“In the absence of resistance all the cells in your body can be restored”-Anonymous
I believe that many of us were not taught formally how to feel our feelings. I mean really feel them. As children our well- intended parents could not bear to watch us get upset, so they quickly tried to distract us, or told us what was upsetting us wasn’t that bad. The truth is they couldn’t handle the pain of watching us in pain, so they tried to get us out of it so that they could escape it too. It is no wonder as adults we continue this pattern by turning to food, alcohol, shopping, Netflix, etc. to run away from negative emotion. We run because we think these unpleasant emotions are too difficult to process and that we might not survive the accompanying feelings. The truth is we won’t survive them if we continue to run from them. We need to learn how to feel.
When you fight against a negative feeling, you actually make it stronger. Let’s take anxiety as an example. Your ability to feel anxiety is very different than actually suffering from anxiety. When you allow yourself to feel the pain and fear, it has much less impact on you than when you try to resist it. I love the metaphor of holding a huge beach ball under the water. Eventually it gets so strong and pops back up with a greater intensity than if you had just allowed it to float around near you. When you allow yourself to feel fear, feel ashamed, feel self-doubt, you can access the thought that is creating it. Conversely you cannot change a feeling that you are unwilling to feel.
It may not make logical sense to allow, or even to lean into a negative emotion. Many of us could not fathom embracing discomfort or suffering. The reason to embrace it is so that you can have some authority over it so that you can manage it. When you are running away or distracting yourself, you won’t free yourself from it permanently. Imagine what you might do in your life if you were not afraid to fail? If you were not afraid of rejection? Just how freeing and productive you’d be.
Feelings are vibrations in our bodies caused by our thoughts. That’s it. But depending on how strong they are and what thoughts triggered them, they may only come up a handful of times, and sometimes they may linger for days. By allowing them to cycle through, like waves washing up on a beach, it can feel so much less painful than resisting them like we normally do.
The next time a negative feeling washes up, challenge yourself to step into it, allow it, tell yourself “I can do anxiety.” “I can do shame.” “I” can do fear.” Let it rise and fall, till it falls away completely. Don’t be in a rush, because that will turn you back into resistance. Step into it.
Lastly, when you allow yourself to experience negative feelings, you will find that you also experience positive emotions more fully. Lean into those too. Ride the wave, the momentum of those beautiful waves. Ride the natural high. Dive deeper into the positive feeling, see if you can make it even bigger and share that momentum with the ones around you. I watched my friend who is a spinning instructor, step into her feeling of bliss and for days her classes had such a high vibration felt by all the riders. You get better at feeling whatever you are feeling, and then you can do the powerful work of creating emotions on purpose with purpose to live the life you want. Step into all of them for a very rich and full life.
In the spirit of positive emotions and abundance, I created a worksheet for anyone that would like to practice wanting what you already have. Take a stab at it. Click here.
If you or someone you care about really struggles with an intense feeling like anxiety, irritability, overwhelm or sadness and want to learn how to feel it instead of avoiding it, feel free to schedule a complimentary mini-session, I have 2 spots left for the month of February @ http://bit.ly/2rD8YZk.