I believe one of the important steps in our growth is learning how to feel our feelings instead of just thinking about them. Most people live in a constant state of reacting to feelings and once you learn how to feel and release them, you can easily witness how much of the world is in a state of madness because they spend their lives reacting to what is mostly an illusion.
What I mean by this is most of us spend an enormous amount of our daily life force energy worrying about things that never happen.
This used to be my life. I would wake up in the morning and immediately start worrying about all the challenges I had to face that day, mentally preparing myself for how I would handle them. I thought about it all throughout my morning and then worried if I handled it well enough after it was done. I was rarely just in the moment allowing myself to enjoy life.
I would read or watch the news daily and allow the events being told to me to anger or frustrate me even more.
What I didn’t know was that all of this was creating an endless self-destructive cycle which created health and relationship challenges.
These days, this seems just as true for many women as it does men, but most men have a harder time with it for men in my generation were taught by society not to feel our feelings. We were taught as little boys that “big boys don’t cry,” that “children were to be seen and not heard” and a lot of other societal restrictions that impacted how men were programmed to behave from childhood on up.
Emotions are actually “energy in motion” and it is self-destructive to repress energy. If we unconsciously repress our emotions, they get stuck in the body and can create a wide variety of health issues which often appear to have no discernible root cause.
Unfortunately, how we deal with our emotions, is often passed down generationally through families and only by each generation learning how to deal with their emotions better than their parents, does improvement occur. But if we are to heal the madness of our world, we must first start with the madness in ourselves.
Below is a Feelings Chart shared in Hu Dalconzo’s “Self-Mastery: A Journey Home to Your Self,” although I believe the original creator was author John Gray.
This chart was very useful for helping to learn to feel my feelings and especially when I was repressing them and just thinking about what I was feeling instead of just feeling them. Feeling our feelings means to focus on the physical sensation going on in our bodies and to just feel it and breathe into it.
I remember teaching this to client many years ago and she told me one day she was really angry at her husband and she left the room. Instead of just continuing to think about why she was mad at him, she decided to feel the feeling and breathe into it. She told me she realized she felt the energy of anger strongest in her temples and she just felt the tightness and tension for a few minutes while breathing in and out of the discomfort. In a few minutes, she complete forgot why she was mad at him.
I experienced something similar in a meeting at work one day. I said something in the meeting and a manager disagreed with me and made a point that made me realize my theory was wrong. I started to get angry about it and realized I was just embarrassed. I sat there for a few minutes while the conversation continued in the group and just allowed myself to feel embarrassed, to really feel the heat in my face, the tightness and pain in my stomach and breathed into it until it was gone. Once it was, I was able to re-engage in the discussion and make a contribution. This was something I would have been incapable of before learning to feel.
Often when we are feeling something, we are not just feeling one thing. When I was coaching and my clients would be describing an incident in their past from which they felt emotionally upset, I would have them look at this chart and pick out up to three different things that they were feeling about the issue.
Then I would walk them through the steps of:
- Where do you feel this in your body?
- What does it feel like?
- Imagine it as dark cloud and each time you breathe in, imagine white light coming in and breaking up the cloud until it become lighter and lighter
- I would also have them exhale with the sound of Ahhhh…the sound of relief
Every client I’ve worked with, using this technique, they felt better in just a few minutes and actually could not believe how much better they felt, knowing how long they had been holding onto those feelings.
Another great tool that I found many years ago was at that time an audiobook by Stephen Cope called, “Yoga for Emotional Flow.”
On what was once the first CD, he describes what emotional energies are and how to move through them mindfully. He also has three guided meditations to teach the listener how to practice feeling their emotions, even when they are intense. I highly recommend it.
When I first started learning to feel my feelings and practiced it regularly, it seemed like my world started to change. It appeared to me that people were starting to be friendlier to me. I worked in a corporate environment and in walking the halls before, I rarely saw anyone who looked up or said hi very often. Now when I walked the halls, I would look up and people were smiling and waving.
I commented to some of my co-workers and my manager that everyone just seemed friendlier...and they told me that they thought “I” was a lot friendlier and that I smiled a lot more.
In many ways, it was like taking off a pair of colored sunglasses that I’d had no idea I was wearing.
We cannot heal anything we are unwilling to feel. The solution to our problems isn’t “out there” and that’s really good news, because none of us can change someone else. The only person we have power to change is ourselves.
I encourage you to practice feeling your feelings using any or all of the techniques/tools I’ve listed here.
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