Excerpted from Ashana:
Feelings serve an important purpose. Mainly, they help us make decisions. That sense of dread you feel before starting on something new suggests that maybe it won’t really be successful as a venture and your energy might be more productive spent elsewhere. Anxiety helps you keep an eye out for potential pitfalls, so that you can plan a response to them or ways to avoid them. And joy, of course, says, “Do that again.”
So I can’t just keep changing the subject. I can’t make good decisions if I do that.
My emotions are extremely intense because I was tortured throughout my childhood, and my feelings were repeatedly used to cause me extreme psychological pain. They are usually appropriate in the present, and were also usually reasonable responses in the past, but they are out-of-kilter. When I make a mistake, I don’t feel mild embarrassment; I feel overwhelming humiliation. I am not nervous about new situations; I am too terrified to even go outside. I don’t feel disappointed when things don’t go as expected; I feel overwhelmed by despair.
I wasn’t born that way. It isn’t a matter of having a reactive temperament, although I think some people are more reactive than others. Someone did this to me deliberately in order to make me suffer. That adds a layer of complication, but in a practical sense there isn’t a difference. You just have to learn how to cope.
And how I’m learning to cope is to spend more time in riding that wave because, as I said, I can’t just keep changing the subject. I need the anxiety, the mild embarrassment, the disappointment, and to feel those things I also have to feel the terror, the humiliation, and the despair.