I have recently discovered through the loving encouragement of my future husband and my foray into this spiritual/internal quest, that I used all sorts of tactics for years to keep my true feelings at arms length.
I disavowed any feelings outside of joy & happiness for a long time because it was just too painful to allow the other feelings in (e.g. anger, sadness, fear) however, the funny thing about not allowing yourself to feel those other emotions is that they start showing up anyway. (That stomach ache that won't go away... IBS attacked my body for years, the migraine headaches, etc.)
Whether you ascribe to the metaphysical, hippy/dippy, mind/body/spirit philosophy or not ~ its hard to deny that there is a connection between our emotional state and our bodies. Doctors agree that, when we feel good in our heart and mind, we usually feel good in our bodies too. When we have pain and "heartache" our bodies respond to that as well.
We all have the innate ability to heal or hurt our bodies. Ever heard the expression when someone is just "sick over something?" Usually it has to do with some experience in their lives which is manifesting itself in the body as sickness.
So how do you begin the journey to understanding your own feelings? Here is my process:
- Awareness - Just becoming aware that you are feeling something is a huge step in the right direction.
- Define the Emotion - Keep it simple: Mad, Sad, Glad, Hurt, Afraid. Try each one of these emotions on until you find the correct one.
- Consider Journaling - My friend Donna Belt taught me this! This isn't the kind of journaling you may be thinking of. This is journaling in a stream of consciousness kind of way that allows you to deeply into your own spirit and ask yourself the tough questions that only you have the answers to. Most times (especially women!) go to their friends & family seeking council when the first step is to turn within and have some self exploration time first.
- Tips for journaling
- Purchase a special journal that you feel excited to write in - one with colors or design that appeals to you.
- Purchase/find a special pen that you enjoy writing with - one whose ink is pleasing to you
- Make a ritual out of it - purchase a candle (Soy Signature has some great ones!) and light it each time you get ready to journal. Create sacred space in your home.
- See what comes up for your naturally and then write it down - for example if you are feeling mad about how your boss is treating you at work you may write down "I am angry about my boss and the way she is treated me"the next question would be, "Why do I feel angry" then you would write "I feel angry because..." then write what comes up for you.
- Remember you are not writing this for anyone else but YOU! So write with an open heart, don't edit yourself and see what happens.