Willing to Feel

When you feel good you want to continue with that feeling, don’t you? We all seek happiness, joy, love, peace in one way or another. Oftentimes in unhealthy ways, but that’s for another blog.

Right now let’s talk about willingness to feel when it doesn’t feel great. You know what I mean…I’m talking about sadness, disappointment, the gamut of uncomfortable emotions.

When we keep uncomfortable emotions at a distance we use up energy to do that and the emotion doesn’t get processed. How do we allow ourselves to experience, feel into, and let the emotion move through us?

Notice that an emotion has a sensation in your body. Maybe give it a color. Do you notice how the energy is moving? Can you allow yourself to experience that sensation even if it doesn’t feel good? For example, when I feel depressed I notice it’s more like grief and hopelessness. But even these labels don’t resolve the emotion. I then notice that I experience a heaviness in my chest, like a dense cloud that is slowly moving in a clockwise spiral. Maybe I put my hand over that area, close my eyes and breathe into that space. When I don’t judge the emotion as good or bad and I allow myself to notice the sensation, I am a step closer to it dissipating. Now, I think it is important to not do this process with the intention of wanting it to go away. Get curious! For example, “Hmmm, I feel annoyed. Where do I feel this in my body? It actually feels like a buzz around my upper arms”. By staying mindful, by not judging, and by being willing to feel this is a way to process emotions rather than keeping them at a distance, stuffing them, denying them.

Last night I felt a little energy like anxiety. I tried something new I recently heard of: I said, “Hi anxiety, is that the best you can do? Bring it on!” Interestingly, the anxiety lessened and then almost completely dissipated. This morning I felt some grief and I practiced compassion for the emotion and said, “Hello grief. If you need time here, I notice you and you can take your time”.

This isn’t about wallowing in your emotions, but to allow yourself to feel. In the above examples, it was just a couple minutes of noticing and breathing through them. Then I turned my attention to something I enjoy, which lately has been crocheting!

We don’t have to want or like these uncomfortable feelings, but to allow ourselves to tune into the experience. Also, it doesn’t help if you get into the story about why you feel this way. Of course, there might be something you need to change, but giving energy to the story will not resolve the emotion and can intensify it as well as intensify the thoughts.

Maybe give this a try with some less intense emotions and tell us what you experience.

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