MODULE 4 : Brief Introduction
- Recognizing feelings
- Basic feelings
- Why do I have feelings
- What is the purpose behind my feelings?
- Why should I feel my feelings
Our emotions are called feelings because we’re supposed to feel them. Any attempt to suppress or block them at best is temporary. We know that those who suppress their feelings (consciously or unconsciously) are far more likely to experience physical and mental health difficulties. Pushing away feelings for too long can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood swings, unexplained medical symptoms, difficulties in relationships and more.
On the other hand, those who tend to express and allow themselves to experience their feelings have better immune system functioning, physical health, emotional well-being and higher job satisfaction.
Our feelings communicate important messages to us. For instance, if you are harboring anger and resentment towards your partner, it might be an indication that you have pushed your own needs aside in the relationship and focussed mainly on theirs.
Constantly trying to numb, avoid or run from feelings is exhausting. Repressing, rather than facing and working through difficult feelings stops you from leading a life of purpose and meaning.
Grief, sadness and anger are all parts of our human experience. Living a purposeful life means feeling all of your emotions, both the pleasant and unpleasant ones; letting yourself sit with the full extent of your feelings.
If we accept our emotions, (rather than suppress, numb or deny them) we are accepting the truth of the situation (e.g., I am hurting because of the break up with my partner). This frees up mental and emotional resources to actually deal with the situation (rather than spend those resources trying to avoid it – which may bring temporary relief but can lead to further symptoms).
Accepting our feelings increases self awareness and the ability to regulate difficult emotions. Avoidance won’t help you learn how to process and work through emotions.
Avoiding feelings can become suffocating after too long. Feeling your feelings won’t kill you – but avoiding them potentially can. Depression, hopelessness and suicidal can be the result of repressing too many feelings for too long. One can become depressed and hopeless feeling as though there is no way out.
Lastly, accepting a negative emotion helps to reduce the veracity or intensity of it. In much the same way that the more you struggle or try to fight against quick sand, the faster you will sink. If you allow yourself to just be present, and give up struggling against the quick sand it is dense enough that you can float on top of it. Repressing a feeling is futile and harmful. Accepting the emotion will help it run its course while allowing you to run yours.