Right up into my twenties, I created the habit of resisting emotions and avoiding what I was feeling. Repressing emotions rather than experiencing them. Or, being overly reactive and dramatizing my experience when feelings bubbled up and sought expression.
Denying our emotions creates inner turmoil and perpetuates the emotional experience. And through this resistance, emotions become stuck in our body. Whether it's defensiveness, anger, sadness, or something else, the resistance is usually accompanied by a personal 'story' that justifies our reactions, keeping the emotion alive, often by attributing the cause of the emotional experience to something or someone outside our self.
When I developed the practice of consciously feeling and becoming more aware of my emotions, I opened to a new way of living. I allowed myself to experience my feelings without judgement and created a much deeper relationship with myself. This is an ongoing process, and with practice, has become increasingly effortless to accept all parts of who I am and what I experience.
Here are five suggestions to help you feel your feelings fully so you reap the rewards of a deeper connection with yourself:
1. Be fully present with your feelings, fully welcoming them to exist in your body. Breathe as you experience your feelings and be open to changes and movement as they flow through your body.
2. When you become aware of a feeling, notice if a thought preceded it and caused your reaction. Also check if there is physical response, such as muscle tension, that accompanies the experience.
3. Let go of the drama, story, or justification you have attached to any feeling that arises in your body. Ask yourself if you could release your attachment to your 'story', and just experience the feeling for what it is.
4. When feelings arise, give yourself time to process them by finding a quiet space and allowing yourself to be with your experience, without judgement or interference, until they have completely moved through you.
5. Recognize that life is all about feeling, and being open to all feelings that arise within you creates an opportunity to live in deeper connection with who you are. By creating the habit of feeling your feelings fully, you will strengthen your sense of self and enrich your experience of life.