Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Where do the keys to emotional stability, inner peace, and happiness lie? Peace and happiness are feelings, so in fact, it is our feeling that we need to explore when aiming to achieve stability or emotional mastery in this area! It is common that people will do anything rather than feel. That is, overeat, excessively zone out in front of the television or take drugs or alcohol, for example. Sometimes feeling some of our emotions can be uncomfortable, however, when we learn to observe and let all our feelings flow, rather than our emotions controlling us we will be in control our emotions.
Small children are generally in touch with the full range of feelings. They naturally let feelings flow freely through their bodies. If you observe them, they can be sad one minute, happy the next, angry ten minutes later, and then happy again. They do this without any guilt or resistance: that is until they are taught to judge their feelings as good or bad. Accepting a child’s feelings and teaching them to express them in healthy ways, helps them to feel acknowledged and valued.
As a child, you may have been taught that only certain feelings were acceptable and others, such as anger and sadness, were not. As an adult, you may find it difficult to tune in with and express your feelings, in a way that can be heard and respected. Fortunately, these skills can judgment.
First, you need to observe and validate how you are feeling. Resisting how you feel leads to repression, which is not healthy for your mind or body. If feelings are repressed rather than expressed in a healthy way, they weigh you down energetically. They make you feel heavy and disconnected from your natural state of wellness.
When you acknowledge your feelings, no matter what they are, you can live your life in a more congruent and authentic way. You then have a choice—to observe and let the feeling go or to respond to what that feeling is telling you. It is a sign of emotional maturity to be able to experience even the most uncomfortable feelings without acting out or reacting to someone else in a way that will hurt them. It is important to learn to sit with the discomfort that some feelings produce until clarity about the appropriate action arrives. Maybe no overt action is necessary. Sometimes feelings arise to teach you something more about yourself.
It is a gift to the people in your life to be able to sit with the discomfort of their feelings, without reacting to them. The exception is, if a person expresses their feelings in a violent or dangerous way, creating an unsafe environment for you. They would need to know that this is not okay for you and that they need to take responsibility for their feelings. It can be helpful to seek the support of a professional therapist if the feelings are very intense and overwhelming. It is very beneficial to allow people to have their feelings without judgment or taking things personally. Being able to feel is what gives people the opportunity to explore and learn more about themselves.
You are not the feeling. A feeling is just a feeling. Observing a feeling without reacting is an important life-skill regarding emotional stability. You may feel bad during a particular moment, but that does not make you a bad person. It is okay to feel annoyed with people from time to time if that is how you feel. Validating all your feelings is important. How you behave about the feeling is the important thing. You have a choice about what you do with your feelings. Do you react to the feeling and perhaps yell at a person who annoyed you, or do you respond in an emotionally mature way? Are you able to sit with that uncomfortable feeling of annoyance until you work out what you need to do? The feeling may be a reaction you need to work through, or it may be appropriate to share how you are feeling with another person when you can do so in a loving way (see chapter 10 for communicating with others).
Acknowledging your feelings as they open you up to understanding and knowing yourself and others at a deeper level. When you can feel your feelings, rather than a fast-food approach, you learn a deeply satisfying, sustainable approach to happiness that nourishes you like a nutritious meal.
It is important not to act impulsively on feelings but instead learns to observe them without judgment. Feelings let you tune into yourself and give you valuable information to guide you on your path to well-being and happiness.
All pain is caused by resistance to what is.