Maybe you felt frustrated, or sad, or disappointed, or angry or even grief stricken.
What did you do with that feeling? If you’re like many women I know, you turned away from it, you tried to bury it, and you did everything you could to pretend that it wasn’t there.
You tried really really hard NOT to feel it.
Did it work? Maybe for a little while, but chances are it stuck around and even leaked out at an unwanted and inappropriate time. If you’ve been trying not to feel it for a really long time, then you’ve not only got the bad feeling, but chances are you might not even remember why you’re feeling it anymore.
NOT feeling doesn’t work.
OK, you’re thinking. So, if not feeling doesn’t work, then what am I supposed to do – (gasp!) feel those icky feelings?
Yes. That’s exactly what you need to do. And truly, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Contrary to the pesky fearful voice in your head, you will not be swallowed up by the feeling and you will not feel it forever. How long it takes the feeling to dissipate all depends on how long you’ve been holding on to the emotion and how strongly you feel it.
I want you to think of your feelings like ocean waves.
You know how waves work (basically, we’re not oceanographers here). They come from a force beneath the surface, they build, they peak, they roll into shore, and then return to the larger source of the ocean.
You really are an ocean of emotion!
Think of a surfer or bodysurfer. Maybe you’ve even experienced being in an ocean wave first hand. A bodysurfer rides the wave, going with the flow of the water until it peters out near shore. However, if that bodysurfer tries to fight the wave rather than going with it, then they are tumbled to the bottom of the ocean and struggle to the surface for air, only to be hit by the next wave rolling through.
Get it? If you ride the wave of your emotion, you will be deposited on shore. It might be a bit of a rough ride, and you might swallow some water, but you’ll end up OK. If you fight against the natural wave of your feeling, then you’ll continuously be bobbing in the ocean of emotion, treading water, and losing energy to fight the next wave.
Try it right now.
Think of a situation that you have a feeling about. Now, close your eyes and simply feel the feeling. Don’t think your way through the feeling. Just feel it and find in your body where that feeling is. Just feel it and notice how the feeling shifts and changes in your body. For most women, when honestly felt, the feeling tends to dissipate rather quickly.
This may take some practice. And, it may feel big at first. But as you get better at it, especially at feeling things in the moment, the waves get smaller and smaller, until you feel like you’re standing in the kiddie pool with tiny ripples around your ankles.
Are you ready to be a pro surfer of your emotions? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.