When you’re afraid to feel your feelings…
This may sound silly at first. Who the Hell is afraid of their own emotions?
Well, here’s what I know for sure.
There are feelings you ALLOW yourself to feel and feelings you will avoid feeling at all costs.
I know this to be true form my own life, but it became even more apparent when I was a teacher at one of the world’s leading drug and alcohol treatment centers.
There, I wondered, why is it that we seek to be NUMB?
And what feelings are the scariest for us to feel?
I was afraid of my anger.
I thought that if I allowed myself to fully feel it, it would consume me.
I pictured myself a ball of rage, setting fire to innocent bystanders.
I thought if I unleashed the sleeping dragon, I would eat everyone alive.
I had good reason to feel this way because I was full of repressed anger.
I’d been people pleasing for so long that I forgot how to speak my truth.
Many clients have told me over the years that anger is easier for them to feel. In fact, their go to emotion is anger. What they won’t allow is sadness.
Many have said that if they allow their sadness, they’d be afraid it would turn into a whirling tornado of quick sand, sucking the life out of them, drowning them in sorrow.
Maybe it’s not that dramatic.
Maybe you’re just a base line FINE. You don’t allow any real emotion to get too out of hand. You feel feelings, but live in sort of a glazed over denial that things are better than they are.
If you looked at your life for real, you’d have to make change. And rocking the boat seems too big a risk to take.
Here’s what I know now.
Just because you’re afraid to feel your feelings doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
In other words…you aren’t avoiding anything. You’re just making it worse.
It’s like a cancer you deny.
It grows like a mushroom in the dark, covered in bullshit.
I remember when I decided to go alcohol free.
I had a very hard time with allowing my feelings. However, it was if I couldn’t contain them. They poured out of me at the most inopportune times.
I was embarrassed by my own tears and ashamed of my vulnerability.
And I could have done what our society values. I could have just continued to “suck it up”, or I could have “put my big girl panties on”.
But that’s not what happens. When we do that, what naturally follows is we over medicate. We end up binging on alcohol or food. We spend money we don’t have or we sleep too much.
We find ways to mitigate the feelings we refuse to feel in a lame attempt to shut them up. We drown them, stuff them down and buy them things.
There has to be a better way.
I decided to investigate where that skewed thinking developed in. In my work, I discovered the root of this behavior, which is generational for sure. And I ripped it up!
I can give you tips on how to manage your emotions. In fact, my husband is a master teacher of state management. And he has a program designed to help you develop your inner warrior.
But for the rest of us who have been in battle our entire lives and wish to take off our armor, may I suggest these 3 steps.
- It’s time to GET QUIET and GET STILL. The next time you start to feel a feeling that seems uncomfortable for you I want you to stop in your tracks. Sit still. BE.
- GET CURIOUS. Next I want you to ask the feeling some questions. Where is it in your body? What does it feel like? Can it talk? What does it make you think about? Is it trying to tell you something?
- GET COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE. This feeling may be offering you thoughts you don’t wish to be thinking. It may be asking you to examine something unresolved. Can you remember what you were thinking right before the feeling? How did it feel to allow the emotion? What did you learn about yourself as a result of being willing to sit in the feeling? Does it want you to make a change or acknowledge something?
I want you to know that your feelings are you GPS. They are divine messengers of repressed desires and needs that are waiting to be witnessed.
The more you allow your feelings, the more adept you’ll become. You’ll notice what needs to change in your life.
In the meantime, if you are feeling repeated emotions in a relationship such as confusion, resentment, sadness or pain, it’s time to start getting the tools to break free.
Join me for my upcoming Masterclass where we’ll uncover how to do just that!
You can find the link on the homepage.
Watch the video below for an explanation of the pretendiing personality pattern.