How many times has someone said to you stop being emotional, don’t make emotional decisions or, you’re letting your emotions get the best of you?
Even though it might not seem like it, people say this to help you. They’re trying to make you feel better because they love you and want to see you stop suffering.
The problem with this? We start thinking we shouldn’t be emotional and spend time trying to avoid our emotions or get rid of them.
And instead, we should see our emotions as something good. Emotions are your internal compass and ignoring your emotions is dangerous.
And here’s why.
Your emotions are your soul screaming for attention. And when you push that away, you’re also pushing your soul away.
But we all do the same thing don’t we? We try to get rid of them. Sometimes you talk to a friend – see what they think. Sometimes you go to the internet and type in why am I so angry? Sometimes you solve emotions with drinking, drugs, out of control sexual promiscuity, eating, Netflix binges, and social media.
The problem with this? Getting your emotions to go away so you don’t feel them or because you think they’re bad, is not serving you. And pushing your feelings aside puts you in a negative cycle. You feel emotions, binge eat, feel bad about binge eating, emotions return, and you binge eat again – this is a cycle of pain. In The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer says, “Because we’ve developed this hypersensitive psyche, we constantly use our energies to close around it and protect ourselves. But this process only hides the problems; it doesn’t fix them. You’re locking your illness inside yourself, and it will only get worse.”
So then, what’s the better answer? What’s the solution? How do we “deal”?
You listen to yourself. It’s that simple.
Though simple, it’s not easy to do because we end up not expressing ourselves because we’re taught emotions are not our friends. We’re taught emotions are our enemies. And we fear judgment if and when we try to express our emotions.
Think about it – even when kids cry, everyone tries to get them to stop.
Getting emotions to go away starts at such a young age. We learn to solve them as quickly as possible and/or just get them to go away and not deal at all with them.
To deal with your emotions you need to start by listening to yourself, and you must:
- Slow down. Don’t just keep doing and doing and doing and doing. Slow your butt down and listen. What you’re looking for are YOUR EMOTIONS! You feel something that isn’t “right” stop and ask yourself “what’s up”? Talk to yourself like your a kid. If you were walking down the street minding your business – I don’t care if your a “kid” person or not. If you saw a kid, standing on the street all by themselves and they were crying, you would stop and gently say, sweetie, what’s wrong? Can I help you? You’d want to help that child regardless if they were yours or not. And you’d talk nice and gently to that baby because you know they’d need a gentle touch to feel safe. This is how you listen to yourself too. Feel the emotion, and stop dead in your tracks and ask sweetie (yourself) what’s wrong. Can I help you?
- Realize that listening to you means listening to your soul. I bet you think you already listen to yourself because every day your mind goes a million miles per hour. You probably think hearing all these thoughts is listening to yourself. But this is not listening to yourself. This is listening to the mind. These are two completely different things. The mind is not your soul. And since your brain has a lot of jobs, including keeping you safe, it will go bat shit crazy to do so. Listening to this crazy monkey is about as relaxing as fifteen babies screaming all at once. The mind is not where you should look. In The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer says, “You just stop telling your mind that its job is to fix your personal problems. Your mind has very little control over this world. You have given your mind an impossible task by asking it to manipulate the world in order to fix your personal inner problems. If you want to achieve a healthy state of being, stop asking your mind to do this.” You need to listen to your soul. And your soul speaks in emotions. There is no other way to tap into your soul, then to pay attention to your feelings.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer says, “You must learn to transcend the tendency to avoid the pain. The avoidance of pain is what your actions are linked to, and you will feel that link in your heart.” It’s painful for us to feel emotions. It’s awkward for us to see someone upset – whether it’s when they’re in a fit of rage or crying hysterically. Emotions are especially uncomfortable when they’re coming from adults. As adults, we’re expected to control ourselves and control our emotions better than children. So learning how to see emotions – whether they’re from ourselves or others, and learning to be comfortable with them is key to listening to yourself and your soul. Avoiding the pain is our go to solution. Getting comfortable with the pain is key to listening to yourself and your soul.
After you’ve mastered theses things – the next question is, okay, great. Now I’m paying attention. Now I feel everything, and it sucks. So now what the hell do I do?
Do you push them down? Ignore them? “Deal” with them?
NO! Just listen to them, just like you would listen to that little child on the street. At that moment, with that child, you would not slap him upside the head and say stop crying and tell me what’s wrong. No, you’d gently wait for him to tell you what’s bothering him and then, and only when you fully understand what his issue is, would you take action.
This is the same process with your emotions. Stop. Listen intently. Go in and feel where the emotion is coming from. Did someone say something that triggered you? Did you catch a glimpse in the mirror and think, ugh I’m fat and then you felt sad. Did you talk to your mom, and she questioned your decision to break up with your boyfriend and that made you feel incompetent? Where’d the emotion come from?
Once you understand where it came from, then it’s time to console your emotion. We don’t do this nearly enough for ourselves. We spend countless hours consoling our friends, family, children, loved ones, co-workers, and we have no idea how to do this for ourselves.
What would you say to the kid on the street if he said, I’ve lost my mommy, and I’m scared? What would you do? What would you say? You’d say it’s okay sweetie, I’m going to help you find your mom and it’s going to be okay.
So do this for yourself. Do it, and do it often.
How often has something come up for you, and you’ve done the opposite? You’ve said, stop being emotional! You’re ridiculous. You’re dramatic. You’re oversensitive. You’re stupid for getting this upset about this. Why do you let him bother you so much, stop it! You shouldn’t let other people bother you.
Is this how you’d talk to that kid on the street? Oh, come on, boy, stop crying then. Nothing to cry about; you’re just a baby.
Nooooo, you would not do this.
So why do we beat ourselves up when there’s an emotion we don’t want to feel? Why do we think of ourselves as weak or silly or overdramatic?
Why don’t we think of our emotions as sensitive and sacred as if we were that little boy lost on the street?
Because we’re adults, that’s why – right? We’re supposed to be mature. We’re not supposed to let bullies bother us. We’re supposed to keep our shit together. We’re moms and dads, and our kids can’t see us get upset – then they’ll learn to be emotional, and we can’t have that. What if we get so upset we start having panic attacks? Then what?
You can see the spiral. You can feel it. It happens to all of us. And it happens almost every day.
The antidote? STOP. Listen. Console with care and comfort. Tell your soul you’re there for her. Just like you would that child on the street. You’d say, I got you. I’m going to take care of you. We’ll do this together, and I won’t stop until I find your mom. You’d give that kid the comfort that you will help him. Do this for your soul. Tell your soul it’s okay to feel hurt. To feel angry. To feel sad. To feel depressed. Say, I am here for you. I can help you. What do you need from me?
It’s revolutionary. Its something we don’t do. We don’t do it because we think these emotions are weak and uncomfortable, and they should go away immediately.
But they should not. You should not feel like you need to get your shit together and get all the emotions to go away.
You should do the opposite.
You should welcome them. Listen to them. Comfort them. Understand them. Dig deep to feel where they are coming from. And then let you, your mind, and your body solve for them without judgment. Maybe they don’t need addressing, but that’s for your soul to say. If your soul says, I need help with this – console and then give the action to your mind to solve for it.
This is how you start listening to you. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s what will save you and change you forever. This takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of practice. But at any moment when you’re trying to exercise this – just remember that little kid on the street. Do you think it’s ridiculous to listen to your emotions and honor them? Then remember, would you believe it’s silly to affirm the child’s tears? No. You wouldn’t. So don’t do this to yourself.
Feeling your emotions and learning to console them and hearing your soul speak is the number one thing you can learn to do that will change your life forever, for good.