It may sound like a lot to accept the idea of welcoming all your emotions. It’s great to feel happy and joyful, but how about the uncomfortable emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration? For most of us, it is not easy to be comfortable with these heavier emotions.
With the pandemic and disruptions everywhere, you are probably experiencing a full range of strong emotions. When upset and worried, many people believe there are just two choices to work with intense emotions: (1) You numb and repress them, or (2) you allow them to erupt and overwhelm you.
There’s a third way to work with uncomfortable emotions. You can choose to welcome them as you would welcome a good friend—to treat them with a pleasant and open attitude. Not many people, however, are taught to welcome all their emotions with a friendly and warm attitude. Here are three reasons why you may be unaccustomed to making friends with all your emotions:
- In Western cultures, there is an emphasis on being intellectual and rational, thinking that only your mind will help you be successful.
- You may fear that you will lose control if you allow strong emotions to surface.
- You over-identify with darker emotions. Some people say to themselves: “I am sad, therefore I am a sad person.”
If you believe difficult emotions are a problem, you might think that one solution is to just get rid of them. That idea is understandable, given the “throw-away” society in which we live. If something is broken, it is often cheaper and easier to throw it away and get something new.
But trying to “throw away” your emotions will only give more energy to them. We know that “What we resist, persists.” If you deny your uncomfortable emotions, they will pull you into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. You may feel both Persecuted by your own strong emotions and Victimized at the same time!
But why not transform the power you give to the parts of yourself that you tend to reject and keep hidden? As a Creator, you can choose to welcome all your emotions as part of your human experience.
When you embrace and integrate all your emotions, they artfully bring your true and best self to the surface as TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach. Your Creator essence, your basic goodness, is fully capable of being with the part of you that doesn’t feel good.
There’s a lot to gain when you learn to be with a full range of emotions: you can access your intuition, build your capacity to trust yourself, and be more compassionate when others are feeling strong emotions.
Plus, you cannot be fearful and happy at the same time. So, if you reject the heavier emotions, you are training your body to also reject your joyful moments.
Here are a few suggestions to start to make friends with all your emotions:
- Pay attention to your body when strong emotions arise. Stop whatever you are doing and pause.
- Stand still and breathe without judging the emotions. If strong emotions are allowed to rise and fall without your hindrance, in most cases they move through your body in a few minutes.
- Name your emotion with as much detail as possible. Say to yourself, “I am feeling (fill in the blank).” Research has shown that “naming” your emotion helps them to gently move and not get stuck.
Practice being with your emotions rather than being them, just like you would be with a good friend. You would be open-hearted, welcoming them with kindness and acceptance, and see them as part of your human experience—as a Creator.