So many of us walk around with our eyes closed in complete denial of our feelings.
OMG! I’m having a feeling, what can I do to STOP IT?
Why do we want to stop how we feel?
Why can’t we just honour our feelings and be present with them?
I think it has a lot to do with the world we live in today. So many spiritual teachers and people in general have been conditioned to believe that being positive is the best and only way to be.
Don’t get me wrong being positive and looking on the bright side of things is great. It’s such a fantastic feeling to feel good, to be happy and to just love life. BUT…….. what happens to all of those feelings living inside us that we constantly deny because the world tells us that we must be happy at all times. They are being 100% rejected and while you are rejecting them, they are screaming out for your attention.
They are wanting to be seen, felt, and acknowledged without trying to fix them. In my personal and professional experience, when we hold a gentle space for our feelings this is the antidote for healing.
Have you ever sat with someone who really listened to your words and your feelings without trying to fix you or make you feel better? They listened with empathic ears, reply with empathic words and create an empathic space. There is nothing more beautiful than to have this experience.
Imagine for a moment a childhood memory that caused you a great deal of distress and brought feelings of discomfort. Now imagine pushing the memory and the feelings away and completely denying them. What do you think happens to the childhood memory or feelings? Well, let me tell you, it finds a place somewhere in your body to hide, until you are triggered once again.
Now imagine how devastating it is for that memory or feelings to be completely rejected, left all alone and ignored. What will happen, is it will manifest deep into your being.
Let me ask you this question “would you ignore a child that was in pain?” if you answered “no”, then why do you ignore the parts of you that are in pain? Just spend a few moments thinking about that!
I think one of the hardest things we do is be present in our pain and to make space for the painful feelings that are showing up in our life. No-one wants to feel pain, but let me tell you, until you feel the pain living inside you, then it is always going to be there. In some worst-case scenarios, the pain will manifest into illness. There are many stories that confirm this theory.
Here are just a few ways that you can honour your feelings:
- Gabor Mate who is a Hungarian doctor who now works with trauma, talks about “Compassionate Enquiry”. I love this idea. Next time you are feeling any type of emotional pain, sit with it, as the compassionate enquirer. Ask the feelings to reveal the source of the pain and as the information is coming forth, keep on enquiring with compassion and see what comes up for you. If you can, keep a journal.
- Dialogue – about 4 years ago I did a 7-day silent retreat. As part of the retreat we explored the pain living inside us using Elizabeth Kubler-Ross model of Grief and Loss. In the retreat we dialogued every day. What we did was use two different coloured pens. With one colour we wrote down and spoke from the part of that was in pain, once we finished writing, using the other colour pen we would allow our higher self to write back and speak to the part of us that was in pain from a higher perspective of wisdom. It was such a healing experience. Try it!
- Mindful Meditation – I have on numerous occasions sat with the pain or body sensations that were showing up in my life. I would sit on my meditation stool (you can sit anywhere you want, that is quiet and where you won’t get interrupted) and say for example that I felt highly anxious, I would sit with the anxiety in an attempt to understand why it has shown up on that day. Basically, I became a good listener to my feeling and often it would take me back to a time in my life that I felt unworthy, unloved, not good enough or back to a childhood or adult trauma. If you do this, make sure you journal what comes up for you.
- A friend or therapist – if you have a good friend or therapist, speak to them. If you have someone in your life that can provide you the space to feel as sad, miserable, or unhappy, the GO TO THEM. I have two people in my life that I do this with, one is my friend and the other is my therapist. Having someone witness your darkness is very empowering and healing. It means that you don’t have to stand by yourself in your pain. This alone helps us feel worthy, instead of worthless.
I hope some of the above ideas help you explore and understand the pain living inside you and that you become a witness to the parts of you that you have rejected and denied for years.