How ‘Feeling Good’ becomes a Subtle Addiction to Avoid Pain

“Sadness does not want to be healed, it wants to be held. And the healing is in the holding, ironically – Jeff Foster”

‘Feeling good’ is a hook and let me tell you, I had been hooked big time, for a long time.

As a sensitive and empathic woman, I did not deal with my ‘negative’ emotions so well. I often felt like I had emotions from extreme ends of the scale – superbly happy and extreme sadness with lots of tears. You’d recognise this as the rollercoaster ride of emotions.

When I came across the practice of appreciation as a tool to practice self-love, I was swept away by it! I chose to focus on it and shifted my mindset to always look for the positive aspects in other people or in various situations. Before I wrote a list of my Appreciations – I allowed my emotions to bubble to the surface. This practice was about allowing the emotions to float up and making peace with the situation or the people involved. Abraham talks about allowing the cork to float instead of holding it under the water.


When I presumably ‘failed’, I looked back at the situation and listed what I could appreciate on hindsight. Not only was I sensitive and empathetic, I also had perfectionistic traits where I wanted to do this one thing (appreciation) really well. I realised that I had been practicing being ‘perfect’ at the art of appreciation and had masked what I wasn’t doing so well – pushing it completely into a blind spot.

I wasn’t being true to myself about how I was managing my deeper emotions of fear and pain.


It was very subtle – and I would suppress or steamroll over these uncomfortable feelings – to look at the bright side of things, at appreciation, at ‘raising my vibration’ and wanting to be happy or feel good. The missing piece in my practice was about true acceptance of how I was feeling in the moment.

What was interesting is that my partner had told me this, a long time ago. As my most loving mirror into myself, he showed me, what I was then not able to see or accept yet. As you can imagine, I was triggered by his comment, so I chose to ignore and conveniently left this part of my practice out of our conversations. Naturally my path has now brought me deeper awareness and understanding to this situation.


I’ve learnt that… being attached to or hooked into ‘positive’ feelings or things is like being hooked into what triggers you in relationships. When you are triggered by a loved one, a chain reaction is set into motion and you automatically turn to blame or shutting down. It’s almost like you can’t stop yourself from what you’re about to say or do.

When you’re hooked into ‘positive’ feelings or things and you face moments of not feeling high vibe or happy, you fall back onto the opposite end of the scale, feeling low, at times beating up on yourself with your self-talk. You may even begin to internalise it to mean that you are ‘less than’.


Why does this happen? When you truly allow yourself to be with deeper emotions like fear or pain, you are a faced with a sense of uncertainty and lack of control. At times, this lack of control is scary. It’s like a fish out of water, struggling. This space of ‘struggle’ is uncomfortable and you’re not taught the skills to swim in these waters. As a result, many of you choose to bury these painful emotions, deeper into the water and mud, skip on the surface and continue with your life – until something happens again to remind you of what’s lurking underneath the surface.


I want to remind you that you’re not ‘less than’ who you truly are. You’re feeling differently today than you were yesterday and that’s ok – you are enough. You are worthy and deserving. How you feel at any particular time does not define your inherent worth!

Having ‘no control’ can also be seen as an invitation to open, to completely surrender to what is happening ‘to’ you – or what ancient wisdom says, what is happening for you. Instead of being afraid of deeper emotions, embrace them. Know that every experience you have, is perfect for you right now.


There’s nothing more important on our spiritual path than developing gentleness to oneself — Pema Chödrön


Today, recognising my emotions and needs, acknowledging them, allows me to meet myself where I am. It guides me towards making decisions without expecting myself to be more than or other than who or how I am showing up on that day. This is where acceptance comes in. It’s no wonder at all, that my word of the year 2018 is Acceptance!

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt is to speak to myself, softly, about my negative or less than happy emotions. Acknowledging that I am sad or angry (without the frustration or annoyance), truly being with these emotions in my body, sitting with them and being ok with that.


In addition to the practice of self-appreciation, I have expanded into the practice of self-compassion. This is the spiritual practice that I am exploring in my Facebook group as well. If this is a daily practice that you would like to create in your life, I invite you to join me here: Flow of Appreciation. I’ll see you inside the circle!