As seen in APeeling in January
Everything we want is outside of our comfort zone and will bring up uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings as we go for it. If you’re like I used to be, any time you feel an uncomfortable feeling, you try to move yourself to a better feeling place.
Sometimes that might mean doing something constructive to try to change your feelings.
Or you may have learned to positive your way around “bad” feelings aka spiritually bypass.
Spiritual bypass is when you use spiritual principles or personal development techniques to avoid facing your painful feelings, unresolved wounds, or unmet needs. It is a way to AVOID feeling the feels. It’s a state of resistance. And what we resist persists.
I used to be the Queen of Spiritual Bypass, till I learned how to feel my feelings.
When my dad passed last year, I felt grief, not just for my dad, but for the identity I created to constantly achieve to prove myself to my dad. I was afraid if I felt the full extent of my grief, I’d lose momentum in my business. I was afraid I’d be consumed by my grief. My coach at the time advised that grieving WAS my business. Contrary to what I believed, my business growth would be stifled if I didn’t allow myself to grieve fully. It was painful, but the breakthrough that came as a result was profound.
One of my clients recently told me that she kept meditating so she didn’t feel her anxiety anymore. The point of advising her to meditate was so she would feel her anxiety, not try to get rid of it. Once felt, it would quickly move on by itself. We did the simple process below and in a matter of several minutes, she no longer felt anxious.
Often, many people repress difficult feelings or numb out with alcohol, drugs, TV, sex, shopping, etc. If we repress or numb out, it may ease the discomfort temporarily. Not only do the feelings NOT go away, but they get louder. It’s like holding a beach ball underwater. The moment you stop holding it down, it pops up and hits you in the face.
From a Quantum Physics perspective, we are of .00001% matter and the rest (.9999%) energy.
Thoughts and feelings are energy too. When we resist feeling an emotion that is uncomfortable or unpleasant, that energy gets stuck in our bodies rather than continuing to move through us. And the more you resist it, the more the energy gets dammed up in your body. As a result, it will stop the flow of energy moving through your body and you will feel worse.
This is what causes most disease of the body and mind. Stuffing your feelings will manifest in chronic stress, disease, emotional issues, relationship struggles, self-sabotaging behavior, etc.
So what do you do with all these feelings? You feel them to heal them!
But what about the idea that what you put your focus on grows? If you focus on challenging feelings, will you only experience more of them?
Which is it? It’s both. I’m not suggesting setting up base camp with your feelings, only having tea with them and really being present with them. If you do this, you will move through your emotions in a constructive way.
How do you do that? Here are 5 Steps to practice that will allow you to feel and resolve difficult emotions:
1. Become aware of what you’re feeling. You don’t need to label it. Just notice it...i.e., I feel this restriction and tightness.
2. Notice where you feel it in your body. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings and focus your loving attention on the part or parts of your body where you feel it. For example, I feel this restriction in my belly. It feels like there’s a ton of heavy rocks piled up in my belly. Then focus your loving attention on your belly.
3. Have compassion for yourself and anyone else involved. Everyone is truly doing their best based upon the world view they have at any given moment.
4. This next part may seem out there, but trust me it works! Speak to the feeling in your body. Ask it what it wants you to know? What would make it turn down the volume? What does it need from you? It’s mind-blowing how much incredible actionable information comes from this Step 4. And the truth is, if you think you’re making it all up, it doesn’t matter.
5.If you get a response that’s vague, like lighten up, ask what that would specifically look like. Keep asking what it would look like until you get specific actionable information. If you trust this process, you will get some action to take, even if it’s get quiet and listen more, that will help resolve the feelings.
Feelings are a barometer, they’re signals of what’s going on. When we learn to read the signs, they don’t need to stick around very long.
Most importantly, be open. Getting comfortable feeling your feelings is like building a muscle. It takes time to develop the skills.
Now, these steps are simple, but not easy. And the reason they are not easy is we were not taught how to feel our feelings. So it feels uncomfortable to feel our “negative” emotions.
Spoiler alert: More often than not, it’s not the feeling that’s uncomfortable or painful, rather it is the resistance to feeling it. Once you melt your resistance to feeling your emotions, you will realize that they are not the big monster we made them out to be. AND they will move through you pretty quickly.
When I learned to start feeling my feelings, I was amazed at how quickly those feelings resolved. I’ve noticed the same thing with my clients too.
So I’m extending an invitation to you. Feel your feelings - ALL OF THEM! Without judgment.
Alaina Schwartz is a business coach helping leaders to find more balance in their life while still achieving the success they want in their lives. Check out her website at: www.alainaschwartz.com