How to Feel Your Feelings

 

It isn’t unusual for a person to sit across from me and struggle to answer some variation of the question: “And how did you feel?” In this fast-paced, social media-edited world, many people work very hard to only let people see what they want others to see about their lives. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead us to try to shut off certain emotions, while highlighting other emotions that are more socially acceptable.

The reality is that we all experience a variety of emotions. The only difference is how aware and accepting we are of the emotions that come up for us, and how we work through them.

Acknowledge, Accept, Allow

The first step to feeling your feelings is to acknowledge that having a variety of emotions is human and natural. When we acknowledge this universal truth, we can then accept that we will have comfortable and uncomfortable emotions, big feelings, and difficult feelings. Most importantly, we need to allow ourselves to feel all of our feelings.

How to Feel your Feelings

The actual process of feeling your feelings involves becoming emotionally aware of what is actually going on inside of you. A simple formula for this is to use an “I-Message” to explore what you are feeling. Although often used to express yourself to others, I have found that an “I-Message” can be a very helpful self-exploration/discovery tool when slightly adjusted.

There are three simple steps:

  1. I feel (emotion),
  2. when (situation),
  3. because (Why is this so emotional for you? What makes this situation so “big”?).

Letting Go

When we allow ourselves to feel our feelings in a gentle, validating manner, it is no longer stuffed within us. This creates a space for us to “let go” of the emotional baggage that comes from stuffing or shutting down our uncomfortable emotions.

 

 

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