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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW

Being In vs. Being With

When we are "In" the experience of our feelings, they can feel overwhelming and we can feel alone in our distress. But when we can be "With" our experience, we can stay balanced, feel more safe, and let the most vulnerable parts of ourselves know that they aren't alone.

Being "In"

We all experience different experiences of our selves. Sometimes we feel nervous, sometimes sad, at times exhausted, other times joy-filled. Whatever our self experience, we usually feel it in our bodies and minds. When we're filled with Anxiety, it's likely we'll feel it in our body--shallow breathing, tightened muscles, quicker heartbeat--and in our thoughts, for example "I'm never going to get this right", or "Everyone will know that I'm anxious".

Most often we are fully "In" the experience. We are immersed in the feelings, thoughts and sensations and in these moments, its difficult to remember that these experiences are fleeting and that soon enough, we will be "In' another experience.

When we are "In" an experience, we are emotion-led. We may feel powerless over our feelings, and ultimately feel little control or sense of safety in our inner worlds.

Being "With"

Being "With" is just as it sounds. It's the experience of being next to and alongside of someone or something. There is a separateness that prevents complete immersion, but at the same time, a connectedness where you can still see, hear, and feel--to a somewhat lesser extent--what is happening.

Being "With" our feelings, thoughts and sensations takes practice. It's part of what one does in therapy. You feel a certain way, and then you step out of that feeling, and talk about it. Explain it. Notice it in detail. Describe the way you feel about it. In so doing, you are able to develop a part of you that becomes a sort-of observer. And the more you practice, the more you are able to "observe" what is happening through the experience of different feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they may have been at one time. When you are able to be "With" instead of "In", you are centered, stable even while experiencing the feeling, thought or sensation. You feel safe and in control.

And when those feelings, thoughts and sensations become less of a threat, you are able to have more acceptance, compassion, and even love for your self, which at the end of the day is what we all need when we're feeling distressed. When we no longer need to protect ourselves, there's more space to connect with ourselves, and with others, in a genuine, caring way. When we can be "With" our feelings, we no longer need to feel alone.


If you would like to learn more about being "With" your feelings, instead of being "In" them, Creating Space Counseling and Wellness can help.

Call today to get started! 856-281-1664


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