How lucky are we humans to feel emotions? We take this ability for granted, especially when feeling negative emotions that are so strong and intense. Our emotions are formed when a feeling comes in contact with a thought because of a circumstance. (check out Brooke Castillo and her coaching model.) A thought is ALWAYS neutral but we begin to attach a feeling to it. That is when the thought becomes charged either + or -. So often people want to stop experiencing negative emotions altogether because it’s so painful to feel them. I even once googled; how can I stop feeling negative emotions forever. It’s impossible, as long as you’re alive and living here on this Earth. I had the belief that if I felt a negative emotion, there was something wrong with me for feeling that way, guilt would creep in. If any of this resonates with you, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. You’re going to appreciate feeling strong emotions, especially if they feel bad. Why? Because you can and that’s what is so amazing about it all if you think about it. Emotions are indicators to your preferences in life. They are to be felt and then you take that information and make a judgement. You can either keep repeating that situation and get the same negative outcome or you can adjust within yourself (not manipulate) the situation until you get the emotion you want to feel. I am going to tell you the four different ways that we process our emotions. Because of society, we are never really taught how this works and just end up following what everyone else does. I will explain why it’s best to eventually surrender and how to let it all go so you are not stuck with them. If you want to learn more on this, please read the book Letting Go by David R Hawkins, MD. PhD.
Express emotions. We express by venting the situation to someone or acting it out. By doing this, some pressure from the feeling is released but the rest of that emotion gets stored in our unconscious mind. Positive examples to express: write it out and then trash it, going to the gym to work out or talk with a therapist, someone who is indifferent to your circumstance.
Avoid or escape the emotion. So many ways we can avoid feeling emotions are eating, drinking alcohol, drugs, shopping or watching tv to name a few. This is where we fall unconscious to taking our direct attention away from the inside feeling, and directing it outwards by taking out our phones and scrolling through social media for a distraction when we feel anxious. Positive examples to escape: go to a movie, volunteer or help someone in need, give someone a call and ask them how they are doing.
Suppress. We are holding onto our emotions and pushing them deep so no one sees it. We are feeling them but because of the current situation you may be in, you cannot appropriately express or avoid them in that moment. This is considered a conscious choice because we are aware of them but we need to do something so we push them down, way down. An example as to when you might have to suppress: With a group of people and holding back from yelling at them in anger. Or punching someone, no matter how justified it may be.
Repression. This action goes into our unconscious mind. Remember when I said earlier that when you express those feeling and eventually the rest of them get stored? Well, here they are hiding and this is where trauma is built up in the body. When an emotion is not fully expressed, it’s then eventually repressed and shows up in physical ailments such as pain in the body, diabetes or even insomnia. Or another example is when an emotion can also show up at a time when it’s inappropriate. The emotion came from “out of the blue”. You may simply be eating a quiet, peaceful meal at home with family, something may trigger you and the next thing you know you are bawling your eyes out leaving yourself and everyone baffled.
Letting go of our emotion. Surrender, relaxing in to it or better said let it be. Whatever words ring true with you. In Dr. Hawkins book, Letting Go, he discusses our letting go mechanism in full detail. But what is explained by him in his book is doing these 3 simple things: 1.) acknowledge the feeling. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is inside and where this is felt in the body. It’s possible that you may feel guilt for having that particular feeling. You will want to so badly push the emotion away or add guilt on top of that feeling. Don’t do that. Once you feel it and don’t start to put any thought into feeling it, then 2.) let it be and ignore the thoughts or questions that you may ask yourself that you try to attach to the emotion. Finally ask yourself, 3.) “Am I willing to let this (grudge or emotion) go so that I can experience something even better?” There is a good chance your answer will be a no but be okay with that. You will come around to saying yes. You will not want to live in misery forever. We do not like to let things go because it hurts our ego or our identity. But you will know when you’ve released the emotion because it will no longer feel sticky to you or you feel indifferent to what happened. You will feel freer or as if a weight was lifted from you.
Keep in mind, when an emotionally charged situation first happens, you do not have to use the letting go process immediately. You may feel something so overwhelming like a death or a loss, so trying to surrender in that moment is not expected. It can be done in a time when you are feeling ready to let it go or when the emotion is a little less intense. We process feelings differently, express and avoiding your emotions may be the appropriate way for the moment, just try not to stay there for too long.
If you have any more questions, please email me. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. I truly hope you are all doing well this week and until next time!