How to Feel Your Feelings
I had feelings. They rolled around in the background with different degrees of awareness. I pushed some away without even knowing. Others spilled out unexpectedly with very little self control. Often, I acted out my feelings in a way that was less than desirable. But I did not really know how to skilfully feel my feelings.
Positive feelings such as joy, excitement is labelled as positive because they feel good. They often arise when we are in situations that we perceive as physical, psychological and/or social needs are met. Like when you walk into a function you see the delicious tray of appetizers “food”, a gorgeous man standing in the corner “sex”, or a warm friendly familiar face “connection”. Pleasure feelings arise when you make assessments that make you reach for the food, open up etc. Positive feelings, because they are rewarding, also reinforce behaviour.
Negative on the other hand is fear, anxiety, guilt etc because they feel uncomfortable or sometimes painful. They are the body’s alarm system going off because of a perceived threat which gives our body negative feelings such as avoidance techniques like escaping, fighting etc.
Let’s say using the above analogy that you walked into that function and you smell something off, you smile at the gorgeous guy in the corner, and they ignore you “rejection” and they start whispering “judgement”. Hurt and anxiety quickly makes these threat assessments which leads us to putting down the appetizer, run the opposite way to the gorgeous man, maybe leave to the bathroom and never come back. So, when you move away from the situation you remove the feeling temporarily “reward” which reinforces the avoidance – Right? Come on we have all done this – well I have – LOL!
So why as humans do, we avoid feeling our emotions?
There are a gazillion ways we do this. We use TV, smoke, drink alcohol, videogames, food binges, drugs just to think we are busy doing something else. If sadness arises as we recount a story we just distract ourselves by changing the subject or covering it up. We will nag at our partners. We also avoid discomfort we imagine in the future, we shy away from risks at work, we do not ask someone out that we find attractive just in case of embarrassment or rejection. All of these are external behaviours and we also avoid internal behaviours in the same way by suppressing a disturbing thought, threatening situation, thinking of something in the future and this is when we say “I need that glass of wine” to distract ourselves and not even conscious of what we are avoiding.
FEELINGS WHAT IS PAINFUL GIVES YOU ACCESS TO WHAT REALLY MATTERS
There is nothing wrong with feelings. We all have them and you are allowed to feel which ever way you want to but learning how you can feel them is a completely different ball game.
Someone said to me once, that pain is the flip-side of what we value!
If you push down your loneliness by staying busy, you can’t get in touch with your desire to love and be loved.
We have to develop the muscle and courage to stay with this uncomfortable storm of emotions in order to unpack what it’s important to us and meaningful. This isn’t easy! Let me tell you!
New learning also happens when we develop the capacity to be with and settle with difficult feelings. Because most of our feelings and belief system is based on our past, if we continue to obey them and avoid them we will not have the ability to experiment with learning new techniques to update our beliefs and discover the courage we are capable of.
WHAT WE AVOID WE CANNOT LEARN FROM
To move beyond our past, we have to engage in new experiences that often feel risky and generate negative feels. But this is how we TRANSFORM old, unhelpful beliefs at an emotional level and grow in new ways and become CONFIDENT.
So, to skilfully feel your feelings you can draw on a few technique that I know of and have created so much rational in my life.
1. Name the Feeling. When you become aware of a feeling, pause. What is that all about and try and name it if you can.
2. Allow the Feeling Sensations in your Body. We feel all of our feelings in our body. They can be physical or in our minds. The intention is to keep mindfully accepting what you are feeling at that very moment. Ride it.
3. Mindfully Investigate What is in your Heart. Is the feeling because of loss, is it threatening, being unseen or excluded? What is at the heart of your pain or joy? Are you blaming others? Is this to avoid?
4. Bring Compassion to Your Experience. Investigate these feelings. Do you need to bring kindness to these feelings? Maybe you need to bring empathy to your feelings, console yourself like you would a friend or a family member.
As we develop the internal acceptance muscle, something remarkable happens to us.
We drop our resistance and avoidance and open up a world of infinite possibilities. We start showing up more in our relationships, our careers, family, to ourselves and so on.
When we learn to skilfully feel it connects us deeply to ourselves and creates a freedom to fully engage into our amazing lives and do it with love and meaning.
If you would like to find out more about my VIP program or my one on one mentoring for confidence, life and business then please contact me at either my website or FB Page and let's tee up a time to chat.