This is a guest post by Prudence Sinclair.
Good afternoon, lovely you!
It is that day again when my blog hits your Inbox. Sit back, relax and enjoy some Wednesday wisdom.
How are you feeling today?
What are you feeling today?
If you answered “Fine” and “I don’t know,” then I want you to read this ENTIRE blog post, because it’s meant just for YOU!
So many people, and I used to be one of them, deny their feelings. Our emotions are powerful. The “good” emotions are a joy to feel. But even they can sometimes overwhelm us. When you fall in love… when you hold your child for the first time… when you are told you are cancer-free… The feeling of love and gratitude and peace in these situations can absolutely take our breath away.
Feeling “bad” emotions can also take our breath away. Like positive emotions, negative emotions easily overwhelm us. Anger can turn us into little monsters, while grief and pain can be so unbearable, we feel we might actually die from feeling the totality of them.
But the thing is, if you deny your feelings, any of them, you are putting your heart, mind and body in jeopardy. Pent up emotions like anger, regret and sadness will fester and eventually make you very sick. Depression sets in, inflammation sets in, disease sets in.
In addition, when you deny your feelings, you rob yourself of the opportunity to make profound changes in your life. That’s because our emotions are indicators of what is and isn’t working in life. Denying them is like denying the “check engine” light when it comes on in your car. Sure, you can keep driving, but you’ll eventually break down.
Acknowledging our feelings helps us to better understand and navigate our lives, and to heal from stress, pain and grief.
How to Start Feeling Your Feelings
Knowing you need to feel your feelings doesn’t make it any easier to feel them. I remember back when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I KNEW there was a connection between my father having just been tragically killed by a drunk driver and me developing cancer just a few months later. And I KNEW I was going to have to face that darkness and start feeling my sadness, grief and unbearable pain to begin healing.
It’s not easy, but I learned there are some steps we can take to do this important work.
Step 1. Feel it in Your Body
When an emotion starts bubbling up inside of you, don’t clamp it down immediately. Become a scientist or a doctor and first feel the emotion in your body. Don’t try and come up with the story or the WHY behind your emotion, locate it in your body first.
What do you feel? A tightness in your chest or stomach? Burning in your throat? Heart racing a bit? Simply become aware of how that emotion feels in your body.
Step 2. Don’t Judge – Be Curious
When we begin to feel emotions creeping up, it’s natural to want to instantly label them as “good” or “Bad”. We tend to want to neatly put them into certain categories of “I like this” or “I don’t like this” etc. But when we instantly label something as “bad” or “I don’t like this”, our brain then immediately begins protecting us from those feelings by blocking them, denying them or making us go emotionally numb.
Try to catch yourself when you begin to label a feeling, become that scientist again. Get curious and begin to explore your feelings instead of judging them. By getting into the habit of being curious about our feelings instead of instantly judging them, we prime ourselves to be open to begin doing the work.
Step 3. Give Yourself Permission
Many of us believe if we feel our “bad” emotions, we are “bad” people. Some of us, particularly men, think if we cry or feel sad, scarred, etc. then we are weak. No, we are simply human.
Give yourself permission to be human. Give yourself permission to feel any and all feelings. Give yourself permission to cry, rage, throw something. Of course, do not hurt yourself or anyone else in the process, but allow these emotions to come out as then need to.
Step 4. Be Thankful
Once you have felt what it is that needs to be felt in that moment, be thankful. Thank your emotions for giving you insights into your life. Thank God for creating emotions to help you navigate this life. And thank yourself for having the courage to go on the journey.
Step 5. Commit to Making Your Life Beautiful
Any “bad” emotions that you begin to allow to be felt and processed should also be honored. For instance, if you have been suppressing feelings of stress, anger and resentment toward your spouse or partner for their behavior, then it’s time to honor those feelings and create change. Speak to your loved one and if they refuse to hear you or help the relationship, then perhaps it’s time to let that toxic relationship go.
Let your emotions be your guide and commit to making the necessary changes so your life can flourish and be beautiful!
I know firsthand that the journey is not always easy. But the payoff for feeling your feelings is incredibly sweet!