All of a sudden you realize that you are the person who has control of your life.
—Jim Henson

The biggest area in my life I try to control—or blame someone else—is around emotions. I can dance around really feeling my emotions better than Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on the silver screen.

Through all of my work, training, research, and writing I have yet to accept why emotions are so scary to feel. It doesn’t mean there isn’t information available…I’m just a tad stubborn. 😊

I know that my work around perfectionism is intimately connected to my resistance to feel my feelings. If I am experiencing feelings other than happiness, I am not perfect. (Or so the story goes…) Better yet is blaming someone else for MAKING me feel how I feel. (Yeah…not so true, either.)

Blaming someone else is by far the easiest way to avoid feeling (though not recommended). Thinking back to my trauma release experience, I still have moments of wanting to blame the person in my life at that time for making me feel sad, rejected and alone. Not only is that not fair, it’s not true. I didn’t have the tools to effectively navigate what and how I was feeling. I was also lacking in self-love to accept the discomfort inside and to let someone in to help. I groped in the dark to feel my way through the best I could at the time. Truth be told, the sadness and rejection I was feeling were present before any of the chaotic episodes even happened. The timing was such that I was with a particular person whose own life experiences clashed with mine, resulting in lifting the lid off the pressure cooker. It was like Spirit was shaking me alive, wanting me to fully wake up to the fullness of me…which required the release of stored up emotions in my body. Blaming someone else doesn’t bring healing; only feeling does that.

Do you ever stop to wonder what is behind the phrase, “It makes me so angry (sad, hurt, etc.) when you (fill in the blank).”?

What’s really going on?

Is that other person really responsible for making you feel a certain way or is there something else behind that?

Does the action of the other person evoke feelings of discomfort connected to your own sense of (im)perfection, worth or being lovable?

Perfectionism is the key to intellectualizing feelings rather than feeling them…and I’m not offering that as a suggestion to use. I can tell myself all of the ‘right’ things about my feelings, but it is not the same as feeling them. I have been known to say, “There’s a reason they’re called feelings and not thinkings.” For a perfectionist, the world feels safest when there is no conflict, no uncomfortable feelings, structure (rules), routine, and, ideally, no surprises. Anything that creates waves within that is uncomfortable and brings in fear of judgment, either from myself or from others.

As one who deals with perfectionism, feeling my feelings can get stuck in the trap of the “right” way to feel them. There is no right or wrong way to feel. I have learned that taking intentional time to breathe and notice what is going on within my body is very beneficial. Journaling is also helpful for me, but I have learned to sidestep digging into my feelings when I journal if I feel too overwhelmed (which is EXACTLY the time I need to be digging in!). It’s a fun little dance I do…until I get to the point where avoidance simply won’t work anymore. Since I am also a musician, I was given the suggestion to name what instrument I feel like and why to support stepping into how I’m feeling. For example, one day I wrote that I felt like a partner-less cymbal, wanting to make a noise but feeling like I was missing part of me. This opened the exploration and curiosity as to what I felt was missing along with what did I want to make a noise about. The slightly removed approach made it feel safer to notice how I was feeling. Interestingly enough, not only did I gain clarity, I was also able to release what was going on and shift my mood. Huh. Imagine that. Feeling my feelings actually brought peace. I never cease to be amazed at the growth that fluidly happens when I get out of my own way. 😊

I can’t control the feelings that arise within me, but I can choose how long I’m going to hang onto them.

Feelings are part of our human existence. They don’t exist to make you think you are imperfect or did something wrong to feel the way you do. Feelings are little teachers that emerge from within, whispering…ok, maybe sometimes yelling…to us, nudging us to learn and grow.

How comfortable are you with feeling your feelings?

What is in your personal ‘tool box’ for tapping into your feelings?

Feel free to share any suggestions below!

Walking together in light, love, and peace.

All of a sudden you realize that you are the person who has control of your life. —Jim Henson

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