The UGH of being willing to feel any feeling

Elisabeth Olyvia Norton
2 min readApr 5, 2021

Two years ago, a teacher told me that her life completely shifted when she decided she was willing to feel ANY emotion that rolled through. ANY and ALL.

At the moment, I fully embraced her guidance:

“Sure! She has an amazing life, I’m all for the really big life. I’m up for that.”

Now, two years later I’m equally as enthusiastic on the other side of what I naïvely did not know then, being willing to feel anything is not always pleasant. In fact, half the time it sucks a$$. Bad.

No forking wonder I had become SO good at stuffing my feelings down. I’m a prime grade, gold medal winning emotional eater and emotional spender. And, when needed, emotional drinking is an excellent substitute in a pinch.

Uncomfortable feelings don’t feel good, so we avoid them. LIKE THE PLAGUE. And our culture supports this with endless diversions to keep us distracted. ugh.

However, in taking on my teacher’s direction, I got WILLING to try on any feeling that came along. Even for just a few seconds at a time.

They felt awful, some of them, but I survived and it got easier to be willing.

Then I noticed three things:

1. I was less resistant to having these uncomfy feelings, even for longer periods of time and more deeply. They rolled through and didn’t become baggage.

Less emotional eating.

Less emotional spending.

Less desire to get back in bed with a bottle of Jack.

I was getting comfy being uncomfy and the feelings that were stopping me weren’t stopping me anymore.

2. I was able to feel GOOD feeling feelings more deeply and more often. What the fork?!

It was getting better feeling better on the OTHER end of the feelings spectrum.

THIS was amazing, especially over the past year we have all had.

3. I was becoming unstoppable.

I wasn’t being held back in my actions because I was having an uncomfortable feeling. I would just have the feeling then do the thing. SO DELICIOUS.

And, I’ve since found that delicious is worth any temporary uncomfortable feeling out there and in here. It still takes practice and, at times, coaxing myself into the discomfort, but it is completely worth every moment.

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Elisabeth Olyvia Norton

Positive Psychology Coach, Writer, Educator. Optimist, edge pusher, & smarty pants. Momma to bevy of 4 leggers, artist & proud science geek. areallybiglfe.com