Acknowledging Feelings

It sounds completely stupid, but one thing I’ve found that really helps me deal with feelings is just to blatantly acknowledge and address them. This goes for OCD and non-OCD related negative feelings that I have from time to time.

The reason for this, I think, is because a lot of times I try and fight my feelings without even realizing it. Using the specific example of OCD-related feelings, there’s an immediate feeling of “Something bad is going to happen, I better do something about it, I have to get rid of this feeling.” So to be able to step back and say: “Hey. I feel really, really uncomfortable right now” and just think about that for a minute before acting is rather liberating. I’m not saying it’s always easy to do, especially with OCD. But just thinking, “I’m angry” or “I’m sad” helps a lot. There’s a natural inclination we have to dislike anger and sadness, but properly placed anger and sadness can actually be a good thing, so I think it’s really important to address the feelings that we have, right when we have them. Just like when we go through grief when dealing with the death of a family member. Not only is it OK to feel sad at that time, but it would be pretty weird NOT to. So there is definitely a place for sadness, and not just when something terrible happens, but for smaller bad things as well.

Now, this can kind of be obsessive too, so one has to be careful with this. Because also with OCD, because of the feeling of “I have to do something about this RIGHT NOW!!” I have to remember the other key part of this system: not only to acknowledge the feeling, but JUST acknowledge it, and JUST think about it for a minute before acting. Or a few minutes. However long I can delay acting, with OCD, is usually better. And sometimes with OCD, success is simply putting off a compulsion rather than not doing it at all. Baby steps.

4 thoughts on “Acknowledging Feelings

  1. thehowlingfantogs says:

    Great post. I have similar ways of fighting these feelings. I agree, baby steps are the way forward.

  2. What a wise post. Our feelings are our feelings and I agree it is important to acknowledge them without judging ourselves. Our thoughts and our feelings are usually out of our control. What we CAN control is our reaction to these thoughts and feelings. Great post!

    • willitbeok says:

      Thanks, Janet! I agree that our thoughts and feelings are often beyond our control. That’s a huge part of dealing with OCD — the trick of learning to actually accept having unpleasant thoughts and that they don’t have to mean anything beyond that.

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