How do you deal with your emotions?
Recently in our local newspaper there was an article about not being ashamed of experiencing emotions, written by Annemarie Jutel, Professor of Health at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Words that caught my eye were "emotions are integral to a rich experience of life." I agree with this statement and reading it got me thinking about the way I deal with my emotions.
When my emotions are at the positive end of the spectrum (and definitely where I prefer to reside) it’s easy for me to deep dive into the feeling and share the glory. On the other hand, when my buttons get pushed and emotions enter from the less positive end of the emotional spectrum, how I deal with emotions and situations that trigger these buttons is often less complementary. I have to admit a favoured past response, was to mask the feeling, or run away and hide and quietly lick my emotional wounds alone (a bit like a wounded lioness). In my book You-phoria: The Art of Authenticity in the chapter called When the wheels fall off the trolley, I outline this process in detail.
The newspaper article also mentioned how emotions can be labelled and managed more and more through medicalisation, therefore not encouraging people to actually experience the contribution that feeling emotions plays in life.
I’m not sure how to not feel emotions - but I get how to not dwell in them and this is the part I resonated and aligned with in her comments here. It reminded me of how I’m approaching emotions in my life at present, eg. when I feel sad or happy or some other emotion, I accept it and allow myself to experience the feeling of sadness or happiness, or whatever other emotion is surfacing, and deal accordingly with that feeling in that present moment (wherever possible). Identifying what it is I am feeling seems to be beneficial to me currently also, as well as highlighting my authenticity by being true to who I am.
I know recently when some of my buttons have been pushed, actually allowing myself to experience feeling the feelings, rather than judging them and quickly moving past them, has unveiled some stuff that has needed to be dealt to, that has now shifted as a result.
Something I've learned from doing this, is that it's good to feel emotions and process the feelings - often with the dog, or a friend I trust, or a cup of tea and a box of tissues!!!
'Feeling' feels good and reminds me I'm alive.
I've also learned that if I know what it feels like to feel emotions at either end of the spectrum, then I have a measure to use to understand differences and comparisons and have compassion with others also!
Let’s be quite clear here - I’m not brushing over depression, (and neither did Professor Jutel either - just for the record), nor am I saying that medicalisation doesn’t have its place. What I am saying though, is that actually allowing myself to feel emotions and accept what arises, challenges me, exposes my vulnerability and yet at the same time enables and heals me in ways that I’ve often brushed over or diverted to another ‘mind-room’ area to be blanketed and dealt with later - if ever.
We know that emotions come in both negative and positive forms from both ends of the emotional spectrum and all the way along it, and we have triggers that vastly vary from human to human. Learning how you react or respond when challenged emotionally can help you to unpack the ways you deal with situations that otherwise have the potential to bother beyond the cause. Repeating patterns that do not necessarily serve you well, are time and energy wasting. In life, there are always lessons to be learned, and by processing, making choices and taking action, change can happen.
We are mostly creatures of habit. Becoming aware and unveiling the well-trodden tendencies within is a way to shift patterns and step into a future that could hold the keys to change - if that’s what you want…
So, how about you?
Have you ever found yourself feeling ashamed when you experience emotions?
Do you push your feelings down when they threaten to break the surface as emotions arise?
Or do you do something else entirely?
How do you deal with your emotions?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Have a wonderful day. Gxx