We had a pandemic in 1918 – H1N1, then known as the Spanish Flu. Between 3 and 5% of the population died, most of them healthy young adults. The healthiest people died because they had the best immune systems. It wasn’t the virus that got them, it was the full-on counterattack mounted by their immune systems that did them in. Let’s look at that again:
The virus didn’t kill them, their body’s reaction to the virus killed them.
Kind of like how it isn’t the feeling that’s the problem, it’s your feeling about the feeling.
And before someone smarter than me starts explaining to me that this isn’t a universal lesson about viruses, and some viruses really are the problem and will kill you. I get that. The analogy still holds. No one is saying to ignore the issues in your life. Serious stuff is still serious, and requires the feeling and then some kind of decision about what you’re going to do to change your circumstances. But we all have the feeling, then the feeling about the feeling. The trouble is stopping there.
The feeling is the virus. The feeling about the feeling is your immune system trying to excise that feeling. Ideally, if you quit with the feeling about the feeling, accept the original feeling as it is, listen to the thing it is trying to tell you, and then use that information to come to some kind of a measured response that takes into account your values and purpose and addresses the thing the feeling showed up to tell you… you’re in a better place than if you just get stuck between the feeling and the feeling about the feeling.