I often find myself telling clients (and reminding myself) that ALL of our feelings are a miracle. All of them…even the ones that don’t feel good.
In personal growth and Law of Attraction (LOA) circles that message gets run over by a whole lot of advice to “feel good”. And yes, feeling good is attractive, desirable, and feeling good brings more good feelings, I get it, and I agree…
But we are human and we were made with the capacity to feel LOTS of different feelings and emotions, many that
suck don’t feel good.
When we touch fire, it hurts.
When something awful happens to someone we love, it hurts.
When we get our heart broken, it hurts.
We have a whole complement of feelings, and quite frankly, half of those feelings suck. Anger, depression, illness, frustration, sadness, physical pain, emotional pain, confusion, disgust, hopelessness, fear – the list goes on and on. An endless list of feelings we all spend a lot of time and energy avoiding. Because…they don’t feel good.
So, if feeling good is the goal, what happens when these other feelings surface? What do we do with them? How do we deal with them?
We feel them. Plain and simple. And then, we listen to what they’re saying.
In some instances it’s automatic – [see reference above to touching fire]. We don’t usually even have to take any time to listen at all – we touch the hot surface and our pain receptors SCREAM at us to retreat at once! And so, we usually do, with not a lot of thought processing. Sort of like when that reckless driver pulls out in front of us and we immediately slam on the brakes.
In other instances it isn’t automatic at all – like when we keep wanting to “talk it out” with someone who doesn’t share our interest in a conversation or when we can’t stop visiting our estranged lover’s social media pages – in spite of knowing that doing this is going to cause more pain. (Do you really want to see those obnoxious pictures of him and his new squeeze? Of course you do. And yeah, please just don’t.)
Actually, the issue isn’t really good feelings vs. bad feelings at all. That’s just the surface description. The deeper issue has to do with energy, and power. The choices are either being empowered or being a victim. So instead of focusing on feeling good, or feeling bad, I want to give you a few tips that will help you feel more like the POWERFUL creator that you are meant to be, and less like a powerless victim who can’t seem to conjure up anything worth celebrating.
This distinction is important, because when we give away our power (to others, to circumstances, or to feelings and emotions) we end up in Victimland. And when we allow our self to stand in our power, exercise our power, cultivate our power, we end up in Magicland.
When we stuff our feelings instead of recognize them, acknowledge them, and express them – we are giving away our power – or maybe even better to say we are leaking power, this is an energy drain, a power leak.
So here are a few tips to help you stay in a powerful place when those “other” feelings arise.
1. Take some time to acknowledge and NAME the feeling. Carrying the burden of emotions that we are ignoring or suppressing leads to anxiety. Research shows that naming our emotions lightens the burden. People who have a wider emotional vocabulary experience less of an emotional burden, so expanding our emotional vocabulary beyond sad, mad, glad, and scared is a good idea too. (But you can start there! Sad, Mad, Glad, and Scared are the most common descriptors and most of us are very familiar with those terms.)
2. Take some time to FEEL the feeling. This can be scary. The sadness, anger, or grief you’re trying to ignore might seem like a bottomless pit of wild emotion and you might be afraid that if you open up to it you’ll fall in and won’t be able to get back out. In reality what usually happens instead is that a great deal of relief is experienced once we give our self permission to feel the feelings.
3. OWN the feelings. This can be as simple as speaking the words, “I feel sad.” An important thing to also note here is that there is a subtle yet powerful difference between “I am sad” and “I feel sad” – the difference is owning the feeling, instead of allowing the feeling to own you.
4. EXPRESS the feeling. And remember that there is a difference between expressing a feeling appropriately and allowing an inappropriate display of emotion. It probably goes without saying that displays of emotion such as screaming, yelling, emotionally or physically abusive actions, name-calling, and all violence across the spectrum – from throwing things to punching a wall to murdering someone to death – are inappropriate. The thing we don’t often learn is that there are plenty of ways to express feelings appropriately – the most powerful of them being to just verbalize the emotion and take ownership of it. “I feel really angry when I see this happening.” or “I feel so frustrated when I experience this situation.”
5. Stop faking it. You totally have done this before, right? – Smiling and acting like nothing in the world is bothering you when in reality you feel like you’re going to explode like that bowl of chili you left in the microwave too long.
Yeah, “fake it til you make it” they tell us. And, I totally get that sometimes this might be the best course of action. When your boyfriend just dumped you and your cat needs knee surgery and your boss just told you that he’s looking for someone to replace you and he’ll need you to train them – well, it might not be fair to unload all of that on the already over-worked waitress when she hops up to your table and cheerfully asks “How ya doin, today?”
But what you can do – as soon as possible – is give yourself the time and space to entertain those feelings. And yes, I consciously chose the word entertain – like a guest. A guest that might not have been invited specifically, but who nevertheless has shown up with something important to say. Choose a time, like a date. And a place, where you can be undisturbed for a while.
6. REACH OUT for support if you need it. There are scores of healers and helpers and caring people who have made it their mission in life to help when the weight of these feelings and emotions feels too heavy. Phone a friend, or make an appointment with a therapist, or a coach. Or your rabbi. Just reach out if things feel too hard, too heavy.
You are a powerful creator learning to navigate your way through new experiences, and sometimes the seas are rough.
7. And then – LOVE the feeling, or at least love the part of you that is feeling the feeling so intensely. Yes, this is the hard part. Loving instead of judging is a work of huge import, integrating the shadowy parts of our self that we’ve previously tried to hide and suppress. This integration leads to a united will, and a united will produces the most powerful creative energy possible.
Recognize that by naming, feeling, owning, and expressing the feeling instead of ignoring it, suppressing it, denying it, or faking it you are empowering yourself.
By taking responsibility and reaching out for support, you are supporting your own power.
By loving what is, you are stepping into a delicious place of magic making.
You are separating yourself from the feeling and taking responsibility for how you are dealing with it. You are NOT your feelings. You are NOT your thoughts. You are NOT your emotions.
You are a powerful creator, and you are in the process of making magic.
Love & Magic,