This is a question which I often hear from clients, friends and in my own internal dialogue.
At times, feelings can be painful, intense, scary, overwhelming.
Just the thought of having a particular feeling can be terrifying. Imagining what a feeling will be like, how it will affect us can be paralyzing.
For example, have you ever played with a negative fantasy in your head about how you’ll feel if something truly awful happens, such as losing a loved one, experiencing a personal trauma or being exposed to something you have a phobia of?
These negative fantasies can really exacerbate an already established fear of feelings, or rather a fear of being overwhelmed by our feelings.
So, if you identify with this fear of strong feelings and what they will do to you, this blog post may help.
A good friend recently told me that our feelings are meant to move through us, we are not supposed to hold on to them; we feel them and then we let them go. They may return, sometimes almost immediately, sometimes weeks later. But when they surface again, we feel them and then we let them go. Only by doing this, do we process whatever is going on for us and learn that:
- we can survive feelings, no matter how painful
- feelings change, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly
- feelings are information – something is going on for us and we need to honour that
- when we avoid feelings, we are simply putting off the inevitable
So, if you are worried about some strong feelings that you know are bubbling under the surface, take some time out to really sit with those emotions and listen to what they are telling you. Perhaps you are experiencing some grief around a loss, maybe you are hurt by someone’s actions. Whatever the case, the feelings wont harm you, they’re just asking to be felt. So feel them and then let them go.
It really is that simple.