That sweater of unfelt feelings

By Dave Henning / May 8, 2024

“Here’s the truth: That sweater [of unfelt feelings] needs to come unraveled, because it’s keeping exactly nobody warm. . . .  Instead of thinking of those unfelt feelings as a nice, comfy sweater, better to think of them as a knotted rope hanging around your neck.  Only good will come from untangling it.”- Jennifer Allen (emphasis author’s)

In Chapter 13 (“Dealing with Stubborn Knots”) of Untangle Your Emotions, Jennifer Allen compares feelings we’ll never be able to fully feel to a thread hanging off a sweater.  Because we think if we pull that one thread, the whole sweater unravels.

However, even as we permit ourselves to feel the truth of all that, we also recognize that no magic solutions exist.  Yet, we can make tangible efforts to help loosen those knots.  Hence, Jennifer explains:

“If you’ve been wrestling for some time to stay in touch with yourself and effectively feel what you feel or if you’re stuck in emotional unhealth, choosing to make these adjustments can be helpful, sometimes life changing.  I know this because I’ve been where you are.”

Therefore, Jennifer presents five such adjustments.  She covers the first two today.

1.  Take a break from screens.  The first time we encounter something elicits the strongest emotions.  After the twelfth time, it fails to impact us as deeply.  It’s simply the way God built us.

Consequently, the excessive use of screen time numbs us to pain.  Hence, we find ourselves just looking for the next hit of adrenaline.  Instead of deep connection in our pain and joy.

2.  Sit in silence.  When, Jennifer asks, did you last sit alone, in silence?  With nothing in your hands or in your ears.  Because we often busy ourselves doing multiple things at once, sounds and visuals bombard our minds.

So, writer and consultant Linda Stone coined the phrase continuous partial attention.  The phrase describes “an always on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that creates an artificial sense of crisis.  We are always on high alert.”

Today’s question: What keeps you from untangling that sweater of unfelt feelings?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Mangled mess of Christmas lights”

About the author

Dave Henning

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