Once upon a time there was a child who disliked swimming.
He found the chlorinated water stung his eyes.
The noise and splashing of the other children frightened him.
The sensation of water in his nostrils made him think he was about to drown.
So while others in his class were swimming widths, then lengths, then diving to pick up bricks, then swimming with t-shirts on…
… and getting blue certificates and red certificates and silver ribbons and gold ribbons…
… he was sitting by the side of the pool thinking he was a failure.
What was wrong with him that he disliked swimming so much? Why wasn’t he as good as others?
And how ashamed he was that he was scared and frightened while others were brave and strong.
So he didn’t learn to swim.
Which makes me wonder if things could have been different.
What if someone had said to him: You know, it’s perfectly OK to feel like you do about swimming. Your feelings are completely reasonable.
I wonder if the child would have felt a sense of relief and a sense of worthiness.
And through that, a sense of power.
Facing his feelings might have given him the confidence to get back in the pool… because, yes, those fearful feelings are perfectly OK.
And now, having truly felt them, he can move on.
Why am I telling this story? Because so often, we push down our feelings. We believe we’re wrong to feel like we do. We think we’re failures because we’re not living up to how we think we should be.
When you practice the Feel Better Project process, you learn to acknowledge your feelings, then accept your feelings without judgment – and that’s when you start to feel better.