Acknowledge, Accept, Allow: The Unfolding of Our Selves

Our feelings are our soul whispering to us so that we may better understand our values, our aspirations and our dreams.

When we pay attention to them, we know who or what to avoid, which situations don’t agree with us and which do; we are able to navigate our personal realm and the world in a way that upholds us.

Most of us are taught from a very young age that our feelings are not to be valued, shared or expressed. We are shown by our caretakers and society in general that the outward expression of our emotions, unless they are those of joy (though even those can be discredited by some), is dangerous and undesirable. We learn to push them down and away, tucking them into a corner of our psyche that is hidden and feels safe.

In the meantime, we put on a strong face and pretend that everything is okay. We tell others that we are fine, even when we are not. We look away when something hurts us and put the needs of others before our own so that everything remains copasetic on the surface. We become masters of disguise, portraying only what has been deemed appropriate and comfortable for others.

And then over the course of our lifetimes, we add more dust and dirt to the piles that already exist within us. We shut down and then begin to look for ways to numb the ever-more-anxious-to-escape emotions that are simmering below the surface. We may even begin to express emotions inappropriately, yelling at a server because the restaurant is out of the item you want for dinner or at our spouse for not ironing a shirt just the way we like it.

What happens is that our emotions don’t know how to lie. They don’t know how to withhold truth and bury themselves away. We have them so that they can guide us through our lives, alerting us to things that aren’t in alignment with our soul values and celebrating with/for us when they are.

Our feelings are our soul whispering to us so that we may better understand our values, our aspirations and our dreams.

When we pay attention to them, we know who or what to avoid, which situations don’t agree with us and which do; we are able to navigate our personal realm and the world in a way that upholds us.

When we repress them, they beg to escape. This may begin as a whisper that something doesn’t feel right. If we continue to ignore the whisper, it will get louder. It will become a plea and ultimately a yell for us to pay attention, to get right with ourselves. This yell usually manifests as some sort of dis-ease or injury. For example, when we repress anger and feelings of disempowerment, our body might respond with a condition of disempowerment, such as candida, in which the healthy balance of our gut is disrupted and unhealthy bacteria take over or an auto-immune disease, in which our body begins to seemingly attack itself. All emotions need to be expressed, so we can choose to do so in the moment, or we can wait until they bust out in a condition that requires medical or healing intervention.

It’s never too late to begin connecting with our emotions. The first step is to simply acknowledge them. When you find yourself feeling frustrated, simply stop and say, “I feel you. I hear you. I understand that there is something here for me to look at.” You might even thank the frustration for bringing to your attention something that wants to be known.

Next, accept the emotion as-is, no questions asked. Denial doesn’t help anything. As much as we try to make an emotion into something that it’s not (“If I just pretend I’m happy, this anger will go away”), we cannot force it to change. It just is. When we can accept the emotion that has presented itself at the point that we are at in that moment in time, then we can begin to move forward.

Next, we want to allow the emotion to show itself. Be a detective and trace it back. When you feel the anger or sadness or frustration arise, follow the trail. Are you really upset about what just happened or did it trigger something else? Journaling is really helpful for this activity. Try not to judge what you write or how you feel; just let it flow. Other methods of discovery could be meditation, energy work and hypnotherapy, to name just a few.

Once we have pinpointed the root cause of the emotion, we want to find a way to express it (note: we can express is at any time in a healthy way, but we will still always need to eventually get to the root cause and those emotions that have been buried). A lot of us have repressed anger as it is an emotion that has been labeled as very unsafe to let out. Screaming into or punching a pillow can be useful (I recommend having a pillow that is just for this). Ripping pages out of a phone book feels great too. Writing a letter that you later rip up or safely burn also works well. There are many ways, just be sure that you have given yourself space and time to process your emotions and that you do so in a way that is safe for you and others.

As we begin to work through this process, an amazing thing happens: We begin to understand ourselves more fully. We learn what we like and don’t like and we are able to connect to ourselves on a deeper level. We feel ourselves aligning with our higher self and our intuition opens up. We begin to process emotions and we are able to find a higher baseline of “feeling good.” Simply put, life becomes richer.

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