Kicked the problem up the path

By Dave Henning / April 27, 2024

“When we distract ourselves from how we’re feeling or stuff down the emotions that are begging for breath or demand that our circumstances and the people within them somehow change to conform to our whims, we’ve only kicked the problem up the path a few feet, where it will stay until we arrive.”- Jennifer Allen

In Chapter 8 (“Getting Past Fine“) of Untangle Your Emotions, Jennifer Allen reminds us that we manage the feelings we feel through the Three C’s — control, cope and conceal.  However, this illusion veers far from the truth.  Hence, Jennifer lists the first step of connection through feelings: notice how we feel.

Consequently, as a starting point, the author offers this baby step.  To develop competency to properly and precisely name our emotions, start with two basic categories of feelings:

  1. Okay.
  2. Not Okay.

Certainly, even with minimal training, in general we know when we’re Okay.  And we know for sure when we’re Not Okay.

Furthermore, Jennifer weighs in on the cost of not noticing.  She wryly remarks:

“Here’s what I’ve noticed about noticing.  We tend to notice a lot of things that don’t matter much in the long run and not notice the things that do. . . .

On any given day we notice a million things.  We observe them, we take them in.  We attend to them like we’re into forensics, like our livelihood depends on our power to perceive.

Equally true: I could come up to you at any point on that same day and ask, ‘How are you feeling . . . for real?”. . .  We all give the same reflexive answer.  Fine. Fine! Totally, completely fine.”

As a result, Jennifer counsels, part of the process involves slowing down enough to listen to your heart.  To heed the parts of us that God built.  Parts we usually dismiss or judge.

Yes, “Okay” and “Not Okay” serves as over-simplified responses.  However, they easily trump “Fine, fine — really, I’m fine!”

Today’s question: What do you find happens after you’ve kicked the problem up the path?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Okay or Not Okay – tune in”

About the author

Dave Henning

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