In a world where expressing our negative feelings can generate accusations of being ‘too emotional’, is it any wonder that we often push past our feelings without ever really processing them?
I came across this situation recently with a couple who had forgotten how to feel because the hurt in the marriage was too painful, so I thought I would generate a short guide to processing feelings.
When we feel happy we allow the feeling to engulf us. The feeling of joy begins with realisation that something positive has happened. The feeling builds to a peak and then gradually subsides. When it subsides, we go back to our usual state of being.
On the other hand, when we feel sad we often fight the feeling. We don’t allow it to flow through our being to peak and subside. We don’t process the feeling to arrive back at our usual state of being.
Instead, we fear the feeling and try to get rid of it. As soon as the feeling begins to well up, we devise one hundred and one strategies to alleviate it.
Sometime people take positive steps to avoid processing the feeling like calling a friend, getting new clothes or throwing themselves into work.
Other times people use negative steps to avoid it like alcohol, arguments or scheming.
If left unprocessed sadness lingers and life can become a constant battle to avoid the creeping feeling of misery.
It can reach a stage where being alone is a problem. It can process itself through the physical body causing stress or illness.
What if feelings of sadness are just another emotion like feelings of happiness?
What if, instead of fighting it, we trusted this feeling to peak and subside?
Maybe we could get so used to allowing this process that it would happen automatically like happiness and we could talk about it openly.
Surely with practice, we could recognise the process and trust it?
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