Facing and embracing our emotions, especially the ones that we label as ‘negative’, is not something we’ve been taught how to do. Unfortunately.
There are innumerable incredible ways to distract ourselves and keep our attention outside of ourselves. But we have never been taught how to look within and often don’t know where to start.
And yes, the first step might not be easy. It’s about breaking a life-long habit of looking away and instead facing and embracing what’s going on inside. But the beauty of it is… once you do you’ll be rewarded big time.
Our emotions can actually be:
- excellent teachers.
- a portal to deeper healing.
- a catalyst for spiritual growth.
- a way to know yourself on a more intimate level.
- the language your soul uses to communicate with you.
- an early warning sign of areas in your life that need your attention.
Once your take your attention inside you might find: what you thought was Pandora’s box is actually a treasure box holding the answers that you had been looking for outside all along.
Before we embark on the trip of exploring our emotions, let’s first pack the most important ingredients: Willingness. A little time. And a lot of love.
Here are four different ways to take the rewarding journey embracing your emotions:
1. Creative Expression
If you’re one of the lucky people who has found their art, you probably don’t even need to read any further. You pour your emotions into playing your instrument; singing, painting or dancing your heart out. You express your emotions in a creative way.
And if you haven’t found your specific creative outlet yet, well then you have all the freedom to experiment. Take a paintbrush or pencil and bring onto paper the dark clouds you might feel inside, turn up the volume of your favourite song and stamp out your anger or let your tears drop onto the paper as you describe your feelings in a poem… keeping in mind that it’s not about achieving a perfect result, but about the process of expressing your emotions.
And there are even more ways to deal with your emotions that are just as creative in the end.
2. Observing and Surfing
One of those ways is to observe and surf your feelings. You could observe your feelings from a distance, perhaps imagining that your feelings are behind a glass window, just as you would look at a pair of shoes in the window of a shop.
Or you could move one step closer by noticing the sensations that these feelings cause in your body. There is a mindfulness technique called the body scan, in which you bring your attention to all parts of your body. You can do the same with your emotions. Observing and perhaps naming the sensations that you feel, without judgment. Not altering them in any way, simply surfing along and wrapping them in love.
3. Loving and Transforming
One extra step I love adding is to let these feelings fill your entire body, almost like drinking them. It might sound contradicting, but in fact your feelings can truly nourish you in this way.
Jack Johnson sings that ‘love is the answer, at least to all of the questions in my heart‘ and the same goes for our feelings. Putting your hands on your heart and saying ‘I love you’ to everything you feel, is the beginning of a love revolution according to author Matt Kahn, You can even imagine loving and embracing your emotions just like a little child.
And last but not least, there is the Tibetan technique of tonglen. Here, you breathe in all your painful emotions (or even those of loved ones or other people) and breathe out love, compassion, peace or other positive emotions. You could also pray this way, transforming pain into pleasure for the benefit of all!
The previous ways have been about creating and ‘holding’ a space for yourself and your emotions. But sometimes the emotions can seem overwhelming and too much to carry alone, and we need someone else to help us hold the space. Admitting and allowing ourselves to share our emotions can already be such a relief. The next step is to find a way of sharing that suits you.
You can of course decide to simply call a friend (or use voice whatsapp, great invention for this!), visit a sharing circle, see a therapist or explore your feelings in a coaching session.
Your pain can become your portal to pleasure.
There are many beautiful techniques to help you in letting your pain become your portal to pleasure. For instance ‘Focusing‘ by Eugene Gendlin, where you take a curious approach towards the feelings that arise and let them take you on a literal journey…. towards more consciousness and happiness.
Ultimately it’s all about letting our emotions be, not pushing them away as we are all used to in our busy lives, but allowing them to teach and enrich us.
Once we embrace our emotions in one of the ways described, they can enrich our lives and make us more healthy, happy, kind and peaceful.
How about you?
Have you tried any of these ways to embrace your emotions? Or do you have a different way that works for you? I’d love to exchange experiences in the comments below.
PS. If you would like to experience a new way to relate to your emotions, you are welcome for a life coaching session.