Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Daring to Feel Your Feelings

We humans are emotional beings, but many of us have come to fear and repress our feelings. We may have come from a family where tears, or being seen as "sensitive," were signs of weakness. This is more likely the case for boys than girls, but for anyone who grew up holding in their feelings, there are consequences.

We are also mental and physical beings, but most of us were not discouraged from developing ourselves physically or cognitively. Of course, his happens occasionally, like when a parent or teacher has a particular agenda for a child, but usually we're encouraged to think and move around as needed.

While most of us can get by all right without extraordinary emotional intelligence and range, it really does help to be able to identify and work through our feelings as they arise, instead of shutting down and running away from them. Most emotions start out manageable, and only turn into monsters when we repeatedly ignore them and refuse to feel them.

This week, I invite you to stop and face a feeling or situation you've been actively avoiding. If you're afraid of crying, ask yourself what that's about. If you're afraid of your anger, ask yourself why. Find a safe, private time and place where you can feel what needs to be felt. You can journal about it if you like, but the most important thing is to let yourself feel it.

If you're like most of us, you'll feel tremendous relief from the experience. If, on the other hand, this opens a can or worms, that's okay too. You can always get some help, if you need it, to work though the difficult emotion or situation. Know that this process, no matter how uncomfortable temporarily, will serve you and those in your life, and probably prevent you from getting sick or developing further trouble down the road.

Remember, you can run but you cannot hide from your emotional nature. Feel what needs to be felt, and move forward. You can handle it, and you'll be stronger for it.