Have you ever been going about your business, putting away groceries or brushing your teeth or something, and found yourself suddenly crying? Or lying in bed at night struggling to fall asleep because you’re experiencing overwhelming anxiety? Have you found yourself in situations like these without any clue why they’re happening?

Sometimes life hits an impasse. You go about your days doing the things you have to do, too busy or distracted to notice how you feel until one day you can’t help but notice that you feel lousy. You’re disenchanted, unfulfilled, discouraged, bored and blue. But it makes no damn sense. Life is good. At least there are no major problems. You have the things you hoped to achieve in life. Yet something isn’t right. 

Oftentimes this leads to self abasement. You feel guilty for not being happy. You judge yourself for being ungrateful for what you have. In this way, you pull yourself into a shame cycle that sinks you into depression.

Your ego wants fast resolution so it lands on the simplest explanation it can find–you’re the problem. This is especially pronounced for people who received that same message externally as children (which may be imposed even by the most well-meaning caregivers). When this happens, you’re missing the point. Focusing on self loathing distracts your mind from the information your soul is providing. Those mysterious tears or inexplicable bouts of anxiety are delivering an important message from your subconscious.

While everything may seem ok on the surface, something is amiss. Some part of you is in distress. You have needs that aren’t being met. In order to access this information, you must examine your feelings with honesty and courage.

The truth is, life is a slog sometimes. It’s hard to know what we want and following the routes to fulfillment laid out by others/culture doesn’t always lead to an aligned place. We’re also ever-evolving beings and what we wanted ten years ago may no longer be enough to satisfy. Unhealed trauma can also fester and demand to be addressed by activating emotional discomfort. There are many valid reasons why you might feel disenchanted with your life.

When experiences like this arise your soul is nudging you to wake up. It’s stirring the pot so what lies in your subconscious will come to the surface. In order to assist this, you need to step away from the judgments and assessments coming from your ego. It helps to separate from the unhelpful workings of your mind. Instead, give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Witness yourself with compassion. Get curious about what’s happening within you.

This is difficult on many levels. Most people fear what they’ll find if they really examine unpleasant emotions. Some fear change and opt to ignore their feelings in an effort to maintain the status quo. Good enough is preferred over the unknown. If there’s no obvious problem, why rock the boat? 

But of course, it’s not that simple. The feelings won’t resolve if you ignore them. Instead, they’ll magnify until they burst out in some unexpected or impulsive way. Or your body will take them and they’ll show up as physical illness.

If you’re brave enough to confront your emotions, your ego will likely put up a fight. It’ll try to divert the focus with blame, suggesting that the way you feel is someone else’s fault. It’ll dwell on the past or the future. You’ll fret over being a shitty person and recall times when you behaved regrettably. You’ll regard that as evidence to not trust yourself. You’ll worry about what your feelings will reveal. You’ll worry about the implications for your life. You’ll worry about making the wrong choice or hurting other people or some other unpredictable factor that isn’t actually pertinent in this moment right now. 

When confronting yourself and examining your emotions, keep your attention on yourself and come into the present moment. Notice sensations in your body. Notice what happens when your mind wanders. Pay attention to your dreams. Spend time in solitude. Spend time in nature. Express yourself through art, music or movement. Allow yourself to emote–cry, scream, go for a run, vent to a friend (better yet, process your experiences with a therapist). All of these things open windows to the subconscious.

Support and validate yourself in whatever you discover. Witness yourself with love. Have faith in your intuition. Trust that you’re being divinely guided. Quiet your mind… and listen.

While low periods in life may seem negative, they’re actually necessary phases for growth and expanded joy. Your soul is always attempting to communicate with you. If you don’t listen, it will persist by increasing your discomfort. So tune in and open yourself to the messages you receive. Your soul knows what you need. Trust it.

With Love & Compassion,

Adina Arden Cooper

I'm a lover, a guide and a supportive companion. An artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals connect more deeply with themselves and with others through shadow work. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.