(OMTimes | Anu Dayal-Gulati) Don’t ignore your emotions. Emotions are a gift, a guide, reminding us who we are every step of the way… if we only know to listen.
The hidden cost of ignoring our emotions
When we are made to feel “wrong” for the emotions we experience, we disconnect not only from those sentiments but consequently from ourselves and all that lies within us. The result is a blend of loneliness, stress, overwhelm, guilt, and struggle. When we learn to process and engage with our emotions instead of judging or ignoring them, we can reconnect and reintegrate those disjointed pieces of ourselves. Emotions are a gift, a guide, reminding us who we are every step of the way… if we only listen.
At some point in our lives, we might have been told, “There’s no point getting so emotional!” Or perhaps, “You should get over it!” Or maybe even, “Suck it up!”
If we hear these messages often enough, we might start to internalize them. We might begin to believe them. We might start to think that there is something wrong with us for feeling what we feel.
The overarching theme here is that we are supposed to ignore or suppress our emotions. There is a cost to this practice, however, and the price to be paid is high.
It’s ironic, really. We connect with others by mirroring appropriate responses—for instance, when we talk with others, we respond to sadness with consoling words, and to gestures of friendship with warmth and smiles—and yet we’ve been trained to disengage from our own feelings.
The depth of disconnection
By disconnecting from the original pain that prompted such admonitions as “Suck it up,” we also begin to disconnect from ourselves. We stop trusting ourselves because we’ve stopped trusting our feelings, and, as we become deeply critical of ourselves, our self-esteem starts to erode and become fragile.
The voice inside us starts expressing its discomfort:
“I feel like an outsider!”
“I feel invisible!”
“I have no right to be angry!”
“I don’t belong in this family!”
“I should be done grieving!”
The more attention we give to these cries, the more stressed, lonely, and overwhelmed we become. Mired in self-doubt, we start wondering whether we should be feeling this way. We can’t tell what lies behind our anger. We don’t know what our sadness is underneath. We don’t know why joy seems elusive. We struggle with taking care of other people’s feelings while ignoring our own. We feel guilty for feeling the way we do.
As we remove ourselves further and further from our real feelings and our pain, we are more likely to try and fill the void through overeating, retail therapy, or even more destructive diversions. All because we have been raised to believe that there’s something wrong with us if we were to tend to our feelings.
Our emotions are a gift
Our feelings, when welcomed rather than dismissed, are of benefit to us. They are sending us a message about ourselves. They are the compass of our soul. While cultures keep changing, borders keep changing, technology keeps changing… our emotions have been our North Star, remaining the same for thousands of years.
If we want to come back into alignment with who we are, we need to stop judging our feelings and, so, ourselves. All emotions—even the “negative” ones—are a call to aligned action. For instance, when we are jealous of someone, it’s because they have something that we want: it’s showing us what we desire in our lives. When we are angry, it’s because we perceive an injustice of some kind: it’s showing us our morals and boundaries. Our emotions offer us a call to aligned action.
The process of reconnection
An easy way to begin the process of decoding our emotions is through journaling. The act of journaling reduces the emotional charge and allows us to express ourselves without judgment. As we write, we may gain clarity on why we are feeling a certain way. Other creative activities like art and music similarly allow us an outlet for that primal need to express ourselves.
Being in nature—whether it’s going for a walk or a run, camping, kayaking, or hiking—also lowers the intensity of whatever we’re feeling. Once our emotional levels are more manageable, we can start to understand why we’re feeling upset. Perhaps we can even name the specific emotion. Are we bitter? Sad? Hurt? Invalidated? And once we know more about what we’re feeling, then we can uncover its message and decide what to do about it.
By reconnecting with our feelings and listening to the insights they have to share with us, we can start the journey of reconnecting with ourselves… and regain peace, joy, and harmony in our life.
If we are looking to take action based on this insight, Wild Oat Flower essence allows us to see a way forward. Working with the energy of our emotions helps us to reclaim the power we might have given away. We can see the higher truth of a situation and begin the journey back to ourselves.
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