We humans certainly are a funny bunch. There is this thing we do when an uncomfortable emotion surfaces (usually triggered by something or someone outside of ourselves...which I've recently experienced again) where we feel we don't have a right to have that feeling (for me it's anger). So instead of accepting that feeling, just sitting with it, or moving through it, we argue with it because we 'feel bad' for having it. Or worse, we blame other people for OUR feelings!! Other people may have triggered us to feel a certain way, but we are ultimately responsible for our own feelings!
When we don't allow ourselves to 'feel' our emotions, they will continue to surface in some way. Maybe an inappropriate outburst of anger or rage, illness, an accident, or depression. We humans have been conditioned NOT to feel. "Don't cry or I'll give you something to cry about" sound familiar? If we were taught how to express our anger or fear or sadness in healthy ways, I definitely missed that class!! Men especially, have been conditioned not to feel. Personally, I have been a 'stuffer' of feelings my whole life. This has surfaced in a few of ways for me, a struggle with depression, 'snapping' and inappropriately lashing out at the wrong people, sickness, accidents, and/or turning to drugs and alcohol or whatever other diversion I could find in order to avoid FEELING.
I've learned through doing my inner work (which is pretty much a constant thing) and through coaching others, that forgiveness (of self first and foremost) is one form of letting go and one of the ways to inner peace. While I definitely believe that to be true, I see us sometimes skipping a very important and necessary step on the way to forgiveness. Expressing our feelings! When we are holding on to unexpressed hurt or anger, we will never be able to truly let go, forgive and move on, until that hurt or anger is expressed, despite our willingness to forgive.
Our pain usually goes back to something that happened in our childhood, when we weren't able to understand our feelings, let alone express them in a healthy way. Throughout our lives we end up attracting similar circumstances or people who cause us to feel that old pain again, giving us opportunity to face it, feel it, forgive, and finally move on. When the uncomfortable feelings surface, instead of really feeling them and taking a look back in order to identify then express the 'old' painful feeling, we will 'react' to it by one of the many ways we 'avoid' feeling. Each human has different ways to numb or procrastinate when it comes to 'feeling'. Some people smoke, do drugs, drink, shop, gamble, eat, have sex, game, or turn on the tv for hours, all to avoid experiencing the uncomfortable feeling. You'll notice if or when you try to stop your addiction of choice, uncomfortable feelings will usually surface more than normal, which makes you crave your addiction more because you are trying not to feel it. The wheels on the bus go round and round!
I've managed to slowly identify my feelings by asking myself in the moment of reaching for my choice of 'diversion' "what are you avoiding or feeling right now Barb"? I'm not gonna lie, this self-awareness gig is hard work?! The willingness to be transparent to myself however, has been and continues to be the most rewarding gift I've ever given myself. It's still a work in progress and I love that I've made myself my own project!
We really do have to feel it to heal it. If we don't allow ourselves to feel our painful emotions, we will never truly heal them. If we keep reaching for whatever form of diversion or addiction we use to numb the feelings as they surface, we will never be free from the old pain. The numbing device will definitely provide temporary relief and sometimes even a feeling of elation, but it will be just that. Temporary. It won't be long before the pain surfaces again giving us another opportunity to feel it so we can heal it.
You can't change what you don't acknowledge so the first thing on the list is to acknowledge the feeling, feel it, then move it. Here are some ways I've used to move my feelings. It's important to move emotion. Motion changes emotion. If we don't move it, it gets stuck and continues to cause havoc in our lives.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY done with the intention of moving anger is a great release
JOURNALLING our feelings, or writing a really angry letter to anyone and everyone we feel anger towards, allows us to move those feelings out of us and onto the paper....really let loose then burn the letter unless you feel you need to give it to the person
PUNCH PILLOWS or a BAG
SCREAM really loud into a pillow, or while driving (with the windows rolled up of course lol)
CRY....balling our faces off (watch a sad movie and let 'er rip...whatever it takes to get those tears flowing!)
SHARE feelings with someone we trust....confiding in one person for the purpose of moving emotion (as opposed to telling ten people and creating a drama)
CREATE art, music, poetry, or your story ... some of the most amazing artwork, songs, poetry and books have come from people's painful experiences
There's a flow,a pattern in this process...feeling arises, acknowledge it, accept it, feel it, move it...repeat :)) Healing tends to happen in layers so we need to be gentle with ourselves and the process, understanding that the same old feelings will continue to surface until we've worked through them. The more the layers fall away the more room there is for the happy feelings!!
Most importantly we need to be gentle and patient with ourselves and the process, as we would be with a best friend.
I'm not perfect and don't have everything figured out that's for sure, but I can share what I've learned and continue to practice on my own journey and maybe that will help you on your journey :)
Peace, Love and Feelings.....