Expressing Your feelings or showing your emotions is never easy. If this sounds like you- you may have “Feelings Phobia”.
If so, you’ll want to read on (but don’t worry, you aren’t alone!)…
Initially, when you were first born, you had feelings and you expressed them freely.
You cried when you were hungry. You smiled when you were happy.
You yelled and pounded your dimpled little fists when you were frustrated.
You didn’t muffle a cry because it might upset the people around you all the while you wanted to express your feelings in words. You didn’t filter a smile because it might make you more vulnerable to be hurt. You didn’t stifle your frustration because it would be embarrassing to have others witness your suffering. And you definitely didn’t block ourselves from what you were feeling.
Then, somewhere along the way, during your development into adulthood, you became afraid of your feelings.
Whether it was due to big “T” trauma or little “t” trauma, you got schooled in the hardship of life. You got socialized, minimized, shaped, molded, and influenced by the forces around you (primary care givers, teachers, friends, family members, media, etc.). By the way, none of us are impermeable to these forces!
Maybe you stopped freely expressing your true self, you began hiding, shielding, questioning, analyzing…and most of all, protecting your heart from hurt. You learned that feelings were dangerous and painful, so you began to block yourself from your feelings, compartmentalize them, disconnect and numb out.
This was a smart move…at first! It spared you from feeling the full extent of a broken heart when someone you loved hurt your feelings. It spared you the suffering and disappointment when you didn’t get the lead in the school play, failed to get an ‘A’ on the test, didn’t get picked for the team, or when life generally didn’t go your way. You had the feelings-buffer protecting you from experiencing the depths of your pain.
This all was great…until…those unexpressed feelings started manifesting in other ways. If you’ve read up until now, you know just what I’m talking about.
Your feelings don’t just stay in their compartments.
They don’t disappear into the ether. Those feelings hide, until they can’t hide anymore – the space in the compartment has run out. They begin to spill out in ways that seem strange and random. They show up as depression, or anxiety, or back pain, or an eating disorder, or migraines, or blind rage or some other mental-physical-emotional pain. And once you get to this point, it’s much more difficult to heal (yet it’s completely possible!).
So, here you are, having spent years (unconsciously) honing your ability to separate your feelings from yourself…and now here they are – causing you pain, taking control of you, and taking over your life.
Where does this leave you?
There’s only one way out and it’s through.
This means that in order to heal and live a good life, you need to learn how to reconnect with yourself, communicating feelings and emotions with your body in safe ways so that you can stop fearing your feelings — and instead learn to love the experience of your feelings.
Sound crazy? Maybe. But if you want to love your life with all of who you are, then fully experiencing you’re a wide spectrum of feelings (and healing from “Feelings Phobia”) is part of the process.
Remember: If you’re blocking out any of your feelings, you’re filtering out ALL feelings (even the ones that feel really good).
I’m aware that you might not like hearing all this, because it may challenge your ideas of what you need to grow and heal. It might feel scary or impossible. Or maybe you like the idea, but you don’t know how to fully feel your feelings at this stage of your life.
It’s never too late to heal from “Feelings Phobia”.
Here’s a tool that gets you started.
Simple Mind-Body Tool for Healing “Feelings Phobia”:
Do this check in at least 3-5 times per day for just a minute or two each time. Even if when you use this tool, you notice almost nothing at all, keep doing it. You’re training yourself to get embodied ,develop a healthy expression of emotions and to tolerate being present with yourself, which unearths your path toward healing.
1) Tune-In: It starts with tuning in to your body. Notice subtle sensations as you mentally scan your body from your toes to the crown of your head. If you struggle with noticing subtle sensations, try moving your body in slightly challenging ways or lightly tap different parts of your body and then check in consciously.
2) Use Non-Judgmental Awareness: Try to avoid labeling the sensations as “good”or “bad” and instead see what it’s like to just notice their appearance (ie: “I notice tension in my left wrist” “I have an interesting sensation in my right foot” “I feel tingling down my back”). Note: these aren’t ground-breaking, huge sensations. They are simple and basic. That’s what to expect most of the time.
3) Body Talk: For each of the body parts where you notice sensation, ask each body part what it is that it might want to say to you (what’s it’s message to you, within the sensation?). Stay quiet, breathe and wait as you bring your full awareness to that part. I know this sounds a little weird, but try it and then patiently pause with an open mind to see what each has to say. You might just be surprised to experience your body speaking to you in its own way.
4) Name your Feelings: Once you’ve noticed all there is to notice in your body, then move on to noticing what emotions are present right here and now. Go beyond your default emotions, like “stress” and see what feelings might be underneath. Be sure to name what you notice and if it’s a thought, be sure to go back and notice the emotion beneath that (Example: “He’s mistreating me” is a thought…but underneath that might be “I’m angry and sad”; “I’m confused” is a thought…but underneath that might be “I’m frustrated”).
This tool is merely a start on the journey toward creating a healthier, freer relationship with your emotions, with yourself, and with your life. Just remember the key to good emotional health is a person’s ability to express feelings appropriately.
Also, when you’re ready to deepen your healing, here are some options:
- Take the Free Mind-Body IQ Quiz: A short 10-question quiz that helps you learn how connected you are to yourself and how you can begin to move forward on the path toward more.
- Try the Stress Less Reset ($25): A self-guided 14-Day mind-body experience that helps you tap into yourself more deeply, so you can get control of your stress through your body-mind connection.
- Get a Free Consultation with me: I can support you with mind-body integrated sessions (in-person and/or virtually) that will help you to free yourself of feelings-phobia once and for all…so you can live with the freedom and peace that you’ve always wanted. Learn more here.
Living a good life with a solid relationship within yourself takes work, but it’s all worth it!
P.S. If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: 3 Exercises for Flowing with your Fear, Your Issues are in your Tissues, and The Art of Letting Go and How to Begin.
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