September 16, 2023

Trying to stop an emotion – in yourself or someone you love – is like trying to stop a wave.

I speak from experience as someone who has tried to stop a wave, for fun, just to see what would happen.

You dig your toes into the shifting sand, eyeing the rising crest, bracing for the impact. It crashes on your abdomen and splits into a thousand pieces, spraying all around you, then lands into restless swirls of white foam.

It’s much more dramatic and destructive than letting the wave lift you, waggling your feet at the sudden loss of solid ground, and trusting that it’ll set you back down again soon.

When I feel overwhelmed, or wronged, or otherwise emotionally wounded, it’s easy to assume that’s a problem. If so, then I should find reasons not to feel that way, and twist my emotions to match those reasons.

But what if it’s not a problem?

What if the most healing and cathartic way through an emotion is to feel it fully, tearfully voice my complaints, and be met (or meet myself) with soothing acceptance?

Not acceptance of whatever caused my distress, but acceptance of the distress itself.

Not forever, but until it passes.

Because it will.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.