When you feel overwhelmed by a wave of emotions, the best thing to do is feel those emotions. It goes against everything you feel is right; if something feels bad, then you want to avoid it to make it stop, right? It feels bad to experience negative emotions, but we have to stop seeing emotions as good or bad. Whatever type of emotion you feel, you have to experience it before you can move on.
Feelings can be scary, especially if you were overwhelmed by or ignored a lot of the emotions you experienced in your early years. You might be terrified of those emotions if you didn't learn how to regulate or understand them. So, as a result, you probably try to do just about anything you can to avoid them altogether.
This fear is very real. Especially when you're not sure how long these emotions will linger or if they'll ever go away. The reality of emotions is that they are all temporary. However, the feelings that go with them may linger for years to come. You may worry that your emotions will overwhelm you, and you will have no way out. You might be concerned that others will notice they are weighing on you.
So, if you try to avoid, suppress, or stuff your feelings down, answer me this. Are your emotions bad? The answer is no. Feeling your emotions is a part of the healing process, whether you're responding to trauma or something else. "Negative" emotions should be experienced safely and slowly in order to heal them and move on.
Why do you fear and avoid them?
Do Not Feel
Were you, like me, taught not to deal with your emotions? It's a common experience the majority of people experience. We learn to suppress our emotions from an early age, even though we begin to express them the day we arrive on the planet. When a baby is hungry, needs to be changed, or is uncomfortable, they will cry. Someone responds to your distress, and you feel better. But, if nobody responds, you would learn that expressing your feelings means nothing. For some, the disconnect between feelings and being heard starts early. For others, it doesn't surface until later. When you realize your family avoids discussing feelings. This makes it difficult to hold space for your emotions and feelings to regulate them. You literally have no idea what to do with them when they appear because you did not learn what to do with them.
Trauma survivors also fear their feelings because they are big and scary, and it's difficult to know what to do with them when they trigger memories of negative experiences.
Handling Your Fear of Emotions
You might have done what it took to survive because nobody was willing to validate or even value your feelings. You've spent your life avoiding, numbing, dissociating, ignoring, and now it's time to handle your fear of emotions and deal with those feelings.
Before you start to feel better, you might have to lean into negative emotions and feel worse. Healing is a process. It can't begin until you allow yourself to feel those uncomfortable emotions and get to the root of what's causing them.
Your emotions might feel like a foreign language, especially if you grew up without the option to discuss them. You must learn how to put your emotions and feelings into words. You might believe your emotions are negative because they don't feel good, but you don't have to continue living in pain. You can embrace your emotions, process them, and delight in healing. You can't truly experience happiness and joy until you learn how to process anger and sadness. Once you learn to do this, you will experience life in a much more meaningful way. No emotion or feeling is bad if you know how to move through them.
Talk about it with Coach Kish. Book a 30 minute session for $49 by calling 301-643-5484 or booking Kish online at https://www.relationshipsmatterintl.com.