Why do we find it so hard to acknowledge our feelings?
I’m not sure about you, but I have been in the space of wanting to move away from my feelings, especially when they have been intense. It is as if I believed that feeling the emotions would not be good for me. So, I stuffed the feelings away, inside me somewhere, and hoped they would go away.
What a crazy idea that was!
What I have begun to do over the past five years is realising that feelings are okay to have. There is nothing wrong with being emotional, no matter what emotion it is. If I am angry, I let myself BE angry; If I feel sad, I allow myself to BE sad; If I think I have been hurt by someone, I give myself permission to FEEL hurt.
When I do this, I have noticed that I feel better.
I see that merely giving myself permission to have the feeling also makes me feel better. At least then, I am saying to myself, “what you are experiencing is okay.” Not like what would happen when I would shut down my emotions, which was saying to myself, “You shouldn’t be feeling emotional. You shouldn’t be expressing how you are feeling. Don’t be emotional, because it is not a good thing.”
Are you like me? Have you spent your life hiding your feelings? Did you have parents who told you it wasn’t okay to express your emotions?
Let’s now have a look at some of our feelings we should acknowledge:
What do you notice when you feel angry? I realised that if I slow down what happens when I get mad, the scenario usually goes something like this: My partner says something and within a second, I respond angrily. I shout at him and feel furious and red hot inside.
When I slowed this down, I noticed what was really happening; Initially, I was hurt with him for what he said to me, rather than wanting to get in touch with feeling so hurt. So, I flipped that feeling outward, and it then expressed itself as anger towards him.
Underneath my anger, I found sadness or feelings of hurt most of the time. If you playback in slow motion what happens when you are angry, do you notice this too?
My sadness can come on suddenly, and feel as if it has lived inside me for a long time. What I have noticed when I sit in my grief is that I have stories about what was, and now isn’t. I compare my life in one situation to the now, and the now is lacking. Or, I think about what I could have had if only “… .” Again, I am comparing. Sadness can feel so overwhelming, almost like a tidal wave that you don’t know how to get out of. It can feel as though it will engulf you, and you won’t be able to survive it.
That feeling then leads to hopelessness, and yet, what I realised is that this feeling is like the waves; it does ebb and flow if I let it have a life. It can be as strong as a tidal wave one minute and then move like a wave coming into the shore the next. Do you notice that too, if you allow yourself to be with feelings of sadness?
Hurt leaves me feeling very alone. Is that what you notice too? I believe that I am unloved, not liked, rejected, and that causes me to feel hurt. I so want someone to hug me, console me, love me, approve of me, appreciate me, and tell me I am worth being with, or around.
I notice that when I feel hurt, I am looking for consolation from other people, especially the other person who hurt me. If I sit with my hurt, I often drop into the space of sadness too. These emotions don’t always live singly, they join hands often.
So, next time you are experiencing feelings, what might it be like to first let that feeling have a life, and secondly, to notice what you are thinking? You just may be surprised of what you become aware of.
After all, our feelings are merely a reaction to our story of life. Why not embrace the story and re-write it?
Here’s to acknowledging our feelings!