As children all of us create a special lens of experiencing feelings and emotions-weather that’s negative or positive. Growing up in the south, emotions weren’t something I really understood or valued. I didn’t know how to feel them or express them in a healthy way. For some reason I adopted this thought that emotions weren’t a good thing.
It wasn’t until high school when I went to therapy that I started to form a vocabulary for feelings. For the first time I began to identify them and understand them. I started to gain the tools to interpret how my body experienced and processed my feelings. That was so powerful for me because it gave me a totally new outlook on life.
I find it so interesting that some of us are taught from a very early age to not feel. “Suck it up” “Man up” “Pull it together” “Get a grip” “Tears are for wimps” “No one wants to be around a basket case”
What kind of messages did you receive or still receive about feelings? Is it positive or negative?
I love what Tara Brach has to say about this…
DISSOCIATION, WHILE PROTECTIVE, CREATES SUFFERING. WHEN WE LEAVE OUR BODIES, WE LEAVE HOME. BY REJECTING PAIN AND PULLING AWAY FROM THE GROUND OF OUR BEING, WE EXPERIENCE THE DIS-EASE OF SEPARATION—LONELINESS, ANXIETY AND SHAME.
We often do this as a means of control. When an emotion feels too intense and when we don’t want to integrate because the pain is too strong we end up shutting down. We end up avoiding those feelings to numb and disassociate from the present moment.
We’ve disconnected and then we perceive that there is something bad there and that we are then bad. So there is not only an intense feeling that we are trying to numb, but there is also the shame of even feeling it in the first place.
The real goal here is to come back into our senses and re-train our thoughts to notice what we are feeling here in the present moment. Instead of fleeing, pause, take a deep breath, and scan the body to pay attention to it’s sensations. And we must do this over and over.
SO LET’S LOOK CLOSER INTO WHAT FEELINGS ARE…
Feelings are sensations in the body. But they aren’t a part of you.
They feel real but they aren’t true.
This blew my mind once I started to understand this: you can CHOOSE the way you feel. What creates your feelings are the thoughts that you think.
If you think that you should be a better wife or better mother or whatever it is, that creates an emotion/feeling about your thought. Then you FEEL depressed, hopeless, miserable, fragile etc.
7 WAYS TO ALLOW AND MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
1. RECOGNIZE THAT I AM FEELING SOMETHING
What is asking for my attention right now? What needs to be experienced?
2. FEEL THE FEELING IN YOUR BODY
No emotion is just in our head. Feel the vibration in your body.
3. CREATE A NON-JUDGMENTAL SPACE FOR YOURSELF.
We have to meet our feelings with a sense of non-judgement. Just allowing ourselves to feel it without any commentary. Feeling the emotions. It’s not bad or good, right or wrong. It just is. It gives us insight into what is triggering us.
4. NAME THE FEELING
This helps with accepting the emotion. It gives the emotion permission to be there.
Examples of Feelings:
REFRESHED enlivened rejuvenated renewed rested restored revived
DISCONNECTED alienated aloof apathetic bored cold detached distant distracted indifferent numb removed withdrawn
ANNOYED aggravated dismayed disgruntled displeased exasperated frustrated impatient irritated irked
EXCITED amazed animated ardent aroused dazzled eager energetic enthusiastic giddy invigorated lively passionate surprised vibrant
5. FEEL IT SOME MORE
How I can accept this and not resist it? Sit in the discomfort of the feeling until it passes.
6. EXPRESS IT IN A HEALTHY WAY
Ask yourself, do I need to talk with anyone in order to express and experience my feelings? Do I need to move my body, write a letter, or journal to express this?
7. STAY WITH IT OR CHOOSE TO LET IT GO
Once you’ve practiced expressing your feelings, ask yourself “Is this something that I want to continue to feel?” “Is this useful for me to experience?” What thoughts would I need to change to create a new emotion?
THIS PROCESS BEGINS WITH THIS POWERFUL QUESTION:
WHAT AM I UNWILLING TO FEEL?
How do you block feelings? What are your techniques for avoiding your feelings? Start to recognize your patterns of avoidance. (SHARE MINE) Laughing, social media, eating, drinking, working etc