Four Steps to Feel your Feelings (and why it matters)
Collectively, it’s a tough time, right now. Lots of fear, frustration, grief and rage. So, here’s the deal:
Feel your feelings.
I know…it sounds obvious, but it’s not.
Most of us were taught to suppress our feelings. Even the most conscious parents or caretakers, inadvertently, soothed us in ways that may have minimized or dismissed our feelings. Some parents, from their own wounding, overtly shamed or punished us.
So, we learned to tuck the feelings away, especially if we perceived they would make someone else uncomfortable. The problem is that feelings are messengers and messengers don’t go away until the message is received.
So, the message attempts other ways to get our attention, and often those louder signals are far more unpleasant than the original feelings: such as inflammation in the body leading to physical symptoms. Or outward projections onto our friends, families and colleagues that lead to conflict. THAT’S why I urge you to feel your feelings.
So, ok…fine…feel feelings, but how???
1: Mindset Shift:
Release judgment. All feelings are neutral messengers. We can process them in healthy or less healthy ways, but the feeling itself is simply a communication tool. When you release the judgment of yourself and the feeling, you have easier access.
2: Invite the Feeling:
Eventually, you can quickly access it in the moment, but you may need to set aside time to reflect, or access feelings through emotional material (like listening to an angry song or watching a sad movie)
3: Identify the Feeling:
When we identify and label a feeling, it actually begins a neurological process to release it. Use a feelings list, if needed. (link below)
4: Identify the Message:
Ask yourself, “Is this feeling related to an unmet need, a boundary being crossed, a story I tell myself or a general need for expression? What is this about” Journal or reflect. Get curious and detailed.