When I'm having trouble staying with a certain, difficult emotion, and allowing myself to feel it, it is sometimes helpful for me to remember that feelings are just energy. And if I'm logical about it, I would rather experience the feeling than push it away and have the energy lodge somewhere in my body, only to emerge in inappropriate ways in my relationships, or give me a headache or stomachache, or worse.
For me, anger has never been as hard to feel as some other emotions like shame, or vulnerability, or inadequacy, for example. For other people, it may be anger that is intolerable, and maybe they more readily feel an emotion like sadness.
In working on becoming more aware of my emotions over the years, I started noticing that when triggered, I was very quick to anger, and maybe blame myself or someone else. When I slowed down the process, I realized that I had skipped right over a feeling of shame, say, which I had experienced for some minute portion of a millisecond before "deciding" (subconsciously) that it was intolerable, and jumping right into anger, which felt somehow easier to deal with.
Do you have a go-to emotion? What feelings do you think you might be avoiding? What do you think might happen if you paused in that feeling, rather than jumping out of it?
Deborah Donenfeld is an HYL-certified health coach who encourages her clients to go deep, and specializes in helping people to understand the mind-body connection, uncovering the deeper factors contributing to health issues and stuck-ness. She lives in Manhattan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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