There was a time when if a politician cried in public it was political death. Now, it’s almost a requirement. It connotes authenticity.
That’s good. At least it shows that we can show our emotions and not be seen as weak.
All the Radical Living Strategies take us through 5 Stages. Feeling the feelings is Stage #2, and it cannot be skipped over lightly.
To transform the so-called negative feeling that accompany victim consciousness and lack consciousness, we have to feel them fully first. You cannot heal what you don’t feel.
Unfortunately, most of us have developed ways to deny or avoid emotional pain or discomfort.
See if you do any of these as a way to get out of having to feel something unpleasant:
1) Making a joke. Especially a self-deprecating one.
2) Rescuing or caretaking. Encouraging others to deny their pain by trying to comfort them. This reduces the risk that you might feel your own. Co-dependents have got this one down to a fine art.
3) Playing the ‘spiritual bypass’ game. Making some pseudo-spiritual comment like, “It was meant to be,” or “It’s perfect,” simply as a way to cover the pain. Pain denied is pain repressed.
4) Positive thinking. Avoiding ‘so-called’ negative feelings by denying them, making them wrong, and replacing them with some (entirely false) positive feeling. This is simply another form of denial.
Let’s be clear. There’s no such thing as a negative feeling. Nor is there such a thing as a positive feeling. They are just feelings, and they are there to be felt and expressed, no matter what they are. A feeling is only negative when it is suppressed or repressed. Then it becomes highly toxic. It can even cause cancer.
You can’t really expand into love (in the way I have defined this term in my new book, Expanding into Love)*, if you are not willing to open up to the full range of your feelings. The goal is to allow yourself to feel all your feelings no matter what they are. Here’s a good 4-point rule that will help you become more in touch with your feelings.
1. Recognize the Feeling
See if you can put a name to what it is you are feeling. Ask yourself this simple question: “Am I mad, sad, glad or afraid?” At least that will put you in the ball park of what you might be feeling.
2. Accept the Feeling
Be OK with the feeling and love yourself for having it. Do not judge it, especially if you would normally think of it as being ‘bad’ or negative. Again, there is no such thing as a negative feeling. It just is.
3. Delay the Expression of It
If it is anger or something of that nature, and if you were to express it in the moment would cause problems, delay expressing it until it is safe to do so. But don’t use this as an excuse for not ever expressing it.
4. Express the Feeling
Find a way to let the feelings come out through speaking it out, crying, shouting, beating cushions or whatever way you can that is safe. You might need someone who can support you in doing this.
P.S. If you have trouble identifying your feelings, you will find a chart in my book, Expanding into Love, that you will find very helpful. Under each of these six headings: Mad, Sad, Glad, Afraid, Peaceful and Powerful are 14 other words we commonly use to describe what we ‘think’ we are feeling.
*P.P.S. If you have not already pre-ordered Expanding into Love, the opportunity remains open for you to get a copy inscribed and personally signed by me and for you to get two months free membership in my new Colin’s Corner Café, part of the Radical Living Online Community. Click here for more information about that offer. To learn more about the benefits of the Radical Living Online Community, click here.