Feeling Your Emotions Is An Act Of Self-Love
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” ― Steve Maraboli
This lingering pandemic is teaching us many lessons, least of which is we can’t hide from ourselves anymore. When isolated during restrictions, we must face our trauma. There is no other way. It is an act of courage to deal with our emotions, without fearing or running away from. For in deferring our difficult emotions, we postpone our healing. Can you identify? For example, have you been coping in recent months, being isolated from family, friends and loved ones? What difficult emotions have surfaced during this time? How have you dealt with them?
Here’s an idea to consider: Many people have noticed heavy emotions arise for them because of the pain involved. They have been isolated from loved ones, while others have lost their jobs. Many have families to feed, mortgages and the financial and emotional stress has become unbearable. This can bring up emotional pain and if we don’t work through it, we experience stress. We cannot escape the pain because where will go? Mental health therapists are inundated due to the stress of the pandemic. We cannot stow away our emotions or distract ourselves with other activities because they are not available now. It is why people are suffering because they must deal with their heavy emotions brewing for years. We must face them now and if we can’t do it alone, we ought to seek the guidance of a mental health therapist or reach out to those we love and trust.
The point I wish to reinforce: By facing our trauma, we are practising self-love. This is the key message in this article. Facing your pain and feeling your emotions is the highest act of self-love you can give yourself. Deferring emotional pain allows it to gnaw at you and grow in intensity. As mentioned earlier, to sit and feel our dark emotions is courageous because it is difficult to work through emotional pain. But we have no other choice because the emotions are coming up. So why not process them as best you can?
Welcome Your Difficult Emotions
“Constantly apply cheerfulness, if for no other reason than because you are on this spiritual path. Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up.” — Pema Chodron
Are you satisfied with this idea? Are you comfortable working through your difficulties emotions, knowing it is an act of self-love? I realize working through painful emotions may not seem like self-love. Nonetheless, it is through self-compassion and self-nurturing; we cultivate our emotional well-being. Self-love recognizes we are not our pain but something deeper. We are a soul, having an earthly experience within a physical body. We may identify with our pain and trauma because our wounds give a sense of entitlement; to feel and act in a certain way. I’m not suggesting it is entirely wrong, but a learnt coping mechanism. After all, it is not enough to merely get by. We ought to thrive as best we can. The soul may use pain as a healing agent to remove emotional debris from our lives so our true nature can emerge.
If we take this idea further: To transform our heavy emotions, we must practice coming home to ourselves. I mean, sitting with our difficult emotions and processing them through mindfulness or Somatic Experiencing, under the guidance of a trained therapist. I don’t know about you, but in the last 18 months, I have experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. There have been good times and then suddenly I am thrust into unexplained darkness, with heavy emotions looming over my head. Initially, I tried to distract myself with other activities, but eventually I dealt with my emotions. I know there are valuable insights waiting to come forth when I connect with them. They are messengers from my highest self about my life’s journey.
Therefore, your practice when difficult emotions emerge is to stop what you are doing, no matter what. You may occupy your time playing video games, watching streaming movies, drinking alcohol or whatever else. When heavy emotions arise, just sit with them. Feel them, welcome them and be with them, with your entire mind and body. So, I ask you: Could you give yourself the gift of connecting with your deepest and darkest self? Are you willing to learn about yourself as a soul? Processing emotions may take five minutes or longer to move through your nervous system. Don’t delay or put it off because you are busy, scared, or indifferent. It only makes it harder and intensifies the pain.
Transform Your Pain
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” — Joseph Campbell
For example, in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor, she states the natural life span of an emotion; the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body is one and a half minutes. After that, we need thoughts to keep the emotion alive. No wonder painful emotions wreak havoc because we keep them active through our stream of inner dialogue. We add fuel to the fire every time we identify with our pain and create a mental dialogue. The way out of this cycle is to allow the emotion to move through you, so it transforms your pain. Therefore, I invite you to set up a regular practice of processing your heavy emotions and journal what you learn about it. Become an observer and try to be curious about what surfaces.
And here’s the thing: Be careful not to criticise or judge yourself during this time. Simply observe the emotions and note how you feel after processing them. Many of my clients have remarked on feeling inner peace and freedom when they undertook this practice. If you wish to go deeper into the practise, I highly recommend a book by the late Dr David Hawkins called: Letting Go: The Pathway Of Surrender. Dr Hawkins was an internationally renowned psychiatrist who researched human consciousness. His books and teachings are an opening into self-awareness and awakened states of consciousness. After all, the purpose of our heavy emotions is to lead us back towards ourselves; to dip our toes in the expansive sea of self-love. It is this sea that is the embodiment of our true nature and the place we call home.
To learn more about how to understand and process all your feelings and take loving action to feel empowered see: Discovering Self-Love