Is your anxiety all-consuming at times? Do troubled thoughts squat in the middle of your mind and refuse to let positive, calming thoughts through? One thing is for certain. Those dark, negative ruminations do not like to be challenged, analyzed, or even questioned.

Certain contemplations may return over and over in a repetitive stream, excluding any other form of mental activity. I have been repeating the same mistakes in life for so long now, I may as well call them traditions. But truly, is it possible to outwit or outfox our worrying mind? The truth is that we may be avoiding something even more painful, while we use our tension and trepidation as a smokescreen to avoid it.

You may think you have a solid grip on events from your past. But can you really connect to the feelings you had at the time? To be truly liberated from our past, we need to mourn it. We need not intellectualize it, but we need to allow ourselves to get in touch with what it truly felt like.

Yes, sometimes we need to re-experience some pain. We all have feelings that are never acknowledged and possibly not even understood by us. If we choose to disown those feelings, they may manifest as indiscriminate, floating anxiety.

If your self-esteem has ever been crushed, that hurt may remain inside of you. You may put on a smiley face but go about numbing yourself with excessive shopping, drinking, social media addiction, or any distraction of your choice. Speaking of which, a day without shopping is like… Just kidding. I have no idea. Then again, maybe I need some hobbies that don’t include my debit card. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t need anything from Amazon today. Yikes.

If you never process your true feelings, sadly you pay a dear price. You can easily become depressed or even develop insomnia due to emotions you never managed throughout your day. I will not sleep until I find a cure for my insomnia. The best cure for insomnia is: Get a lot of sleep. Listen, I may not be good at sleeping, but I compensate by being really bad at waking up.

Your real self may seem at odds with who you would truly like to be. You might fear that if you admit to your jealousies, anger, cynicism, or loneliness, you will be judged and most certainly not charitably accepted.

Life is simply a lot sadder and more dispirited at times than we would want it to be. We do not respond to the present on its own terms. As you know, you respond disproportionately to many events in the here and now. But are you following the facts in front of you?

The emotional tracks may have been laid down way back in your past. How often do you respond dramatically? Do you get flooded with worry, anger, or anxiety by the outer world?

Ah, you find her so challenging. How would she respond to you if you could program her? Most issues are not what they seem to be in the moment, my friends. Maybe something did truly upset or frighten you. But remember that you are made up of parts. Some of your most troubled times may be responded to by the child inside of you. What is that “child” scared of?

What would you say to that “child”? Learn to make allowances for yourself. Your feelings of unworthiness have a history; they also have a future. First off, you need to get enough distance to untangle yourself. Do you truly feel worthy of being known and even loved?

Learn to make distinctions between what he did, and what he meant to do. Allow her motives to matter to you, even if the outcome is unfortunate. Intention matters. We often see intent where there was none, my friends. He meant to insult me. She was mocking me. Please do not look for confirmations that you deserve to be mistreated.

Think about how you react to children. Oh, and when your kid complains that his toy isn’t working anymore, pretend to be shocked – like you didn’t take the batteries out. But seriously, when a child acts out, do you feel wounded by their bad behavior? Of course not.

Naw, “he’s just overtired.” I don’t know why people say having a dog prepares you for having a kid because my dog has never wanted to watch Frozen 46 times in a row. But truly, if an adult cut you off on the highway, there’s no doubt that he deliberately took advantage of you. How about changing your first assumption?

Sometimes pain makes people behave in appalling ways. If you imagine their inner struggle, you would not allow their aggression or presumed attack to unnerve you. Find those with whom you can feel overly connected. It’s all right to bond over your stresses. Listen, you can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

Manage your expectations, sweet friends. If you find yourself in toxic situations or have unquenched emotional needs, close your eyes and find what you are truly anchored to. Then, by all means, locate what is missing in your life. Remember that it may take some sadness to know true happiness, and it may take absence to value presence.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at