Why avoiding your emotions backfires

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You don’t have to be scared of your emotions

Fear of pain
Most people are scared to feel all the pain. We think that if we allow the whole feeling, we will break irreparably or die. We think we know for sure, that the best way to live life, is to avoid feeling these emotions.

Strong enough
But this is not true. Everybody is strong enough to feel their emotions. You just need to know how to do it. When you know, deep in your body, you no longer need to be scared of your emotions. You can even experience pleasure in your deepest pain.

More intense pleasurable emotions
And, as a bonus, you will simultaneously be able to more intensely feel joy, love and surrender. Life will become easier, sweeter and more pleasurable.

Why would you want to feel so much?

Avoiding your emotions or letting them control you

When it comes to emotions we don’t like, we mostly have two modes: avoiding or suppressing the emotion or letting the emotion control us. Most people don’t really know another way. Both supressing emotions and letting them control you, are very unpleasant ways of experiencing an emotion.

Ignoring our bodies signals
When we suppress our emotion, we basically ignore our bodies signals to let us know how we are feeling. When we do this for a very long time (mostly that’s what we do) we become numb. We don’t feel so much anymore. We might feel emotions, when they are very strong, but not when they are still subtle. What we will notice from our feelings is a restlessness, a spinning of the mind and indecision about small and big choices. When we don’t feel our emotions until they are big, it’s often hard to influence them. For example unfelt and unexpressed anger might show itself as a losing of temper and a feeling of powerlessness because of this. Fear probably immediately¬† shows up as panic, instead of just a little bit of fear.

Numbness prevents feelings of joy and love
Numbness can be nice. When we are or have been in a lot of pain and we don’t know how to deal with this, it can be a big relieve. It can help us move past the most difficult periods of our life. But it doesn’t help us process and let go of these experiences. What’s worse, the numbness doesn’t only work for the emotions we don’t want. It also results in not being able to deeply feel joy, love, pleasure and other emotions we do like.

To be alive is to feel 
Being alive, to me, means to experience. To experience is to feel intensely. When you know how to feel your emotions in a safe way, even pain can become sweet and pleasurable. There is a beauty in allowing the whole feeling, connecting to all the sensations and to surrender yourself to that experience. This surrender is not a giving away control, but a conscious surrender where you are still aware and choosing to do so.

Increasing sensitivity

You can learn to be very sensitive to your emotions, so you can detect them when they are still small and subtle.

Expanding or decreasing your emotions
When it’s an emotion you enjoy and you want it to become bigger, you can choose to do so. When it’s an emotion you do not want, you can intercept it at this subtle fase and work with it, process it.

Feeling is safe
When it’s still small, you don’t have to suppress it. It won’t feel like you will die or break when you allow it and it will leave you in the drivers seat.

Practicing feeling
This sensitivity for your feelings is something you can cultivate. It needs awareness and practice and might be hard, but it is attainable for everyone.

How to safely feel your emotions

Focussing on your body
When you feel an emotion focus on where you feel this in your body. If you notice yourself trying to get away from the feeling, observe this. Don’t force yourself, but wait and see what happens. Use your breath to calm you down. Hold your body to let yourself know that you are safe. Go really slow.

Connect to the sensations
When you are calm, go back with your focus to where you feel this emotion. Observe how the emotion feels, which sensations are showing you that this emotion is there? Is it warm or cold? Moving or still? Heavy or light? Keep focussing on these sensations.

The feeling can disappear
If your focus on the sensations makes them disappear, don’t worry. You are not used to connecting to these sensations, so your body doesn’t feel safe to do this. If you practice this more and more this will change.

When you do feel the sensations, keep focussing on them and use your breath to release the emotion. Then ask yourself, what movement does my body want to make? Do I want to make a sound? Do I want to say something? Is there a way this emotion wants to express itself? If it does, let yourself express it that way. But, keep being aware of the sensations while you do this. It is important that you don’t go into the story of the emotion, but that you keep connecting to the sensations in your body.

Observe yourself
After you have expressed the emotions through sound, movement and breath become aware of how the sensations now feel in your body. Has it changed? Is it the same? Do you need more? Something different?

Teach your body that feeling is safe
When you feel finished, do something loving and nourishing for yourself. This way you teach your body that it is safe to feel.

Would you like to know how to be in the drivers seat of your emotions?


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