We need to take time to listen to our feelings and not dismiss or avoid them. We may avoid our feelings by staying busy, working, eating, drinking, gambling, shopping, or cleaning. It takes courage to be ourselves, to feel and express our feelings. Feelings are the gateway to who we are. They are there to help us know ourselves and know what we need to do next. They give us clues if something is wrong, to help us protect ourselves and keep ourselves safe. They are part of the human condition and we all have them.
It’s our resistance to feelings that cause more problems than the feelings themselves. Feelings are part of being alive and resisting them means resisting life. Feelings are energy, always in motion. Unstuck energy lives in the body when we resist our feelings. They get stuck in the body and may appear as a lump in the throat, heaviness in the throat or tightness in the stomach. Feelings live in our bodies and may come out as headaches, stomachaches, backaches and colitis if we don’t deal with them.
Repressed feelings tend to lodge in the body in the form of hidden tensions, unhealthy habits and stress-induced chemical changes. Often, illness is an expression of feelings repressed.
Feelings are meant to pass quickly, they are like clouds in the sky and it’s the nature of them to move on. We cannot live in the moment and enjoy the present when our feelings are stuck inside, whether that be resentment, anger, fear, jealously or unforgiveness. To move on, we need to allow our feelings to come to the surface in order to let go and heal. We need to learn to give thanks for the opportunities that life provides for the surfacing of our fears.
Do you have a problem with judging your feelings and making them wrong? You might say to yourself “I shouldn’t feel this way, after all I have a good husband, home or I’m a Christian and shouldn’t feel fear because it means I’m not trusting God.” Many of us have learned to control our feelings, to keep them hidden away, to stuff them and smile. The message I received was “I will give you something to cry about.” I felt ashamed when I cried or had any feelings at all. For many years, I was totally out of touch with my feelings, especially anger. We are use to distancing ourselves from emotional pain and often cover our feelings with self judgement. When we push away parts of ourselves, we fall deeper into isolation, feelings of unworthiness, self hatred and depression. We often beat up on ourselves and never feel good enough.
Depression is the classic disease of women. If we don’t express what we’re feeling -what’s bugging us in a constructive healing manner, very often the result is depression. Depression is like a fog that settles over us, limiting our ability to see what we are really feeling. Often when we are depressed, there’s something we need to do and we are afraid to do it. Feeling depressed when we have had a loss is normal and healthy in the grieving process. Depression can be a sign we are hiding from something or avoiding action. Often it is hidden and inverted anger.
Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are. Messages from society are that feelings are bad or dangerous and we try to avoid them at any cost. We need to accept and feel our feelings in order to move through them. We need to embrace and honor our feelings.
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