3 Step Guide: How I was Able to Accept My Emotions
Have you or do you tell yourself things like, “You shouldn’t feel this way!” “That’s not okay to feel that way!” Or maybe altogether just tried to avoid having any emotions toward any situation. No matter what it was. I remember when my step-father passed away, I wouldn’t cry in front of anyone about it. I would leave the room and cry as if feeling sad was not an acceptable emotion. Or even when I was crying I would hide my face in my hands alone or in front of someone especially in front of a man. As I have been healing over time, I’ve learned how this is directly related to my past I wasn’t fully healed from.
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up my feelings didn’t matter. As I remember my mother telling me on repeat. Or if I felt a certain way like rage or jealousy I was a terrible person. Eventually I learned to suppress my feelings. I learned to not have any as a child and teen. And If I did have those feelings I usually wrote about it in a journal and avoided any type of confrontation related to my feelings.
Eventually I got older and was involved in relationships. I would just explode from not expressing myself, not telling someone what it is that I want and or need. Or what my expectations were. Or just expressing my feelings. I was truly ugly when I was in that phase of my life. And even as I got older, my true feelings came out when I was drinking. And most of the time I didn’t even realize it! To say the least, expressing myself was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Let alone expressing my true feelings.
Why? How did this manage to happen? Well I truly believed that showing your emotions made you weak. That reacting on your emotions and making a “fool of yourself” made you weak. It made you look inferior. Especially in front of man. So I kept my emotions under wrap for a very long time. Until I got pregnant and realized there was no way to control those bad boys! (If you want to learn more about my pregnancy journey you can read: Why Being Pregnant has Turned My World Upside Down and One of the Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned in My Life…) Plus my boyfriend and I were no longer together hours before I was to move into his house. I was a mess. And expressing my emotions were at the top of the f*cking list, at that point.
Luckily during this time I decided to take on some healing with a spiritual coach named Johanna Burkhardt. I learned quite a bit from her about dealing with these emotions that were coming up. And they were coming up constantly. Especially sadness and anger. (I actually did a TimeLine Therapy Session to help with sadness. If you’re interested to learn more check out this blog!) They were almost out of control. Raging hormones! Plus all the things that were coming up from my past that I thought I had moved on from. I hadn’t. Things like childhood sexual abuse which had really lead the connection of the way I had been living my life the whole time. (And if you’re interested I’ve been reading a book called When Survivors Give Birth. It’s really help me deal with the abuse while I’m pregnant and how to be prepared for delivery with minimizing retraumatization.)
My coach would let me know to write about these emotions and let things flow. I’m a writer. I’ve always been that way. But I was still having a hard time accepting my emotions. And it was like I was still fighting them. Always. Like I was a bad person for having these emotions. Totally from childhood. Totally irrational and untrue.
Finally one day Johanna sent me a text message in the heat of a meltdown.
And this is what she mentioned. She also told me write about these since that’s what I liked to do:
1) Be aware that you are in that place (emotionally) whether it’s in the gift or the shadow. (If you’re interested in more of what that means, I really suggest chatting with Johanna. If not, check out this book. It’s about our genes and DNA. I’m not the expert that’s for sure. But it’s certainly interesting. And has changed my life for the better-doing this work. I highly recommend looking into this.)
2) Accept the emotion. Don’t try to change it. Just be okay not being okay.
3) Embrace emotion. Love yourself anyway. Embrace this part of you.
I imagine other people that are told this do it in their heads. But I couldn’t and don’t. I had to write about it every single time and still do. No matter how I was feel. Because it helped me release the feelings especially if I was angry.
And then would write things like: “It’s okay that I feel this way. I accept that I feel this way. I still love myself even though I feel [ ] way. It doesn’t make me a bad person.” I wouldn’t push the feeling away but it certainly helps get back into the present. That’s a super hard thing to do sometimes, especially being pregnant.
And to give you a personal example of what I would write:
Aware: Yesterday I talked to my father about him taking Calypso. He explained that he would be unable to because his girlfriend’s mother isn’t doing well and they would also take her dog. I immediately felt upset and sad and like a little girl that was being putting second again to his girlfriend. That feeling made me angry and made me feel useless and made me think to my past relationships and that’s what always happened. I always felt 2nd best. I thought I was over that. But it’s clearly something that still haunts me. And even though I tried to ignore the feeling I was unable to.
Accept: I fought myself from having this feeling from being triggered by it. But eventually I accepted that I was taken back to that young girl on the phone. Angry and hurt and shattered that my father picked another woman over me. Whether or not that was truly the case is a different story. But I felt that way and felt that way yesterday. I accept those feelings are there. And that I felt triggered into anger and hurt.
Embrace: I still feel that way today and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m unworthy or 2nd best. I’m still worth loving. I love myself anyway and I love that it happened in my past because I wouldn’t have become so driven as I am today. *But this obviously something I need to work on forgiving him for*.
I just want you to know that it’s okay that you have feelings. Rational or not. Crazy or not. It’s what you do with those emotions that count. They don’t make you weak or inferior. I understand that’s a hard lesson to learn. Especially if you’ve been through some trauma. You too can use this practice to help you keep everything calm and collective instead of feeling the need to explode like I used to. Especially if you’re pregnant. Staying stress free is what’s best for you and the baby. And I have learned this is one of the best ways to keep calm and stress free.
Remember to be aware, accept, and embrace your feelings. Whether in a journal or through meditation or both. Learning to be okay with your emotions can truly change your world. And if you have little ones, it can change theirs. And what’s better than that?
If you have any comments or stories or anything you can relate to, leave a comment below. Let’s connect. I would love to hear from you!