Who’s afraid of emotions & feelings? (Or there is no light without darkness)

Who’s afraid of emotions & feelings? (Or there is no light without darkness)

In one of my conversations about depression and emotions/feelings, a colleague at work told me: “I’ve experienced depression once and I’m not going back to it ever again!” By “it” he meant the difficult feelings; Sadness, helplessness, anger, despair, pessimism, resentment, emptiness, fear, disappointment, shame, self-pity, self-loathing and more.

However, depression is not a one-time situation and can’t be controlled. It can be managed though. We believe that if we avoid feeling the harsh feelings, we will be ‘okay’. But if the price of being ‘okay’ is by not feeling anything, would you be willing to pay it?

For me, emotions & feelings are a link that connects me to all levels of my being. What would you prefer; Feel everything completely or live a whole life without feeling at all?

Suppression of feelings can lead to depression. The equation is simple: the more you express yourself, the less you suppress. The more you narrow the gap between your personal, authentic / internal self and your external / representative, social / professional self – repression and self-oppression will be reduced.

The more you reveal and hide less,

The more honest and less dishonest you are,

The truer you are to yourself and less of a pleaser to others,

The more you listen to yourself and less to the advice of others –

All of that will enhance the level of joy and reduce self-suppression.

Depression takes over when your self-resistance and unreceptiveness is at their peak! At this point in time the darkness bursts into full light. It’s okay to experience hard and painful feelings! If we allow them to be present and pass through us at their own accord. If we remember they are temporary, and will dissipate faster as we surrender instead of resisting.

If we do not allow ourselves to feel the whole range of emotions & feelings, even the darkest ones, we will not be able to feel pure joy. Those of you who have spent some time in this consuming state of consciousness understand how it feels ‘down under’, when you reach point zero and start over every day. Some of us are depressed without being aware of it, and some hide it because it’s accompanied by a social stigma of “mental illness.” Any illness, whether physical or mental, is an invitation for introspection and an opportunity for inner change.

During my long travels in the ‘underworld’, I realized that darkness does not really exist! It simply lacks light. All it takes is to turn on the light, flick the switch, set the fire on! It’s in your hands and it’s simpler than you think.

As in every post comes the self-practice phase. Emotional management is an acquired skill. How will you know that emotions manage you and not vice versa? Frequent changes in mood, impulsivity, and reactiveness – as opposed to emotional balance, conscious choice of words and responsiveness.

The following exercise is a basic one in a series of exercises designed to help you focus on your emotions and feelings, and understand yourself through observation and awareness.

Use the following exercise in real time; When someone says or does something that steps on your toes, shakes your core, moves you out of your centre, triggers your emotions or touches an old wound that has not been healed yet – go inside, go home to your body.

When this happens, pay attention to the physical reactions before you recognize the emotion. What are the sensations in the body? For example: accelerated breathing, increased pulse, internal heat/fever, heaviness in the chest or abdominal distress, pain in the neck – just note the location of the sensation in the body. Now take a few deep breaths and focus on this place in the body for two minutes.

The second stage is identifying the feeling: anger, fear, disappointment, sadness, etc. How does it feel? Use metaphors and images to clarify; It feels like a red hot lava, like a punch in the stomach, like a knife in the back, like a slap in the face, like falling into an abyss. I find that analogies and metaphors are effective way to describe and express feelings that are sometimes difficult to translate into words.

The last step in understanding yourself is simply letting it be, letting it go. Through listening, observing and breathing – insights will follow. Try to stay still with the feeling and note the need to fill your emptiness and soften the pain through external distractions like; Food, alcohol, people, etc. The intention of this exercise is to be mindful and present as you pay attention to what surfaces without analyzing or judging it.

The more you practice this sequence during emotional imbalance, the faster you will be able to identify and understand your emotions, patterns, and wounds that manage you.

Tammy

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