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A few weeks ago, I was talking to my boyfriend, telling him about how I was stressed about something.
He asked me what I was so afraid of.
I told him, “I don’t know.”
Instantly, I noticed what I had done and said something like, “That’s not true. I know why I’m scared. I’m scared because…”
I have spent years training myself to be conscious of my emotions and to recognize them in the moment—I have practiced acknowledging them, admitting them, and feeling them in the moment.
Because I want to be fully conscious of them.
And yet, still, I can see how, at times, a part of me reverts to this way of “trying to avoid them.”
Too many of us do this—most, I think. We say things like, “I don’t know what I’m feeling,” or “I feel tired,” or “I feel funky,” or “I feel out of it,” or “I’m not feeling great,” or “I’m okay,” or “I could be better,” or “I’m fine,” to cloak over what it is we’re actually feeling, the specific emotions that are moving through us.
We may do this because we don’t want to talk about it with others or because we don’t want to admit it to ourselves. This behavior can be conscious or even unconscious. We may do it without realizing that we’re doing it, or understanding why we’re doing it.
But it’s a way we lie to ourselves, a way we deceive ourselves—most likely, because we’re afraid to feel or admit to whatever it is we’re feeling (or thinking).
Yet we do a disservice to ourselves when we are not honest (with ourselves) about our emotions.
And saying things like the above just amplifies our disconnection from ourselves, and it prevents us from truly moving through whatever it is we’re feeling with consciousness. It keeps us from understanding the deeper layers for why we’re feeling what we’re feeling. And it can keep us from making the most conscious choices that we can.
Again, it’s okay to not want to discuss everything we’re feeling all the time, but we should at least be able to admit it to ourselves.
I feel scared.
I feel angry.
I feel overwhelmed.
I feel anxious.
I feel stressed.
I feel sad.
I feel resentful.
And so on.
We should be acute, precise, and deliberate with how we identify our emotions—because it’s how we’ll learn from them.
It’s how we’ll learn what we’re meant to learn from them.
Our emotions mean something. They can tell us so much about ourselves.
We often avoid identifying our emotions because we’re afraid to admit to the negative-feeling emotion, feeling either afraid of feeling the emotion itself or feeling scared that we have to admit to the emotion because we worry it means something (negative)—that it says something (bad) about us.
For example, we have a lot of morally conditioned beliefs about what it means to be a “good” or “kind” person—so, if we have thoughts or feelings arise in us that counteract that, they can conflict with our self-identity, with how we want to identify ourselves, with how we want to see ourselves (as a good, kind person). So we suppress, either consciously or unconsciously, those thoughts or emotions—because we’re afraid of what it means to be thinking or feeling what we’re thinking or feeling.
But we just feel how we feel. Whether we want to admit it or not, we feel what we feel.
Those thoughts are just moving through us.
Those thoughts and emotions just move through us.
And they have stories to tell us; they can tell us so much if we’re willing to learn from them.
There are reasons for why we feel what we feel.
And the best thing we can do for ourselves is learn what our thoughts and emotions are trying to tell us.
They carry so much knowledge—they hold so much potential for us.
When we can learn to identify and feel our emotions, we’ll be able to live more intentionally.
If we don’t fully feel or acknowledge our emotions, we’ll always live with some element of disconnection from ourselves. We’ll also be unable to live fully intentionally or consciously, as we’ll have all sorts of unconscious elements influencing our reactions and how we move in this world.
We are thinking, feeling beings.
Emotions are natural—feeling an array of emotions is natural.
Some feel less good than others to feel. That’s natural.
We may not like feeling some of them.
We have to feel them anyway.
Our emotions have so much to tell us.
We just have to be willing to pay attention.
And admit to them.