I spend a lot of my time in therapy with clients who want to avoid their feelings and have done so for most of their lives. Over the years I have noticed that there is a tendency for clients to distrust their feelings, perhaps because they have been overwhelming, shaming or even frightening at times for them. Its really understandable that we are frightened of difficult feelings and it feels counterintuitive to stay with them, however how much of ourselves are we cutting off by avoiding them? We are so used to listening to our thoughts and not our feelings that often we push the feelings down, especially if we are not comfortable with them.
As a therapist it is my job to help clients to really feel their feelings, using them to come to a deeper understanding of who they really are and I help them sit with all their feelings however hard. I always tell clients that feelings are just weather, they pass in time if we give them space and let them go, the clouds come and go across our inner psyche.
I too was very resistant to feeling my feelings, I remember spending a lot of time arguing with my therapist about how I just wanted to feel happiness and joy, not sadness! Over time though I have come to realise that our feelings are like a compass to our world, if we begin to listen to them we can start to see our way forward towards real, lasting joy. Feelings bring up fundamental questions like does something feel good or slightly off, does it make us feel proud or motivated, using them to set boundaries in our lives and make changes.
When we repress our feelings the world becomes very flat and colourless, feelings are like the paint box of our world, when we allow our feelings to flow they colour our world and give it so much brilliance!
Below I have a meditation which allows you to explore your feelings safely, give it a go if you haven’t been feeling great recently. It uses my “ASA” technique which I use to help bring and awareness of how we are feeling, to sit with the feelings and then accept and let them go. I hope it helps you to begin to really feel your feelings.