You Cannot Selectively Numb
I’ve been learning a lot from Brené Brown recently, and something she said really stuck with me that I want to share with you in case you haven’t heard it:
“You cannot selectively numb.”
When we get bad news, are avoiding something, trying to purposefully dissociate ourselves, etc. we numb. This can come in the form of addictions like drugs, alcohol, spending money, risky/disconnected sex, and all the other classic addictions we know.
But it can also be as simple as choosing to sit in bed all day to binge watch Netflix with food in bed and then restarting the show because you don’t want to leave that fictional world. Looking up the actors Instagrams to see what their personal lives are like. Anything to stay out of your own real life.
Truly there’s nothing wrong with staying in bed with Netflix or following your favorite celebrities online. But your why is important. Are you doing it because you need to rest and recharge? Do the celebrities inspire you to take more action in your own life? Or are you using this all as escapism?
Now, I already knew this and you probably did, too. What I hadn’t considered is that when we numb our emotions (however that manifests), we are also numbing ourselves to excitement, joy, gratitude, abundance, and love. We shut down and put up our walls. Our minds and bodies numb, signaling we don’t want any good vibes. There’s a sign in the window of our soul that says “Back in ? hours”. We have chosen to not feel good. And that is not good.
It makes so much sense to me now because when I numb myself it’s harder to feel anything good or notice good things happening because I’ve shut myself off from it.
Let’s be real. You haven’t numbed for the last time. And it’s okay to want to numb. But it’s important to have this information in your head that if you have made a decision to self-soothe in this way, you have also numbed yourself to joy and you have to make a decision to come back.
Sometimes we need to wallow. And melancholy can be a sexy comforting temptress. But you can’t spend your life with her. She’s very busy trying to get My Chemical Romance reunion tickets, set her free.