You’re probably thinking, I feel! I feel lots of things, all the time.
Of course you do. We all do. I’m not suggesting that you’re a sociopath.
So let’s go a little deeper. What if you let yourself feel everything that you are afraid to feel?
The first step is identifying – even allowing yourself to identify – what those feelings actually are. You may be so terrified of them that this is the toughest part of the process. You may have stifled them for so long that you’re entirely disconnected from yourself and have inner rediscovery work to do before you can even take this step.
Once you’ve identified them, ask yourself: Why am I afraid to feel them?
Don’t gloss over it. Sit with it. Sit with yourself. When you feel uncomfortable, stay. Your answer is on the other side of moving through your discomfort. It might be just as frightening to let yourself admit why you are afraid as to actually feel.
If it helps, I’ll tell you why I was so afraid to let myself feel my deep sadness, my fear of failure, my lack of self-worth, and my sense of hopelessness. I thought that if I truly released everything I’d kept locked so tightly inside for decades, it would kill me.
What was actually killing me? Stifling my truth.
I won’t lie to you – sometimes I still find fear in myself around my own emotions. Sometimes it feels like if I let the sadness start flowing, it’ll never stop. But it releases, little by little, more each day.
Now, here’s the catch. You may already think that you let yourself feel everything. You may have depression and sadness, you may lash out or cry or react in ways that seem very emotional. But anger is just a cover for pain, and when you cry, do you really let yourself CRY? Or do you stop yourself at some point to numb with a coping mechanism?
I’m asking because that’s what I did without realizing it. I was uncomfortable letting myself go deep into the darkness of my shadow self, so when I decided I couldn’t stand to feel bad anymore, I would turn on the TV, or drink wine until I could fall asleep, or eat junk that only made me feel worse about myself later. Because I was too afraid to stay with my pain until it fully passed through me, it stayed stuck inside my body, prolonging my agony even as I kept ignoring it.
So I’m challenging you to challenge yourself. Identify the emotions you are afraid to let out. Ask yourself why you’re afraid. Find a way to feel safe releasing your feelings – maybe you work with a therapist, or a breath work coach, or a friend or partner who is willing to hold space with you. Trust that you can feel without dying – that rising out of your numbness is the only way you can truly live.
It’s not easy. But you can do it. You want to heal, and you can. Acknowledging the truth of your own emotions is a crucial step in the journey.
It is safe to feel, and your feelings are completely valid, no matter what they are. I love you. You got this.