Newton’s 1st law of motion (Inertia) - An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by a force.
Newtons third law of motion - For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In terms of our emotions, this equal and opposite reaction often comes from within and can result in “stuckness.” Think about the last time you were really worked up. Did the emotion you felt continue in the same direction with the same force until it was again confronted by another outside force? It’s more likely that you talked yourself down as the equal and opposite inside forces were at work. This can be helpful for day to day efficient living and working, but if the initial feelings we have always get canceled out, we end up carrying them with us. We then get stuck with a logjam of feelings which often results in anxiety or depression.
why am i stuck???
It’s quite common to feel more than one emotion at a time. We have feelings about our feelings. For example, I frequently hear my clients say, “I feel sad, but I can’t cry.” When we dig a bit deeper we usually find that there’s a sense of shame surrounding the grief, and “strong people don’t give in to their tears.” (false) There may also be a fear that if one begins to cry they will be engulfed by their sadness and the tears will never stop. The “countering” emotions such as shame and fear can act as an equal and opposite force from within that have the effect of halting progress. We get “stuck” when we say to ourselves, “There is a part of me that is unacceptable.” This has the effect of stopping our emotional inertia and eliminating the freedom we need to move forward.
Our emotions need the room to flow if we are going to get unstuck. Safety is key. A good therapist or trusted friend will provide a safe space for you to bypass your countering emotion so you can move toward resolution to your internal stuckness. Once you’ve found this safe space with someone, you’ve created room for the suppressed emotion to flow. Resolution and healing follows.
- Joshua Grover LMHC