When Big Emotions Show Up
What do you do when those big emotions show up? You know the ones that I’m talking about? The ones that we tend to avoid, shove down or maybe feel too intensely?
In my work over the years, I've shared the message with children & families that it’s safe to feel our feelings, that feelings are temporary and that while all feelings are okay, all behaviors are not. It’s basically a motto in our home.
But I haven’t always felt safe feeling my feelings. Anger has been one of those emotions for me, especially as a child when I saw injustice or felt a boundary had been crossed. I didn't know how to feel anger and so often found myself moving to feelings of helplessness & hopelessness instead.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned to acknowledge anger as it came up, allow myself to sit with it in a safe way and help it move through my body with different tools. It wasn’t until very recently that I learned how to take that strong emotion, process it and transform it into a motivator & force to take action for good.
And I know that you, like me, may have all sorts of strong feelings coming up with what is happening in our country right now. All sorts of big feelings that maybe don’t feel safe to feel or that you may be feeling intensely.
So here's a loving reminder that while big emotions (especially those emotions that were not safe or we perceived as not safe to feel as children) can throw us for a loop when they show up, it is safe & healthy to feel them. And while they may be temporary, more often than not they are showing up for a reason. I see emotions and feelings as signposts conveying information to us. And when we sit with them, we dig into a deeper layer of ourselves and our truth.
So here are a few ways to support yourself when those big emotions show up…
- Acknowledging the feeling that is coming in. Can you put a name to it?
- Allowing yourself to sit with that feeling and to feel it. What sensations do you feel in your body? What thoughts and emotions are showing up for you? And if you’re feeling ready to get curious, what may be causing the emotion? Why is it showing up? What information might that feeling be communicating to you?
- Supporting that emotion to move through you. How do you allow yourself to feel and express that feeling in a safe way? Is it through writing, going on a run, breathing, meditating, dancing or something else completely? Once you’ve had the time to process that emotion, do you feel called to take positive action? And what does that look like? Here are a few actions I've taken this week with my anger... write thank you messages to friends & humans I see doing good in this world, signing up for a breathwork training so I can support others to use this beautiful tool that has helped me to feel my feelings and making donations to a few organizations that are doing great work for humanity such as Together Rising and Direct Relief.
I know that feeling well enough to feel our feelings is actually pretty special. Having the tools & resources to let those emotions move through us is a privilege. I am seriously grateful to be in a place where both of these are possible for me. And I do not say this lightly or take them for granted because there has definitely been many a time over the years where this wasn’t the case.
I am sending you BIG BIG LOVE.