I’ve mentioned many times the “body keeps the score”, and the reason I say this is because it’s reality. When we avoid, bury and distract ourselves from our emotions, we are only delaying the inevitable. Pain, sadness, trauma, grief- they all stay within us and attach to every cell, if we don’t address our emotions and feelings.
True emotional healing doesn’t happen without feeling. The only way out is to go through.
We live in a world of quick fixes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to heal quickly, but the risk is toxic positivity. Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off is fine, IF, you’ve allowed yourself to feel what needs to be felt. The idea is not to sit in the past or the pain, but if you don’t allow yourself to feel it all and deal with it- how do you ever hope to heal and grow? We don’t ignore a broken leg, or a heart attack so why would we ignore emotional pain?
Let’s be brutally honest here, unaddressed and unhealed emotions can not only affect our mental health but our physical health. Stress is the number one reason that takes people to the doctors. Stress is the number one cause of so many illnesses. Longterm stress is caused by ignoring our emotions.
Let’s have a closer look at some of our emotions:
Bitterness- shows you where you need to heal, where you’re still holding judgements on others and yourself. Bitter people become angry, judgemental and nasty people because bitterness is unhappiness. Bitterness will forever change you if you let it, it will drain your own energy and the energy of those around you.
Resentment- shows you that you’re living in the past and not allowing the present to be as it is. You are holding onto emotions or trauma that you have suppressed or ignored. Resentment will eat you alive if you let it. Unpack what you are feeling and allow the emotions to wash over you- so you can begin the healing.
Discomfort- shows you that you need to pay attention right now to what is happening, because you are being given the opportunity to change, to do something different to how you typically do things. Discomfort is the precursor for change- the knowing in your body that you need to look what’s holding you in your comfort zone. Don’t dismiss it or try to avoid it- this is how we grow.
Anger- shows what you are passionate about, where your boundaries are, and what you believe needs to change about the world. Anger is often a manifestation of fear. When we are scared of losing something or someone, it can manifest in anger. Sit with it and feel what it is and where it’s sitting in your body. It’s important to identify what’s driving your anger so you can learn how to address these emotions.
Disappointment- shows that you tried for something, that you did not give in to apathy, that you still care.
Guilt- helps you understand the person that you do not want to be. Gives you the opportunity to be honest and seek forgiveness and forgive yourself. Guilt has the ability to cause such destruction. If we don’t acknowledge our guilt and speak our truth, we live with that torment slowly destroying us forever. Facing your guilt and being honest takes an enormous amount of courage- living with lies, will slowly kill you. Own it and heal it.
Shame- shows you that you are internalising other people’s beliefs about who you should be (or who you are) and that you need to reconnect to yourself. We humans feel shame sometimes because of the judgement of others. We allow who we are or who we become to be a created by others beliefs, becoming inauthentic to who we are inside.
Sadness- shows you the depth of your feelings, the depth of your care for others and this world. People too often try and hide their sadness because they feel it makes others uncomfortable, or they don’t want to be seen as being “negative”. Truth is we all get sad sometimes and we need to feel it and acknowledge why we feel this way.
It’s really important to listen to our emotions. Sit with them and identify what’s triggered them. It’s not always possible to do alone and it’s more than okay to seek support when needed. As a therapist I still unpack my emotions from time to time with my therapist, and that’s healthy. It’s about being open and honest with yourself and self aware enough to know when you need some extra help with your emotions. Sometimes taking on others emotions and energy depletes your own and that too is normal, so do whatever it is you need to do to support your emotions.
Honestly what I find unhelpful and even dangerous, is the abundance of self-help people that discourage you from actually feeling your emotions. It’s called bypassing and it’s toxic. You can’t just hurdle over the top of what you are feeling. Your broken leg doesn’t heal by ignoring it- it heals by addressing and treating it and also ongoing therapy to ensure it recovers properly.
Don’t get caught up in bypassing. Remember your body will always keep the score.