Feelings Aren’t Failure

 

Feelings are Life expressing itself through you.

Feelings are information.

Feelings are meant to flow.

Feelings become problematic when they are stagnant or suppressed.

Most people who are afraid of their feelings are scared because they rarely use the release valve, and instead bottle and suppress their feelings until they can no longer be contained. And then they literally erupt leaving the person feeling so intensely and in a state of overwhelm and feeling out of control. Depending on the nature of the eruption, people also feel intense shame. Or anxiety. Or like they have failed.

But feelings aren’t failure.

Feelings are Life expressing itself through you.

Feelings are information.

Feelings are meant to flow.

If you are in the suppressor/eruptor camp (and I say that will love as it was my preferred residence for a very long time), you may be reading this and wondering “Why would I want to feel my feelings?”   For a few reasons:

To access all parts of yourself so that you can live in integration (a.ka. FINALLY feeling full). The sense of emptiness, of always needing more, is often because we are literally missing parts of ourselves. We are homesick for ourselves and we don’t even realize it. But that pervasive emptiness is an echo from the parts we have forgotten to listen to and give life to. Feelings are the access pathways back to yourself.

To be able to connect to others. The extent to which we connect to others is directly related to the extent to which we connect to ourselves. Have you ever been with a group of people or with a partner and yet had a sense of distance, aloneness, and separateness? That’s because you are present but not connected. Outward connection is dependent on inward connection. Feelings are the access pathways to connection with others.

Because feelings can be fun! You know those moments of laughing so hard you cry? Or the peace that comes over you when you watch someone you love sleep soundly? Or that thrilling sense of anticipation that you get when you begin an adventure? Or joy so deep it moves you to tears? Feelings are the access pathways to Life.

There is a hard truth though – you only get to experience those amazing feelings when you allow yourself to feel. And when you open the door to feeling, it is the full spectrum of life that becomes available to you. And I know that can be scary. Really, I know. I have been there.

15 years ago, I hired a coach because I was disconnected from my life, depressed, and really didn’t see the point of being alive (I really didn’t). I worked with him for 2 years and my whole world changed. We spent much of our time working to help me access my feelings.

The expressive, sensitive woman I am today- 15 years ago she was buried deeply. Buried to the point when my coach would ask me ‘ So how do you feel?’ I would answer, ‘ Well, I think I feel happy’. And he would say ‘ Okay , now I know what you think. But how do you feel?’. I didn’t actually feel. I could only think about how I might feel. True story.

Clearly, I have now learned how to feel – Halleluiah! And so can you. Here’s an exercise that I practiced for a very long time when I was beginning to get comfortable with my feelings and one that I often use with my clients: Stop. Drop. Roll.   (I know, it’s just like learning how to put out fire!)

  1. Stop. Take a few minutes throughout your day to stop and check in with yourself. Set a reminder on your calendar or an alarm on your phone. Stop what you are doing and ask yourself ‘How am I feeling right now?’
  2. Drop into the feeling. It helps to close your eyes, take a breath and get to know how that feeling feels in your body. Where do you feel it? Where does it show up in your body? How intense or subtle is it? Can you amplify it?
  3. Roll with it. Can you allow the feeling to roll through you? Can you give it permission to hang with you for a little while in your day? If you are uncomfortable, can you imagine yourself riding the wave like an experienced surfer?

That’s it. Stop, drop and roll.

Whatever is coursing through you today, in this moment, know it’s evidence of a life being lived .

P.S. If you would like to learn how to identify your core desired feelings- the ones that you deeply long to feel most of the time, and learn how to create the conditions to feel more of what you want – I have 4 spots left in the 6-week  Desire Map virtual workshop I am leading. It starts this Sunday and registration details are here.

 

 

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