Acknowledging our feelings can be scary! This is especially true if we tend to avoid or deny unpleasant emotions or situations. Sometimes we do this because it feels hard to acknowledge situations that feel disappointing, scary, or hurtful. However, to experience our emotions is to recognize our truth, validate our experiences, and treat ourselves with compassion. These actions can help us begin to heal so we can start living a life of satisfaction. If this feels like a foreign concept and is hard for you to do, here are 3 ways you can start experiencing your feelings.
Recognize your feelings without any judgment. Acknowledge it, but don’t judge yourself for experiencing it. To experience our emotions is to remember we are alive! Emotion has the word motion in it. Allow yourself to acknowledge the feeling, name it so you can tame it, and then let it pass.
Embrace self-compassion. Your emotions are valid and you have a right to feel them. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself that you think you don’t deserve to feel the pleasant emotions. And don’t bully or mean-girl yourself when you make a mistake or things go wrong. We are continuously learning and unlearning as we peel back the complex layers that contribute to our human experiences. Be kind to yourself along the way.
Practice naming your feelings with less threatening situations first and work your way up to the hard stuff. If addressing an issue with your boss brings up too much anxiety right now, then start small. If you have family members that feel less threatening, practice addressing an issue with them first seeing if you can name the feeling that comes up for you when being assertive or the feeling associated with a particular event. You can also start by looking at pleasant events. Can you name the emotion that comes up for you when looking at those? Remember, you are the expert on your life and everyone’s circumstances are different. Recognize the people and places that make you feel loved and safe. Utilize that support when practicing engaging in situations that are hard for you.