Many of us don’t know how to feel our feelings anymore. We live in a world with so many instant pleasures that it is has become easier and easier to escape our feelings. Why would I want to feel sad or lonely, when I can escape onto social media or Netflix. Why would I want to feel stressed and anxious, when I can eat or drink to take the edge off.
Yet, we keep hearing about the astounding rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Are we really escaping or are those feelings still buried within us after the pleasure wears off?
Satan is darkness. He likes everything to be hidden, buried, kept in the dark to fester and gnaw at us. Shame is one of his most effective tools. It makes us believe that something is wrong with us so we hide ourselves in the shadows. The problem is, shame grows in the shadows.
The Savior is light. He is authentic, open, and transparent. And feelings is His way of communicating with us. The Spirit is a feeling. He speaks to our hearts. If we are numbing and escaping all the time, we aren’t able to feel Him.
Allowing our feelings is the light that can break through any dark cloud.
Here are three ways to start feeling the emotions that we were designed to feel while here on Earth. The good ones and the bad ones. All emotions are a part of our human experience- once we know how to manage them, then we won’t be afraid or avoid things in our lives.
- When you start to see yourself reacting to something (yell, snap, control, shutdown, retreat, avoid, etc)- then name how you are feeling. Emotions are one word. Tell yourself the honest truth on how you feel: I feel disappointed. I feel so angry. I feel sad. I feel overwhelmed. Just naming the emotion will already take some of the power out of it.
- Describe to yourself where you feel it in your body. This bring more awareness around the emotion and lets you know that your body is physically trying to tell you that something is off. I feel it in my chest, it is tight and my heart is racing. I feel heavy in my head and energy. My stomach is in knots and my chest is pounding.
- Once you have named the emotion and described it in your body- just open up to the emotion. It will be uncomfortable and doesn’t feel good, but once you just allow yourself to feel it- then you will have power over it and it will be set free. Now you can decide if you want to feel something different about your situation, by choosing to think about it differently.
Here is an example of something I just went through last week. I had a thousand thoughts swimming in my head of all the things I wanted to get done. It was my kids last week of school, things needed for my calling at church, my business etc. I could feel my head was starting to get heavy as I attempted to push through my many tasks. I was feeling exhausted by the evening and started getting short with my kids. I finally stopped and told myself the truth: I am feeling so overwhelmed. I hate admitting that to myself because I make it mean I can’t handle my responsibilities. But I have to be honest with how I am feeling otherwise I can’t understand what is really happening. I didn’t try to talk myself out of it or explain it to myself or even play it down. I just told myself that I feel completely overwhelmed and stressed. Then I started telling myself where I felt it in my body: my head literally hurt, my shoulders were tense, my whole head felt heavy. Once I did these two things, I could breathe a little better. I just allowed the feeling of overwhelm to wash over me. It wasn’t comfortable and I kept wanting to resist that I actually felt that way, but there is a certain calm when you just allow it. Then I got to a place where I was curious about it and wanted to understand it. I wrote out all the things I was feeling overwhelmed about and tried to get some clarity. I decided that I was going to make another list of all the things I was doing right. This helped change some of my thoughts to help me feel better about my situation.
As the week passed, I talked to my husband and best friend about how I was feeling, prayed a lot, and just kept working through the overwhelm. It didn’t happen in one day, but I was aware of it and wasn’t trying to escape it. Now it is set free. None of my responsibilities changed or went away, but I felt better because I first just accepted that I felt overwhelmed. Then I was able to work through my thoughts around it.
There is nothing more life changing than learning how to allow your feelings. Our feelings drive our actions. They are the key to everything that we make or don’t make happen in our lives. Start learning this skill today by scheduling a complimentary session.