How come I feel bad when nothing bad ever happened to me?
Not everyone is able to pinpoint their pain, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Whether it be everyday trauma or situational, there are many reasons for discontent. People are sometimes hesitant to enter therapy believing they must uncover specific memories or causal reasons to legitimize their suffering. That’s because Western culture is a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” society. We worship independence. The only problem is that’s myth. Just as we need each other to survive, we benefit greatly from exploring our uneasiness with life.
We cannot experience the full flavor of our embodied life without dipping into the depths of anger, sorrow, joy, fear, contentment, and all the other subtle and complex ranges of emotions that lie on the spectrum of life.
“We can get past the slipperiness of words by engaging the self-observing, body-based self system, which speaks through sensations, tone of voice, and body tensions. Being able to perceive visceral sensations is the very foundation of emotional awareness.”– Bessel Van der Kolk
What You Feel Matters
Trauma and its impact are most effectively defined by a person’s response rather than the nature of the event itself. Our individual psyches and bodies have distinct constitutions. This explains how two children of the same family can be exposed to similar violence or poor parenting, yet be impacted differently.
When people can’t directly remember traumatic experiences, they often deny themselves their right to feelings. This thwarts the chance of resolving the trauma. Having no way to discharge, it goes into the body.
All feelings are valid and worthy of exploration simply because we feel them. They don’t have to be defended, justified, or linked to a specific cause. We don’t have to know everything that happened to make tremendous strides in our healing. We simply have to turn inward and trust the process.