I have stopped counting the number of clients coming to see me asking for ways to stop feeling what they are currently emotionally experiencing. Let’s shed a bit of light on the reasons why and when it might be suggested that you actually do exactly the opposite: allowing it.
Emotions versus feelings
First of all, let’s make some clear distinction of terms. Feelings are what you experience in the moment. They are usually clean and fresh, like tears of joy when you attend a beautiful wedding ceremony or the sadness when hearing the news of someone’s child dying.
Emotions however are, as the word says, “energy in motion”. They are a form of residual energy which is stored in the body’s connective tissue from past experiences which come up in a moment when triggered. These emotions are leftovers from situation that have not yet been fully dealt with. You might notice the difference through the intensity which, when looking back at the moment, is out of context. Emotions usually make you become defensive or overly critical, condescending or argumentative.
Emotions/feelings versus words/actions
Another important differentiation has to be made between what we are experiencing on an emotional level, whether it is an emotion or a feeling, and the words and actions that follow. Generally speaking, emotions will make you want to speak or act out much more than feelings and usually in a negative or hurtful way.
Feel and be aware
The significance which I am trying to make here is that whatever you feel (or emote) you still have (some) control over your reactivity. If you feel that you are out of control, you can be sure that you are experiencing emotions from undealt with past hurtful situations.
This is an invitation to look at those things and deal with them once and for all.
I don’t want to deal with old stuff
If you hear yourself think or say out loud that you are not interested in dealing with this old stuff, you are consciously or unconsciously afraid of what it might bring up. Let me be clear: we all have those things we would rather not look at! It is common to feel uneasy, especially about those things that you are not really conscious about yet, but also about those situations that you would rather not look at again.
Allowing emotions and feelings
Whatever you stuff down or avoid on an emotional level will be stored in your connective tissue whether you want it or not. The more intense a situation is, the more energy you will need in future to keep it down. This is the energy that you are lacking in your day-to-day life. It is also what people often are trying to avoid by drowning it with alcohol or any other excessive activity.
So when exactly is it time for you to deal with it now?