Nothing is more frustrating than when I hear “I shouldn’t…” or “You/they shouldn’t…” which is even worse.And I hear it, at least once a week from my clients. It’s often used in this type of format….
“I know I shouldn’t be angry but I just feel mad.”My response “Why shouldn’t you be angry?” Their response often points to some type of spiritual guideline or goal. The word angry could be replaced with any “negative” word experience and the reason they believe they shouldn’t feel that way is often because there is the belief that being spiritual, awakened, aware, it’s not feeling these feelings. This works for any feeling that you believe you should be better than.
“Serenity NOW!” – for those of you familiar with Seinfeld you know what happens at the end of that show. It’s fictional and a TV show but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold truth. The core truth is that ignoring what you feel because you don’t want to feel it NEVER works in your favor. I rarely say never but in this situation it is absolutely appropriate.
I think it’s fair to say that all of us have an ideal us. The person we would like to be in our lives. Often those ideals include strength, courage, kindness, happiness, honesty, integrity, and there are millions of other characteristics we might choose or desire for the ideal us. And the truth is that in real life we will have times, sometimes a lot of times, where our real lives do not match our ideal selves. And so often the response is to just ignore the feelings so that they don’t show up on the outside but then actually berate ourselves on the inside for being so weak/stupid/wrong, etc, as to feel what we think we should not feel.
So, feelings.. Feelings take up a lot of space and time in our lives and our energy space. We want certain feelings and don’t want others. We worry and stress about what we feel, whether we “should” feel this way, if the feelings are right or wrong, if we are good or bad people for feeling this way.. and I could go on. The fast, dirty simple answer is who cares???
Yes, I said it – who cares? Other than you of course. What we feel may or may not have anything to do with our actions and does not have to do with what we do in life. What I mean by that is just because you feel angry, that does not mean you have to act angry, or lose it, or blow up, or maybe you do….. Feelings are important pointers, they are amazing road signs to what is going on in our life. But what we end up doing is not focusing on the feeling, but more on not wanting to feel it and the horrible things we (and others) think it says about us. Instead of understanding and accepting that our feelings are here to teach us what is inherently right or wrong for us, we judge them.
To deny a feeling is to give it a deep dark space to grow and then have it come out at the wrong or inopportune time. To deny a feeling is to deny the part of you in pain that is calling out for attention and forgiveness, love, release. As we begin to deny our feelings that denial grows and then we find that all of our feelings are being buried. We can become numb… And while numb can be an appropriate and temporary place to be during deep trauma, it is temporary…. We are not built to be numb. We are built to feel, to understand where our feelings are coming from, what they mean and how we can change and grow with that knowledge. We were created to embrace the beauty, and the pain, of this physical human life, not hide from it or shame ourselves or each other for it.
Humans are feeling beings and being human is to feel. All of it. The beautiful, the glorious, the depth, the pain and the fear. Don’t deny. Don’t shame. Don’t hide. Feel your feelings and let them move. And if you are finding it a challenge to do that on your own find a safe someone to help and support you.
You are meant to be in full bloom.