How do you handle your feelings? Do you accept and appreciate them, or do you reject and avoid them?
Many of us have learned to suppress the feelings we don’t like. We don’t want to feel hurt and vulnerable. We may also have difficulty accepting our angry feelings. But the truth is, having feelings is part of being human! You cannot pick and choose what to feel and what to push away. When you are shut down to negative, unpleasant feelings, you are also closed to positive feelings. It takes a lot of energy to suppress yourself! When you are closed, you will have more difficulty feeling love, joy, excitement and all of the wonderful feelings that come with being truly alive.
Rather than avoid what you don’t want to feel, here is another suggestion. Just feel it! Open yourself to the moment and allow whatever you feel to be there. Once you fully feel a feeling, it passes through you. Then you are on to the next feeling. You get stuck in a feeling when you try to suppress it.
Your feelings show you what you are thinking. If you feel overwhelmed or angry or sad, ask yourself what you are saying to yourself that results in this particular feeling. Honor what you feel, but don’t wallow in the feeling. If you are sad, cry. If you’re angry, maybe you need to be alone and have a three year old temper tantrum…. in a safe way that will not hurt you or anyone else! Scream in your car, hit a pillow or punching bag, throw rocks into the ocean. Do whatever you need to do to move the feeling through you physically. Talking about it over and over again will just keep you in the loop of being stuck in the feeling! After feeling it, you need to move on from that feeling. What do you need to shift in your thinking to change the way you feel? Feed yourself the thoughts that will make you feel the way you want to feel. Focus on what you already have in your life that you are grateful for. Think of someone you love. Find something you love and appreciate about yourself, and say it to yourself often!
Living your life in the moment — and experiencing all that shows up — will help you receive the gifts that life has to offer.
While I might disagree with some of his spiritual foundations, Rumi’s 13th Century poem gives us some great advice when we are faced with thoughts and feelings we would rather not deal with!
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.