I grew up in a family of rational, left-brained people. I prided myself on keeping my emotions in check and remaining cool and collected. Then, anxiety struck me with a vengeance, and I ended up on an analyst’s couch 3 days a week in my early 20’s.
My client, Joe, who is in the throes of grieving a love relationship is desperately trying to convince himself (and me) that the counseling process, which encourages him to feel his anger, fear and sadness, is making him worse.
Amid the pandemic, all of us are experiencing extraordinary feelings. I imagine that if you don’t know how to manage your discomfort and harness your feelings, you are having a very hard time.
Let me be honest with you – I like to numb out anxiety, loneliness or hurt as much as you do. If I need to shelter myself from a storm of uncomfortable feelings, my greatest coping mechanism is work, work, work. “No, I don’t want to deal with that right now. Where’s my computer? I’m heading to my office.”
Sometimes, the last thing we want to do is feel our feelings. Because feelings can hurt.
So, what’s the alternative?
Well….to start feeling your feelings.
Feeling Your Feelings Makes You Stronger And More Resilient
To a great extent, we live in a culture that resists and fears emotions. By the same token, if your parents didn’t master the skill of regulating their own feelings, then they were unable to teach you how to do that with yours. Likely, you then learned to suppress or control your emotions.
What price does one pay for stuffing their feelings into dark hidden places?
With the misplaced hope of protecting my family from my emotions, I can tell you exactly what happens – they surface for fresh air. Then, you have to decide what to do with them.
After spending a long time wondering whether this human racket of emotions is worth it, I discovered the secret to getting comfortable with my feelings – I made them my friends, rather than regarding them as out to destroy my life. Yes, all of them, even the “negative” ones, like anger and sadness.
Feeling my feelings helped me to transform my life. Here’s what they taught me:
- That all the answers that I ever need are inside of me – my emotions are the vehicle for finding them.
- That my feelings have messages in them, sometimes hidden. If I get angry for no apparent reason, I know not to dismiss these emotions, but rather to look for their real meaning.
- All about my life direction.
- All about my relationships.
- To feel self-compassion, not judgment for my emotions.
I hope you found this blog helpful in terms of thinking about your emotions and feelings and how important they are for your well-being. If you are struggling to get in touch with your emotions, please click here to schedule your initial consult.