I think it’s really important to allow emotions to be the way they are.
I get clients (and friends) who will feel a certain way, but spend more energy trying to get rid of the emotion (or lamenting how “wrong” it is of them to feel this), than actually dealing with it so that it can integrate/disperse.
As scary and uncomfortable as an emotion may feel, it really ends up being much less of a mountain when we actually face it head on.
Its so easy to say that though. “Facing your feelings” is such an abstract concept that gets tossed around as a catchphrase. What does it even mean? It’s about as empty as “self-love” and “personal growth” in terms of becoming an umbrella term so big, that it’s easy to lose sight of what it means in practical terms.
So… how can you face your feelings?
There are so many ways. Here are some of the things I suggest to clients:
– Morning Pages
(Look up a book called “the artist’s way”) — this involves writing a set number of pages first thing when you wake up. Some people write straight away – and really there is no wrong way – and others pick a word prompt from a book or dictionary to start them off. Then they’ll write any thoughts that come up associated with that word – you’d be surprised to find what emotions and thoughts may come bubbling up in this exercise!
– Prompted journaling
If normal journaling doesn’t work, I sometimes give clients prompts to start their journaling work with. Some generalized examples of a prompt would be:
“I feel… in my body and… in my heart.
I would grade my mood x/10.
In order to go up a point on that score, I can do the following 2 things today.
I am grateful for…
I am excited about…”
– Voice messages
Simply being allowed to speak without anyone judging or interrupting is unbelievably therapeutic. When I used to do full-time coaching, I used the Voxer app with my clients so that they could express but also be heard — but absolute magic occurs when you’re able to express without limits. Phone calls and conversations just won’t do that.
– Outside support
Finally, I’d always recommend speaking to someone who can see through your defense mechanisms, call you out on your BS, and gently guide or coax you into facing your demons. It’s good to have a safe space or two with someone who you trust, who can hold your hand when you get brutally honest with yourself. Facing your shadows isn’t easy, or else everyone would be doing it, and we wouldn’t have so many forms of escape available to us. 😉 This person can be a friend, family member, or a professional who deals with this sort of thing. Alternatively, you can start a conversation with me to see how my work might be able to support you and your goals.
I hope this helps you in some way, and as always: I hope you find what you’re looking for.