When you’ve experienced hurt after hurt that’s difficult to heal, here’s what happens.
Fireplaces can be a source of warmth, comfort and security. As long as the chimney is open, and excess heat, smoke can leave.
If the chimney is blocked, by clutter or critter, the smoke could fill the house. That is, until it finds another way out.
Come to think of it, your emotions work the same way.
They want out, in the form of tears, sharing fears or asking for support you need.
But when you force your emotions down, every time they try to come up. You’re blocking the chimney.
You may think the emotions are gone, or at least contained. What they’re actually doing is filling the house, your body.
They’re looking for a way out. A window, door, something. As long as it get’s a chance to be felt.
A window could be a headache, a backache or fatigue. A door could be stomach upset, or an ulcer.
That energy wreaks havoc until it completes it’s journey. First it arrives, it passes through, then it leaves. They’re temporary.
When you shove it down you hold it hostage, you won’t let it leave. You’re only through it once you experiencep it, and learn it’s wisdom.
Allowing yourself the level of honesty and vulnerability to experience emotions freely, is courageous and one of the most generous things you can do for yourself.
Unexpressed emotions show up at unwanted times. They source defensiveness, low self-esteem and so on.
For all the effort we make at being seen, feeling important. It makes sense you need to know how it feels, to get better at knowing it when you see it.
Start by seeing yourself through accepting and compassionate eyes. So your emotions come, show and go.
Here to help you find your way.
The emotions I grew up with were primarily, fear, anger, sadness, and so on.
“What’s your relationship like with your emotions?” Hold that thought, we’ll get to your answer in a bit.
As a Neurodivergent kid, growing up in the 70’s, and 80’s, few knew what to do for a child coloring so far outside the lines.
Bottom line, it didn’t go well.
There were good times, and beautiful moments as well. Hard to remember, hidden behind a preoccupation with woundings versus wisdom.
In my later years, I committed to refining my primary responses to life, either flying off the handle, or collapsing into a puddle of tears. This tormenting pendulum made it nearly impossible to feel safe in my own skin.
One belief that surfaced, was your imperfect moments aren’t human, but a cumulative score kept by some imaginary gatekeeper. If you have a high score you’re some how worth less.
I’ll let you in on something, one of the reasons we neurodivergents are so creative, and resourceful, because we have significantly more opportunities to discover workarounds, and other unique solutions to problems.
Having committed decades to the inner work, I enjoy a wonderful balance of my emotions. A calm mind that accepts the e-motion or energy motion, of the visceral responses to the world around me.
Anxiety and depression remain ever present, but they’re largely a manageable field of weeds. Frequent tending required.
I wanted to explore this topic of emotion with my online community. So I posed the question “What’s your relationship like with your emotions?” I was blown away by the number of responses and the pattern in them.
Maybe a fourth of the answers expressed an accepting, and positive relationship with their emotions.
The rest described their relationship with their emotions as:
“I focus on the surface stuff and tuck the rest away”
No one deserves to live with the belief, that the opportunity to feel is primarily an opportunity to feel bad.
Showing emotion isn’t for the purpose of letting your guard down for you to be hurt in some way. It’s simultaneously an opening of your heart, to allow for the sharing of love and connection with each other.
As mentioned earlier, learning to shift your focus from woundings to wisdom, gives you access to the inner resources you need, to heal when your heart is hurting.
One positive answer from a community member stood out, “My emotions ebb and flow in cycles throughout the day. I take each feeling as it comes and allow it space, and feel it throughly. I don’t control them and they don’t control me. We work in harmony most days, and when we don’t, I listen to what they tell me.”
That is the experience that’s possible with our emotions. It was the topic of conversation with the Women in my Inner Circle yesterday morning. The HOW to get there from here.
This ability isn’t granted at birth. It’s ideal to receive instruction on the thinking, and habits that help make this the way you live your life.
I’ve invested in a combination of therapy and mentorship. Plus a commitment to confront and correct the ways I deceive myself (I call it the No Bullshit Rule). This inner work has been transformative in helping me regulate my emotions instead of fearing them.
How do you experience inner peace when you work so hard to keep the lid on the pressure cooker?
Different emotions mean different things. It’s hard to find the meaning if you don’t even know what emotion you’re feeling.
Even happy or calm can feel like a threat when you have more words to describe the difficult emotions, than the positive.
Working to expand your emotional vocabulary, and ability to experience a wider range of emotion is key. There are so many subtle, invigorating and wonderful layers to life. But living with emotional color-blindness keeps them out of view.
An important distinction between emotion and feelings. Emotions are the raw energy your body produces in response to your interaction with life.
Feelings refer to our stories about the what and why of our emotions, the story we create about our emotions. The moment you begin having thoughts about your emotions, you are feeling. Got it!
By learning to experience your emotions safely, in a variety of ways, you can also get in touch with your feelings/stories.
The story determines how long an emotion stays, how intense it can feel, and whether you wise-up or wound from it.
Your mind and body are one. Emotions wake your body, and mind up in preparation for action.
You have more options than fight or flight. But you need more emotions in your repertoire to discover them.
Let’s get started.