I went for a routine dental cleaning the other day. Seeing a dentist was never a pleasant experience for me so it upsets me a little every time I need to go see him.
Before the cleaning began, I agreed to have x-rays taken on my teeth because it was last done three years ago. The cleaning went well and the dentist found a “possible” cavity that he said we could put on hold until my next visit. This finding stirred my feelings as I expected to get a clean bill since I had very carefully taken care of my teeth during the past six months.
I didn’t want this possible cavity to turn into a bigger issue so I decided to have it fixed right away. The dentist also patched up three other places where the lower parts of the teeth were exposed due to the receding gums. I felt a little tired after keeping my mouth open for 90 minutes.
At the end of these operations, it was time to look at my x-rays. It was not a pretty scene. The x-rays showed that I had receding gums and bone loss in a few areas. I could feel my unsettling feeling becoming fearful as I got concerned. “You can consider having a deep cleaning,” casually said the dentist.
「深度洗牙? 那是什麼東西? 我從來沒有聽說過。」我開始有點緊繃。
“Deep cleaning? What is that? I never heard of it.” I began to feel a little nervous.
“It cleans deeper on the teeth below the gumline. It will cause pain so we will need to numb your teeth if you decide to do it,” said the dentist.
I felt the feeling of fear rising up to my throat as the dentist was explaining this scary procedure to me.
The dreadful picture of having a dental deep cleaning was playing in my head as I was on my way home. I did research on the Internet the minute I got home and of course, my focus was on all the possible negative impact this procedure might have on my precious teeth.
Feeling my mood spiraling down, I decided to close the Internet to prepare dinner. While the worry about my teeth subsided for that night, it did not really go away.
The next day after dinner when my mind had nothing better to think about, this dental issue came back to bother me. I decided to turn to my husband for help but the discussion with him only pushed my fear to anxiety and then to depression. I was feeling anger and frustration with myself. What’s wrong with me? Why do I still have so much fear after all my learning and realizations? Why haven’t I learned to keep my head like everyone else?
So while experiencing fear, I was blaming myself for not being able to cope with this dental problem and my emotions. Fear itself was not so powerful; it was the blaming and frustration with myself that pushed me over the edge!
I was ready to burst into tears but tried to hold them back because I was supposed to meet with my neighbor in a few minutes and I didn’t want to go out with red and swollen eyes.
I managed to hold up my emotions and quickly finished the conversation with my neighbor. Back to my bedroom, I burst into tears. With the tears running down my cheeks so were all my bad feelings out of my chest. I felt all the negative energy that had been swelling up inside my body was released with my tears. In the next 10 minutes, I was regaining my senses. The following day I was able to think about the strategies to deal with my dental issue. Not only did my crying release my emotions, it eased my worry about my teeth.
Later when I looked back on this incident, I realized what Anita Moorjani meant when she said “the best way out of fear is to go through it." All the time I was fretting, agonizing and even trying to fight off my emotions, I should have just given myself a good cry. Instead, I tried to hold it because I didn’t think it was a proper and mature way to handle my emotions.
Well, it may not be “mature” and look childish to other people, but should I really care about what they think of me and let my bad feelings ruin my day? Or should I love myself and do whatever is right for me to take care of myself?
Facing up to our emotions can be scary and each of us handles them differently. It may be going out for a run, mopping the floor, talking to a friend, baking a cake, punching a pillow, crying like me or even screaming in your car with the windows rolled down. Whatever it is, as long as it helps you release your emotions and does not harm yourself or other people, go and do it to “walk through your emotions.” It is your life so let you be the owner of your emotions.
Above all, let’s try to love ourselves when we go through difficult feelings. They are not really harmful. It is the judging, blaming and hating of ourselves that will push us over the cliff!
So what are the two lessons I learned from this experience?
1. Don’t judge or blame myself when I go through difficult feelings. What I need is to love myself even more at a time like this.
2. Allow myself to deal with my emotions in a safe and effective way, without the need for other people’s approval.
Do you think this will also help you ?
「正面思考，還是...做自己 ? 」(艾妮塔‧穆札尼)
You may be interested in these posts:
“Being Positive? Or Being Yourself ?” By Anita Moorjani
“Why Letting Ourselves Feel Bad Is the Key to Feeling Better” By Jennifer Chrisman
⏬ 分享給你希望幸福的人 Share with those you wish happy ⏬