My self-improvement goal this year is to not be afraid of my feelings. After some recent soul-searching, I find that a lot of my less useful coping mechanisms involve running away from things I don't want to feel: anger, anxiety, hurt, sadness, and so forth. Intentionally or not, my upbringing and society in general have taught me that those are to be avoided, either by denying them or by not doing whatever triggered them, so I've basically learned to just ignore all feelings until they go away.
I believe that approach is incorrect.
I may want to do things that stress me out due to fear of failure, for instance. Being afraid doesn't mean I shouldn't try things I actually want to do, and that fact that I am afraid isn't a character flaw or some sign of weakness, either. It means I care about doing well. That is a good thing, and I don't need to run and hide from it. It's okay for me to be afraid and do the thing anyway. I don't have to feel perfect all the time in order to do things. That's a completely unreasonable expectation, and it results in doing nothing, which leads to depression.
I've been approaching my mental health from the angle of needing to feel less depression/anxiety, but I think what's actually happened is that I've been feeling less everything—I just shove it all in a box. That's okay for just sort of existing, but I don't call it living. It's not enough.
So... I'm gonna try accepting the feelings. It's going to be difficult for a while, because I'm not used to working with them rather than against them, but ultimately I hope they will be assets. 'Cause they're supposed to be tools, right? Feelings motivate us to behave in certain ways, to make necessary changes to respond to our environment. Like any tool, they have to be used responsibly so as not to harm oneself or others... but they're no good at all sitting on a shelf gathering dust.
~Neshomeh can use anger to motivate herself sometimes (because f*** you dirty dishes go f*** yourselves), but suspects there are better ways.