Allowing ourselves to feel something is different than reacting to it or dwelling on it.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. Many of us struggle with our feelings—suppressing them, getting stuck in them, having emotional outbursts. We know it is healthy to acknowledge our emotions, but don’t always succeed at doing so in a functional way. It’s tricksy to have a sane balance in dealing with feelings. How do we feel something in the moment without getting lost in the emotion or overreacting?
We can start by recognizing strong feelings—we may not know our precise emotion immediately—and observing any accompanying physical sensations. Knowing how our body signals certain emotions may be helpful in dealing with them.
Next we can identify what we’re basically feeling: mad, sad, glad, ashamed, or afraid. If this is a frequent emotion for us, we can make a mental note to dig deeper afterward, to understand our patterns around this emotion.
We then can allow ourselves to feel the emotion fully, no holdback and no resistance, for a short while. When we’re not fighting against experiencing an emotion, we can release it more easily. We won’t judge ourselves or the emotion, we simply feel it completely.
After our immersive emotional experience, we can step back for a moment, as time permits, and mentally summarize and evaluate. What were we feeling? What was the trigger? Do we see a pattern? What do we want to do with the feeling? Do we need to communicate what we felt and why to anyone? Is any action, based on our feelings, warranted or advisable? Is there any inner work needed, if an emotional pattern is evident? What healthy self-care will help us deal with the feeling?
Today’s message advises to me to allow myself to feel completely first and then process and take action afterwards. Once that is done, I need to let the emotion and situation go. My feelings are signposts to my inner state, and what parts of me may need tending. They should not plunge me into drawn out emotional states. I’m healthiest when I feel fully, process, and tend, and then free myself for new experiences.
How about you? How do you deal with feelings and does it serve you well?