So, what is so frightening about our feelings? What is it about intense emotions that cause us to go out of our way time and time again, in order to avoid dealing with them?
For whatever it’s worth, here’s my take. It is human nature to fear what we don’t know or understand. We don’t have to go far from our own developmental process to see this as fact. Children aren’t afraid of daylight – they are afraid at night, when it is dark. Because it is difficult to actually see things in the dark, our imagination kicks in and feeds our thoughts. (And, if you see a connection between the words imagination and image, you can link them together and come up with how our imaginations create images inside our heads all the time.) Another ‘factoid’ about human nature, is that we tend to imagine more of the worst than the best. Again, if we reflect on the way things are with young children, they imagine monsters under the bed not fairy princesses.
Having said that, what I believe is that when it comes to our feelings and emotions, we are likely to imagine them being much worse than they are in actuality. We blow them out of proportion and continue through the cycle of avoiding them because now, we are even more fearful of facing them than ever.
How do we stop the madness? Remind yourself we have not been told to think about our feelings. The suggestion is to get in touch with our feelings. We don’t touch with our brains. We need to feel our emotions, to experience them.
It has taken me a while to get it, but I finally understand this to mean I need to identify where in my physical body I am feeling the feeling; to acknowledge it being there; to breathe into it and stop resisting it, and to let it be. Amazingly, it doesn’t last forever. It dissipates and dissolves, eventually other feelings appear, and they move on too.
They are JUST feelings. They do not have any control over me that I am not willing to give up. They do not have any more power than anything else. They are not against me. They are for me to accept as part of who I am.
One of the neatest things about feelings that I’ve discovered, is that there is absolutely no such thing as wrong or right to them. They just are.
Carve out 10 or 15 minutes to get to know your feelings today. As I heard said the other day “don’t just do something, sit there!”
I would truly love to hear how it goes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!