Most of us engage in behaviors (consciously or not) that help us to numb and take the edge off vulnerability, pain, and discomfort. Numbing is when we consciously or unconsciously do something whether it be eating, drinking, watching TV, shopping, or staying crazy busy to ignore processing our current emotions, and deaden the pain or discomfort.
“Numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.” -Brene Brown
Addiction can be describe as chronically and compulsively numbing and taking the edge off of feelings. We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.
As I hear all so often…I don’t want to feel those icky emotions. They are too uncomfortable. My response is always…if you want the good stuff in life you are going to need to learn to deal with the icky stuff.
When we choose to swap our numbing behavior with another behavior that actually addresses and deals with the emotion, we can learn to lean into the uncomfortable feelings. We open ourselves to real healing and the ability to process and move on.
Don’t get me wrong. It is hard work and you will want to go back to your old ways many times. But if you can stick it out, the rewards will be amazing.
Until next time….
Change. Discover. Transform.
Carla Carter, Ed.D., LCPC, CMPC, EMDR Certified