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“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” ~ Mark Twain
Just like giving up an addiction is the beginning of an oftentimes long and trying process, feeling our feelings is not the end—but the beginning—of the healing process.
If feeling our feelings equated to healing, then we would automatically see a significant improvement in the way we respond to life over time. As we age, we’d stop throwing fits and tantrums. But in reality, it is more common that we keep running into the same hurts, frustrations, and triggers time and time again.
“Emotions are like little children: they just want to be heard and validated.”
Sure. But if they wake you up every night at 3 a.m., at a certain point what they need is not more validation but for you to get them to see that the monsters under the bed were never real to begin with.
Feeling doesn’t equate to healing because it’s not our emotions that are the issue—rather our intense emotions are a reaction to what wants to be healed in us.
I have felt and expressed my emotions all my life—ask any innocent bystander. It wasn’t until I slowed down on the processing of my emotions and started spending more time investigating their source that my whole life changed.
Feeling our feelings helps release the emotion. And since we’ve been denying, suppressing, and numbing our emotions for, like, a lifetime, feeling is only the first stage of healing.
Feeling moves all that was stored in our body so that our energy can flow freely once again. When we start to experience this, we can interpret it as healing—and on one level, it is. Feeling does not, however, address the source of the emotion. An emotion is almost always a reaction to something we believe to be true. If we don’t want to spend our entire lives feeling the same emotional reaction over and over again, we need to heal on all levels.
Feeling, understanding those feelings, and acting based on that understanding (changing our behavior) all need to be integrated for true healing to occur on all levels.
So yes, keep feeling all of your feelings. But also know that trying to empty water from a sink while the tap is still running isn’t efficient, and in the long run, it won’t get you anywhere. Better also to address that tap.
These days, I have an emotional equilibrium that would impress the average person. It’s not just that I don’t throw outward tantrums anymore, it’s that I’ve worked to heal the sore spots where they originated from.
After all, buttons that aren’t there can’t be pushed.