“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~Sonia Ricotti
As children we were naturally able to express our emotions. We may not have had the best tools to understand and deal with them so we cried when we felt sad, threw a tantrum when we were angry, squeezed our teddy bear when we felt scared and laughed and giggled when we were happy.
Then there came a time, most likely through adolescence, when we were taught to repress our emotions. Naturally it was necessary to learn that it was not a good way to express ourselves by throwing tantrums, yelling, screaming or crying.
However, when we lose touch with our emotions we become unaware of what is really happening for us. All we feel is either comfortable when we are happy or uncomfortable when we are angry, sad or irritated. We allow the outside world to trigger us and then blame others or circumstances for how we feel, defend our feelings and act in our own best interest. That behavior causes suffering for us and others. So how do we break out of this?
How can you find your way back to connecting with and embracing your emotions?
Here are 4 Steps
on how to acknowledge your emotions, learn from them and move on
1. Become aware of your emotions
First it is important to understand the dynamics of your thoughts. You may well be aware about the fact that thoughts influence emotions. However, there is an important distinction. Actually, not all thoughts are real. Some are just the “mind chatter” feeding on our insecurities, fears or other triggers and send us spiraling down. Once you are able to feel the difference, you are fully aware of the predominant emotion(s) present.
2. Feel the emotion fully
By keeping your feelings hidden, avoiding emotions and choosing distractions, you may feel in control of your circumstances yet actually get stuck or build emotional walls around you.
Feeling your emotions fully and accepting your circumstances and where you are in life, opens yourself up to more empowering and positive conditions.
You can access your emotions fully by taking some time to sit in stillness. Just you and your emotions. Here you just feel. This may be daunting and it certainly takes courage. And yes, it can be painful and at the same time enlightening as you explore the deeper layers of yourself that lay hidden from you before. You start opening yourself up to learning more about yourself, the layers of the predominant emotions and their lessons.
Ask yourself what the emotion that is coming up for you is trying to tell you? Is it a thought that caused it or a true emotion? Can you talk to somebody about it, do some journaling or sit with it? Emotions teach you to become aware of your past conditioning or triggers and help you to understand, heal, and grow.
Tune in to the emotions that you are currently feeling. Where do you feel them in your body? How do they make you feel? Close your eyes and define the details of your emotions. Do they have a shape, color, sensation to it?
Embrace your emotions fully! They are here to help you understand yourself better.
3. Be compassionate and non-judgmental
As you go through this deep work, make sure to show yourself lots of compassion, patience and love.
You may be practicing a non-judgmental attitude in your yoga classes. Now you can take your acquired skills and apply them to your feelings by not judging an emotion as good or bad. Your emotions are here to help you realize whether you are on the right track, or need to change something in your life. The labeling of “good” or “bad” is subjective and depends on your values. When you look back at situations in your life, you often see the reason why things happened and that it all made sense. So “bad” emotions are simply here to pay attention, listen within and maybe take a different turn at the crossroads of your life.
4. Accept and Surrender
“What you resist, persists.” ~ C. G. Jung
The final step is to fully accept what is.
When you focus on the negative, offer resistance and judgment the likely outcome will be that you get stuck in an uncomfortable situation or environment. Once you let go of the need to be in control, offer acceptance, non-judgment and non-resistance you open yourself up for new opportunities.
Observe how your thoughts related to the emotions tend to take you to the past or future, away from the present moment. Once you worked through your emotions, it becomes easier to release these thoughts.
Allow the ebb and flow of life. Allow sadness, tears and loss. Allow love, gratitude and happiness. Stay in the flow of the emotions as they come and go and discover what else is there.