Our Emotions Have A Lot To Say To Us
Updated: Apr 19
I was scrolling through social media the other week when something lovely that someone had posted completely did my head in. Have you ever been there? My reaction felt ridiculous and I felt silly that it had upset me so much.
As I write this I feel fairly confident that a lot of people will be able to relate to this experience. It's sort of 'part of the package' if we're going to engage in social media.
It may not have been social media, it may have been something we've seen or heard, a comment or a picture.
It's quite likely that the next thing many of us would do is to push the emotion away or give ourselves a little telling off for being so silly.
Why do we do that that? We're seriously missing out on what our emotions have to say to us.
What are our emotions are trying to tell us?
If we're willing to put up with the discomfort of not pushing the emotion away we can find out a lot about ourselves. What our deep longings are, what we care about, our values, what we want or need deep down.
When we're familiar with what these things are, we're in a better place to do something about them or get the support we need if we can't. We can let them guide us in how we spend our time; what we need to invest in; what we need to seek or to avoid.
Yes, it's true, emotions are not facts, and everything we feel may not necessarily be true, but the fact that we're feeling those emotions means they still have something to say to us.
What if I felt down that a certain friend never gets in touch and so I feel like I don't mean much to them. (This is hypothetical by the way - definitely not a dig at any of my friends reading this!) If I knew, when I thought about it rationally, that this wasn't true, I can still listen to what the emotion is trying to say to me.
It may be saying that this friendship is important to me and I need to make more time for it. I can then do something proactively to make that happen.
It may be saying that I have a tendency to feel insecure in my friendships, and if I then look further I can try to understand why that is. I can possibly invest in working that through somehow, or communicating to my friends that I could do with a bit more reassurance than normal and why.
It may show me that I tend to be the motivator in friendships and I'm not particularly happy with that role. Then I can either communicate with my friends that I would appreciate them making the effort too, or find some friends that are going to meet that need in me; or that I need to look at myself as to why I take on that role in the friendship.
I could go on with a multitude of reasons that could have been at the root of the feeling in the first place.
It may feel like hard work and over the top to examine every feeling, but it soon becomes familiar. Our self-awareness grows and we start to create a lifestyle we want, function in relationships in a way we're happy with and become a version of ourselves that sits right.
Actions that can be put into place
If something we see or hear of fills us with longing, jealousy, resentment or makes us feel down, could it be that it's showing us about our desires and needs?
Our desire for adventure and fun; for connection; for security; for freedom; for some 'me time'; for purpose; for stimulation etc. When we realise what we want or need then we can consider whether there are any positive actions we should take, or change of a mindset we need; or communication that needs to take place, that means we can work towards getting those things?
It might highlight what our values are, the things that really mean a lot to us. We could then adjust our life a bit to make sure we are living in a way that's aligned with those values and drop the things that clash with them.
Not every desire that may be highlighted can be remedied with an action.
What if you hear news of another friend getting pregnant, when that's all you long for and it's just not happening. What if there's the memory of someone that you've lost that stops you in your tracks. What if something reminds you of your shame and regret, and nothing, however much you wish it could, can turn back time to give you a chance to do it differently this time.
All these feelings are valid, and whilst it's far less painful to push them aside, if you don't allow them now, you can be sure they'll come out in another way at another time.
Maybe through a numbing of yourself, which also numbs the feelings of joy, excitement, love or any other positive feelings too.
Maybe it will come out in your body somehow. How closely the body and soul are linked.
Maybe they'll present themselves through depression and anxiety.
Allowing yourself to look at these emotions and explore what they are about has so much value.
Can you identify what the main feeling is: anger; confusion; embarrassment; anxiety; hurt, etc. And when you've pinpointed that can you break it down to something more specific? For example if you're feeling sad can you break that down further? Is the sadness feeling: disappointment; discouragement; sorrow; regret; depression; disillusionment; desperation; dejection; feeling crushed; feeling upset; hopelessness; or unhappiness?
Naming the feeling is part of being able to process it, which is part of the healing.
It's a bit like peeling the layers off an onion.
And so it can go on. It can be explored as much or as little as you like and feel safe doing.
Knowing how much you can cope with is important and this is where exploring it with a professional can be beneficial. Though all self-exploration, however little, is beneficial.
Fancy challenging yourself?
Next time something triggers a reaction in you, try experimenting and sitting with the discomfort for a while. Notice the feeling. Try to identify what the feeling is, and then be more specific in breaking that down if you can. Ponder it. Explore it. Verbalise it. Feel it. Allow it to do it's work. Allow it to speak to you and teach you something about yourself. Grow in self-awareness. Process the pain. Find your restoration.
I could write so much about this subject, I feel it's really important.
Do you agree? I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you’d like to explore this more feel free to contact me on 07561 047349 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Gorrie - February 2021