So often, we hide from our emotions. We push them in the back of our throats, squeeze our eyes as tight as we can to trap tears, and tuck our humanity away in a box, adding to the collection of “things” we “can’t” or won’t deal with.
Whether we’ve lost a loved one, someone said the wrong thing at the wrong time, or we’re having a rough day, it’s difficult to give ourselves the time, space and energy necessary to sense, exist in the moment, to sit with what is, isn’t and will be.
Growing up, I learned to feel through writing. I wrote letters to my parents about what I was going through and needed from them. I wrote poems and journal entries to express my thoughts, worries, hurt, wishes, hopes and dreams. Without writing, I don’t know if I’d be here.
Now, I write to live. I write to be free. I write to become. I write to let go. I write to be me.
For about seven years though, writing was not a part of my life in the as far as feeling, exploring, learning and becoming. I neglected this part of myself for college and grad school, a 9 to 5, and a comfortable life.
However, a major lesson that writing has taught me is the need to acknowledge, sit with, sort through, name, describe, speak to, exist in and learn about who I am, what I need and what I desire through what I feel.
WHAT MY EMOTIONS DO
My emotions teach me who I am and who I am not; where I am insecure and where I am whole.
My emotions help me to be mindful of my humanity; my divinity; my power; my strength; my frailty; my potential; my uniqueness.
My emotions show me how I show up in the world; how I impact other people; how my spirit flows from me and into any space I walk into.
My emotions are God-given sources of wisdom, guidance, alarm, joy, happiness, etc.
My emotions humble me, offer a framework of compassion for others, and connect me to people around the world.
My emotions help me to evaluate my thoughts and beliefs about the past, present and future.
My emotions connect me with my true self.
HOW I’VE DEALT WITH MY EMOTIONS
I find that I often bury my emotions by binge-watching television. For the past several weeks, you could find me up until 2 or 3 in the morning watching Love & Hip Hop, then another show, and yet another, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
During this time, I started fighting depression, but couldn’t understand why. It all clicked one day when I started crying for no reason. I realized in this moment that I was hiding from something.
I was avoiding dealing with the pain from the five family members who passed in 2016, including the two my family and I lost this year. All within less than a year.
I immediately began to think about when I felt best over the past twelve months, and it was during my bi-weekly therapy sessions, where I decided to face my emotions, resentments, disappointments, and hurt head on.
THE EFFECTS OF AVOIDING EMOTIONS
Ignoring my feelings was placing me in a cycle of grief, frustration and depression.
Ignoring them was blocking my creativity, and ability to live in the moment.
Ignoring them was making me tired, irritable, distracted and misplaced.
USE YOUR EMOTIONS TO REFLECT, GROW AND BECOME
Through my process of acknowledging what is – sadness, anger, joy, hurt – and digging to find out why – I am learning to be okay with my feelings because God thought it was wonderful for me to have them. And over everything, God wants me (and you) to talk to Him about ALL of them.
If you want to heal, then break down the wall of being okay and just be. The good, the bad and the ugly exist to bring the best out of you, to mold you into your full potential.
Letting myself feel everything and express these emotions in positive ways has freed me from so much guilt, pressure, self-judging and the need to protect myself. It has offered space for me to choose to affirm myself. To love myself. To be myself. To be human.
I have realized that I will be okay in feeling, and that I am at my best when I am feeling. There is no way to shut off your emotions from one area without shutting them off altogether.
So feel it all. The highs, the lows, the unknown, the heartache. Search for meaning in each emotion, where it can lead you to, away from or teach you about yourself and others.
Feeling helps me to identify something specific going on, and that since I can name it, there is a way to treat it. Allowing myself to feel offers a roadmap to becoming whole, to getting through it all, in one beautiful piece.
How do you avoid your feelings? How will allowing yourself to feel encourage your healing?
Be loved. Love you. Be love.
*Photo Credit: CreateHER Stock