I got up in the morning not quite feeling…you know, peaceful, at ease…something was bugging me but I didn’t really know what. I started to do some work but I felt flat and things were seeming so difficult. And then I made a mistake and had to go back and do something over again. Ahhh! I could feel the emotion coming up inside me. Finally, I went to the bedroom and let it out. I cried and cried, releasing all that pent up emotion. I searched myself to see what exactly was bothering me.
A few things had happened the day before. They were little incidents but they had piled up. I realized I had felt incapable, rejected, disrespected, unloved, unconfident, awkward…and these were just the feelings I could identify with words. Keeping all of these emotions bottled up was what was really causing me the flat, yet slightly disturbed feeling. All they wanted was to be acknowledged and seen with compassionate eyes.
I, like probably many people, have come to fear my own feelings–believing that if I felt them all they would overwhelm me, take over me or make me completely lose it. And how do we view adults who dare to express their deepest emotions? How do we see someone who is weeping with sorrow, laughing crazily with joy or raging with anger. We usually see them as being weak or weird or out of control.
Keep it together, man up, stay cool, don’t cry…this is what most of us are taught. And so we find ways to numb out those annoying feelings. And we end up living our lives in black and white, never deeply feeling anything. Now that’s really sad!
People hate to think that they could become a slave to their emotions. Paradoxically, those who try the hardest to suppress their feelings, ignore them or make them go away are the ones who are most dominated by them.
Fear is the emotion that gets repressed the most. I was lying in bed other night and worries were whirling around in my head. I couldn’t seem to stop the endless vague thoughts of doom and gloom. I tried pushing them out of my mind. I tried rationalizing with them, analyzing them. I tried replacing them with positive phrases. I tried thinking of a rosier future. Nothing worked. Then it hit me–an idea I had applied before. “Just acknowledge them, Donna”, I told myself. “Simply admit they are there.” And so I did.
Okay… Hello fear. Yes, I’m feeling worried. In fact, I am feeling quite scared. The truth is I feel terrified! And it helped. It didn’t make the feelings go away but it did make them lose some of their power. Admitting to our feelings out loud or in a journal can be even more effective. One step further would be to muster up the courage to tell someone else our deep dark feelings…
After this acknowledgement comes the more difficult task of feeling those feelings and allowing them to pass through your body. You don’t even have to give them a name; just feel whatever comes up. Cry, scream, yell, shout, let it all out…as the song goes! Of course doing this in your own personal space. (Venting emotions at others is not going to help anyone.) If you don’t feel your feelings in your heart, those threatening emotions you are denying and repressing are going to bog you down, make you tired, depressed, anxious or even sick.
Emotions are energy. This is a simple truth we often forget. Feelings that have been felt don’t clog up our energy channels and that means energy can flow freely. Once we can stop repressing our emotions and start feeling them, then we are on our way to a much healthier, joyful, more colourful life. For when we can truly feel the lows, then we can begin feeling the highs! And who doesn’t want to feel high–buzzing with excitement, joy, bliss, ecstasy?!
Helen Keller said–“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
Donna Schuster said–“Feel and be real!”