.
I make room for feeling confident and inspired.
I make room for feeling depressed and rejected.
I make room for feeling uncomfortable in my body one day and completely dysphoric the next.
I make room for feeling annoyed at opinionated people.
I make room for feeling sadness about racism and sexism and all the other isms.
I make room for feeling hopeless and helpless.
I make room for feeling competent to educate and inspire others toward change.
With each day and month that I practiced this, making room for all of it, I saw that it got easier. It's not easy, but easier. Sometimes I have to sit down to do it because it feels like being on a ship at sea during a massive storm without any Dramamine. Sometimes a few tears fall. Sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk. Sometimes I do nothing and just notice the complicated nature of consciousness and how our minds work.
Deep thoughts by Dillan DiGiovanni. LOL.
The truth I've come to know is that I don't disappear down a big hole. I don't fall apart at the seams. I don't cry forever.
I don't die.
I just feel it and when the wave washes over me, I'm still there. Sitting and breathing. Really doing ok. And, like my client on the coaching call, I actually feel much better. Much lighter. More able to breathe and open my eyes a bit wider.
Making room for it all actually helps us get better at making more and more room. More room for us leads to making more room for others.
But start with you. Because you make an impact each day on the lives of many people.
Start with making more room for all of what's happening for you. It's a good place to start.