You have an Unbearable Feeling, let’s gets some help and find out what it is.
I was in one of those novelty gift stores the other day, and there it was. A button that needed to be pushed. It was a big red rubber button that when pushed it said “NO” in the voice of Homer Simpson. I had to push it. Just had too.
We all have buttons that when they are pushed, they get a reaction.
When I was in ministry, I used to have a name for some people who had very big red buttons.
Prickly Pears. I don’t know where I got the name from, but they were people who you knew that needed a ‘Handle with care’ label placed on their forehead.
Much like Gloria here.
You see, just underneath that button is an Unbearable Feeling (UBF).
A feeling that is not just unpleasant, it’s unbearable.
I’ve got them, you’ve got them, we all have them.
Three indicators of your Unbearable Feeling.
To discover your UBF, look for those moments where there is …
- An over-reaction or a shut-down and loss of rationality and reasonableness
- A rage, over-compensation, or stubborn silence whenever the subject is brought up, or the feeling is triggered.
- An immediate loss of communication and ability to communicate.
Just think back to the last time when you over-reacted, went silent, raged with anger (either internally or externally) or couldn’t communicate. Your Unbearable Feeling got triggered. The big red button was pushed and off you went.
Anger is the most common Unbearable Feeling, but I wonder what’s under that anger?
If you want a biblical example of someone responding to their UBF, think the long-haired strongman Samson.
You are a Divine work of art.
I have been reading The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, and certainly, that Unbearable Feeling is a symptom of pain.
Unbearable feelings can cripple your life.
A couple of quotes
We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. C.S. Lewis Problem of Pain
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. C.S. Lewis Problem of Pain
We don’t consider ourselves as divine works of art, yet God is at work in you and won’t be satisfied until you’ve reached a certain character. Gods character.
Pain, that unbearable feeling, is like a giant signpost saying to you ‘We need to work on this.’
Run from it as much as you like. Avoid it, dismiss it, project it out as someone else’s issue but the Hound of Heaven and the Divine Artist will always be on your tail.
God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.
How to take the power out of an Unbearable Feeling
1. Discover it
Think back to those moments where you overreacted and consider what the feelings were like at that moment.
Here are a few unbearable feelings
- I will do anything to avoid the feeling of disappointment, despair or grief of any kind
- I will do anything to avoid the feeling of being unfairly treated; the victim of injustice
- I will do anything to avoid the feeling of being humiliated, exposed, embarrassed, laughed at or ridiculed. (I think Samson could have had this one)
2. Disempower it
I will discuss this further next blog post but here are some starting points.
1. Take personal responsibility for it
2. Recognize that feelings don’t always represent the present reality. They may be echoes of a previous time.
3. Find truth coaches to help you
4. Repeat steps 1-3
It’s time to face your UBF dragon that dominates and controls your life.
Disempower the big red button and discover more freedom and step that little more lightly into your day.
Quotes to Consider
- If you do not recognize and name your own “log,” it is inevitable that you will project and hate it elsewhere. Richard Rohr
- Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
M. Scott Peck The Road Less Travelled
- The pain of something old falling apart—chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites, and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is falling apart. Most of us would never go to new places in any other way. Richard Rohr, John Feister, Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety
Questions to Answer and leave a comment below or anonymously
- What are some of your Unbearable feelings?
- Have you ever noticed someone just over the top in reaction to an event? What do you think was happening in them?
- Read the story of Samson (Judges ) and try and figure out what his Unbearable Feelings were.
- David Riddell. Living Wisdom School of Counselling
- Living Wisdom North Shore Seminar. Renewing the Mind through a Christ centred Psychology. Paul Crawford.
Barry is a writer, coach, and course creator that has a passion for Mental Health and Spiritual Formation.
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