“I would go back as early as I could and start teaching my younger self the TRUTH about feelings: they’re normal, they’re valid, and they’re to be felt.”

Episode 256

What I Wish I Knew Sooner, Part 2: The Truth About Feelings

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Hello, Gorgeous Soul.

Last week I shared how I wish I would’ve known sooner to stop just making surface level changes but actually address the foundational issues, aka learn your stories, your triggers and how to regulate your damn nervous system. Once you’ve got that awareness and a plan, getting through hard shit will not necessarily be easy, but knowing that will add EASE to the process.

Today I want to share the next thing I wish I would’ve known sooner.

I would go back as early as I could and start teaching my younger self the TRUTH about feelings.

This is the shit that I think should be taught starting in preschool or sooner and be continued right alongside math, science and reading.

Ok here’s what I would tell my younger self.

First, ALL feelings are normal.

They are valid.

They are your body’s only way of communicating with you.

Want to go deeper? Here’s another article I wrote about feelings.

When you have a feeling, the only thing you really need to do is to feel it.

Just let your body experience the physical sensation wherever it shows up.

For example, happiness might feel like a light and bubbly feeling.

It may feel sparkly or kind of like a hug. Happiness probably feels good in your body.

Sadness might feel heavy. You might feel it in your chest or your throat. It might not feel good. It might be uncomfortable.

But you need to remember this.

Just because it feels uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s bad.

There are feelings in your body that you will PREFER feeling and feelings you will NOT prefer.

Feelings that you look forward to feeling and feelings you don’t.

They are ALL important though.

Non-preferred feelings aren’t WRONG and they don’t need to be fixed.

It’s going to be really hard to resist the urge to make the non preferred feeling go away as quickly as possible.

Because why would we want to feel things that don’t feel good?

But listen carefully. The QUICKEST way to get through a feeling is to FEEL it.

YES you can find things that seem to make the feeling go away for a while.

Like food. You might notice that people often suggest food to try and make a non preferred feeling go away faster. Would ice cream help? Let’s get you a cookie, that’ll make you feel better.

But really it won’t.

Because food doesn’t fix feelings. It fixes hunger.

You’ll find lots of ways to get rid of your feelings over the years.

You might push them way deep down and try to ignore them. You might even get good at convincing yourself that you’re fine.

You might learn to numb out, which means do something to numb the feeling.

Things like Alcohol, drugs, shopping, scrolling, gaming.

OR you might just make sure you are ALWAYS really busy.

Because if you’re super busy you won’t have time to notice your feelings.

The problem with all of this is that every time you decide to FIX a feeling or escape a feeling or avoid a feeling or numb a feeling, that feeling just gets stored away for later.

And if you think about your body storing ALL these feelings for later, it gets pretty heavy.

It starts to feel like you’re dragging around an extra 50 pounds.

And sometimes what will happen, when there’s no room left to store any more feelings you might explode.

Not literally, but you might lose your temper at the wrong person or over something little and unimportant.

The way to avoid that? Just feel the feeling when it shows up.


Here’s another VERY important thing you need to know about feelings.

You are probably going to learn that YOU make other people feel certain ways.

When YOU are nice you make people feel good.

When YOU are not nice, you make people sad.

ANd I’m not saying there’s NO truth to that. Obviously if you are unkind or intentionally hurt someone, YES your behavior will create a non preferred feeling.

So yes be kind and thoughtful and respectful.


It’s likely you’re going to take this idea to the extreme.

You’e going to believe that YOU are the one who is in control of how everyone else is feeling.

You will think YOU are responsible for making sure that everything you say, or do, how you look, how you live, how you act is what is controlling other people’s moods and their feelings.

Please hear me.

This is SIMPLY not true.

Yes you can impact no you aren’t in control.

BUT you’re a smart cookie and you might notice that you can read people really well. Meaning you somehow just KNOW how to make sure the person in front of you, whether it’s someone you know or a total stranger, feels a preferred feeling because of you.

You will learn that your teachers seem HAPPY when you are overachieving.

You will learn the things that seem to make your parents feel non preferred feelings like mad or sad or annoyed and you will do the opposite.

You will learn how to get people to feel preferred feelings by being cute or funny or outgoing or polite or by being “good”.

And you’ll decide it’s easier to control other people’s feelings in order to avoid your own.

You don’t have to feel uncomfortable as long as everyone around you is comfortable.

You’ll start to believe that YOUR feelings are dependent on OTHER people’s feelings and so managing other people’s feelings will become your full time job.

And don’t be fooled. It will really work.

It might bring you success in school, or in your career. People will say good things about you.

Side note: You’ll probably end up attracting lots of people into your life that NEED you to be fixing their problems, since you’re fine as long as everyone else is fine. You are the DREAM PARTNER to the person who doesn’t know how to handle their feelings.

Which is going to create incredibly unbalanced relationships. You will always be the one running around fixing, responsible for preventing non preferred feelings for everyone else. No one will be able to be there for you.

Partly because you’ve convinced everyone you’re fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

You actually won’t be fine.

You will be good at pretending you’re fine or “Holding it together” but a body that’s FULL of unfelt, shoved down feelings can only hold so much.

And If you think storing non preferred feelings like anger or resentment or guilt or sadness in your body isn’t going to start affecting your health, you are wrong.

SO, younger self.

Learn to FEEL your feelings when they happen.,

INstead of spending your life running around, managing everyone else’s energy, trying to control the feelings, moods, opinions, thoughts so that THEY feel good so that YOU can feel good.

Skip the middle.

Manage your OWN energy. Learn to feel your OWN feelings without running away or shoving them down or numbing them out or going into hypervigilant fix it mode.

You do NOT need someone else to be ok in order for you to be ok.

YOU will be ok when YOU are ok.

Yes you can do the running around thing for a while, but I promise you not only is there NO END, there will NEVER be a day when you’ve fixed every single thing that could possibly create a non preferred feeling. It’s just not possible so stop.

It’s SO much easier to feel your feelings right when the show up.

Notice them. Notice how they feel in your body. Sit with that phsyyical sensation in your body – it’s not going to kill you. THIS is where undestandig your nervosu system and knowing how to regulate comes in. Because when your body feels a non preferred feeling and it triggers the emergency signals to blare, you can just regulate. “Oh, not an emergency just a feeling”. Then you can Question the feeling, see what it’s there to share with you. And then move on.

That is what I would absolutely tell my younger self. That is absolutely what I tell my today self.

This is what I think every child should be learning in school.

I don’t care if you’re 8 or 78 listening to this message.

Knowing and understanding this will save you so much time, energy, and suffering.

It’s not too late to learn how to feel your feelings.

Obviously if you want my help, get into Calm AF Life.

This is what we do. We learn, we practice, we get better.

Lifetime access to learn and practice and feel better with me ends August 23rd.

Thanks for listening. See you next week.

– Kristen

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