For some of us emotions can be a bit of a pain and a lot of us have pretty uncomfortable relationships with them. But, actually they are a precious gift from mother nature. Their function is to alert us to something that is right or wrong. Ever heard the saying ‘trust your gut’? From right back in time to when we were cavemen, they kept us safe, kept us with the crowd, they alerted us to danger and listening to them helped us survive.
As babies we are all born autonomous and spontaneous. As we grow, we learn social graces and interact with the world, we are taught to deny our feelings in order to fit in with society and relationships. Surprisingly, by the age of about 5 it is said that our personality is pretty much set for the rest of our lives.
Have you ever seen an adult say to a child ‘be brave’, ‘don’t cry’ ‘you don’t really feel like that’? So what’s going on for the parent? are they embarrassed? is crying a sign that the child will grow up weak? Now, I know if I’ve just fallen over it probably hurts and I might cry….a lot! But will that child grow up thinking it’s bad to cry and they have always got to swallow the pain? As adults we may ultimately then smile when we are sad and even become angry when we are scared. Some of us would rather think logically than actually feel – it’s just too painful.
So, people worry that their emotions and feelings may be taken as a sign of weakness and believe that they probably shouldn’t really be feeling that way. But those feelings that are suppressed and kept down are never destroyed. They don’t just disappear. They fester inside and leak out in all kinds of ways, even in physical symptoms. Sometimes they are kept at bay with drugs, unhealthy relationships, food or alcohol.
But we must look at our own emotions and feelings in order to make sense of our actions and behaviour. Being able to feel them actually makes us more resilient, helps us create boundaries and makes us stronger.
So what can I do?
When you get ‘that feeling’ try not to resist it or push it away – if you can try to accept what you are feeling. If you can sit with the feeling, over time you will learn to become more comfortable with it.
Don’t judge the feeling – no feeling is bad. Look on the feeling as a clue to how you coped earlier in your life.
Find a way to calm it down – so we have said not to avoid the feeling but try not to intensify it either. Try to ride it out until it passes and then….let it go.
This may be a bit tricky to do on your own, or you may not even know what you are feeling or why you are feeling it. If this is you and you need some support in uncovering what and why you feel it, then please get in touch and you can have someone to walk alongside you while you do discover.