After a four-month hiatus from blogging, which included lots of rest, self-care, nurturing, and a little travel, I feel refreshed, renewed and ready to get back to writing. I’m looking forward to re-connecting with you and hearing your thoughts about… well, my thoughts.
I’m starting out the gate with a big one – emotions. The reason is, over the past few months in my counselling practice, I’ve heard multiple clients express the following types of thoughts:
It’s so bad, but I’ve been feeling really irritated.
I know I shouldn’t be feeling this way.
I feel guilty about feeling angry with my mother/father/spouse/children.
I’m too emotional.
I’m too sensitive.
I need to keep my emotions to myself.
It’s wrong, but I feel really needy.
People get upset when I’m emotional, so I need to stop.
I just need to control my emotions better.
The underlying belief of all of these thoughts is “my emotions are wrong.”
Sound familiar? I think most of us have had thoughts like this about our emotions at some point or another. And those thoughts can seem really true. We may often feel like we are wrong or bad for having the emotions we do.
I feel very strongly about this topic because throughout my life, until my late 30’s I believed I was overly sensitive, that my emotions were wrong, and that they were scaring people away. This is something I had been taught at a young age and hung on to for a long time. It wasn’t until I started my counselling education that I discovered that my beliefs about my emotions were distorted by messages I had received from others.
Here is what I learned:
Your emotions are legitimate.
They are valid and normal, even if just for the simple fact that you are experiencing them.
There are no wrong emotions. Your emotions are not wrong. They are simply emotions.
Others may label our emotions as wrong or too strong if they make them feel uncomfortable, or if they don’t know how to deal with us when we are experiencing them. People may feel overwhelmed, threatened, fearful, irritated, etc. by our emotions, especially if they believe their own emotions are wrong.
The thing is this isn’t about anyone else. It’s about you and your emotions. What others think about your emotions is not really relevant. What is key is that you:
Accept your emotions. Don’t judge your feelings, just notice them, feel them in your body, and let them move through you.
Honour your feelings. Feel your emotions and consider what they are indicating. Do you have an unmet need? Could you use a break? A shoulder to lean on?
Express your emotions responsibly. This means owning how you feel, using “I” statements to express how you feel, and not projecting your emotions “at” someone else.
When we cut back on judging our emotions and commit to feeling them and expressing them responsibly (if needed), we can reduce a lot of suffering around the old beliefs that we are wrong for having the emotions we do. After all, there is nothing wrong with you, or your emotions.
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