What makes it so hard to experience feelings? Why do some people seem to do anything to avoid having them for long? Or at all? What is so bad about sadness, fear or anger?
I notice that most folks don’t avoid more “positive” feelings like feeling happy. Though I have known people that did begin to wait for “the other shoe to drop” when things are going well. They don’t trust the good to remain for them.
First question. Is it ok to not feel “good”? To this I say YES, it is ok to not feel good all the time! I don’t think it is possible to be happy ALL the time! And if we expect that of ourselves then don’t accomplish it, we can feel like we are failing somehow.
We human beings experience a range of emotions. This is normal. Some experience many feelings and a big range of intensity. Others have less intense feelings. A few folks may seem to have very few feelings.
Some of this can be innate wiring. I think some of us feel more. Some feeling habits can be experiences. Many children are not supported when they express their feelings. Some are even punished. This could cause a person to shut down. Shutting down emotionally can become a habit.
Feelings often have a lot of energy attached to them. I think sometimes the energy is unsettling to people. They may think they need to DO something with this energy. And there is the error.
Feelings DO NOT REQUIRE ACTION. Even if we are filled to overflowing with an emotion, we can just sit with it.
Learning to do this takes practice. We sense a feeling in our body. We notice it. We can label it. Then we just sit with it.
I encourage folks to use self compassion steps when meeting these feelings. It can be easy to begin to judge ourselves and our feelings (and it is rarely a good judgement!) You can notice the judgment as well. Then let it go. Observe. Feel. Release. Observe. Feel. Release. Be with it all. Kindly. With compassion.
Treat yourself and your feelings as a small upset child. Comfort the child. Be present with the child. Accept.
When we accept our feelings, they shift, they change. When we deny our feelings they dig in, grow stronger and often more toxic.
Feelings are data, information for us to use.
So today, do an experiment. Try sitting with a feeling. Don’t talk about it, don’t take any action on it. Just be with it. And tell me what happens!