In a world where we’re inundated with messages like “happiness is a choice,” not many people speak up for the importance of feeling all emotions.
In my life, I’ve found that fully accepting and honoring all the ways I feel has opened the door to more happiness, not less, because how well we show up for our low moments affects how high we’ll rise.
Is happiness natural for some people?
A lot of times in psychology, experts talk about baseline emotions. The scientific idea is that part of happiness is behavioral and another part is genetic.
The genetic portion is said to influence our so-called baseline emotion, which is the relative level of happiness or sadness we feel most days, and the level we return to after outside events that are especially wonderful or especially painful.
As someone who spent a great deal of her life really sad, I can say that the spiritual process of feeling and healing emotions is a process of clearing a backlog of repressed emotion, essentially changing your baseline emotion.
This process, mostly done through the insanely powerful Feeling Awareness meditation that I teach, allows our physical bodies to digest emotions and life experiences just as the stomach digests food.
If we deny our true feelings in an effort to feel happy, it essentially represses our actual emotions and tells the self that its experience of reality isn’t okay. Repressed emotions don’t disappear, but only burrow into the body and cause problems.
How to process painful emotions
Using the power of present-moment awareness or mindfulness, we literally transform repressed emotions into space, love and peace while absorbing the associated life wisdom these emotions contain.
(Of course the other piece to this is making appropriate shifts in response to these emotions, both in ourselves and our lives. That’s what my e-course Emotionally Empowered teaches in great detail. It will run again soon, so sign up to my mailing list to know when!)
We are spiritual beings, composed of universal life force energy. The process isn’t one of disowning our current selves, exchanging that self for one we imagine to be better, but accepting ourselves exactly as we are, and through that acceptance and love, transforming our lives. That’s a really important mindset shift to make.
Accepting ourselves as we are is a process of accepting how we feel, which is also a process of accepting the life circumstances those feelings represent.
And in that acceptance, we use the power of awareness to burn through all the painful emotions that, like clouds, block our natural radiance from shining through.
It’s not that we have to become spiritual, amazing beings that shine. We already are spiritual, amazing beings that shine.
It’s only a matter of sitting with all the stuff we don’t like to process it and burn it away, allowing that radiant being to shine through.
In case you’re not convinced to feel your feelings, here are a few other benefits:
Emotions are messages straight from the soul. They’re inherently intuitive.
After all, how do we make decisions, except based on how various possibilities feel? Certain situations and people just feel better, and that’s how we decide to make shifts in our lives.
However, if you spend all your time repressing your emotions and judging yourself for feeling them, you’re also cutting off your connection to your intuition, which, together with your feelings, is your compass through life.
Are you indecisive? I used to be. Horribly. I doubted myself all over the place. However, feeling your feelings makes you really decisive.
That’s because the process of feeling your feelings puts you in touch with your true self, connecting you to that still center from which all good decisions are made.
Are you scared to take the next step that your heart is asking you to take? Do you worry what other people think of you a lot?
Feeling your feelings makes you fearless because once you face your own pain, there’s not much else to fear.
As you sit with your own pain, you increase your tolerance for discomfort, allowing you to do all kinds of positive things, like face your fears of following your dreams, regardless of what others think.
This process is also one of learning to find validation from within. Just the process alone of ignoring society’s messages that pain is not good to feel is one of tuning into your internal compass over the distracting roar of the outside world.
As you learn how to sit with yourself, you over time develop the ability to trust yourself and seek internal council before looking externally.
Sitting with yourself is a process of building a home in your heart so that you may be rooted in the outside world.
As Osho says, sadness is roots while happiness is branches. Both are needed for balance.
We can only meet others as deeply as we’ve met ourselves. I know my relationship with my husband has deepened as I’ve learned to feel, not because he’s changed but because I have.
I used to find it really difficult to talk about how I felt. I couldn’t sit through difficult conversations or face my fear of saying how I really felt because I couldn’t sit with the pain that experience triggered for me.
But because I’ve sat with my pain, I can now have conversations that scare me. In touch with my feelings, I can express why I’m frustrated and can even identify why my husband is frustrated, opening the door to deeper conversations even though he’s not really into talking about feelings.
Deeply in touch with ourselves, we become more deeply in touch with all of life.
Increased self-worth, unconditional self-love
Perhaps the greatest gift of feeling is that you stop judging your worth based on how you feel.
When life is a search for happiness, people often spend their time nervously gauging their mood. Am I happy? Oh no! What am I doing wrong?
But when we shift to accepting whatever arises, we allow ourselves the gift of our own love, one that’s independent of how we feel. When your own self-love is unconditional, this also helps you become more fearless, decisive and intuitive.
Feeling your feelings is a practice of learning how to trust yourself.
Stop feeling stuck
When you repress your feelings, you’re essentially stifling the flow of life-force energy.
When you feel, you allow yourself to fall back into the flow of life.
So the next time you hear…
So the next time you hear someone say, choose to be happy, I hope you won’t judge yourself if you don’t feel that way. I hope you accept and honor all the ways you feel because all emotions are valid and have meaning.
As you learn to trust your own healing process, you’ll learn to trust yourself. The process is a really beautiful one, and I hope if you haven’t started already, you give yourself permission to begin. If you feel fear or resistance simply start there.
I hope this served you!
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It's the exact same technique that changed my life.