You might think that someone who was a psych major would already know this, but what I am about to share is something I’ve only figured out how to do in the last 18 months. I am not an expert, but I am getting better and practicing.
As children many of us are taught to suppress undesirable emotions. For example, we may be told don’t be mad, sad, cry or demonstrate feelings that might make someone else (like a parent perhaps) feel uncomfortable.
Nowadays in my work I find more and more information that states it is important to validate a child’s emotions. Tell the child it is ok to feel what they feel, and then encourage them to think carefully about what actions they will do next while being aware of their feelings.
Sidebar: Jesus had all the emotions while on earth that we have too. It’s how we utilize those emotions that matters. We can welcome the feeling(s) and still be in control of our behavior choices.
Recently I told a friend, “Not that you are…but be enraged if you need to be. Use it. Maybe you need a little mad to keep moving. Feel the feels and let them pass through your body. Then get back to work.”
I have found that if I fight the feels, then it takes longer for me to get on track. I have learned to:
- Pause. Allow myself to take a time out when I need it.
- Identify the emotion or emotions.
- Say in acknowledgement “I feel _______ (fill in the blank).”
- Visualize the emotion(s) pass through my body.
- Repeat as needed. Breathe and exhale through the process. Release the pain if needed. Sometimes I thank the emotion for stopping by and for reminding me that I am human.
This process validates rather than fights the feeling.
- Fighting or suppressing emotions derails my time management.
- Validating and identifying an emotion normalizes my feelings and takes much less time to address.
Another time saver is when I pray, “God here is________. Take it. Lead me in the direction I should go.” I am done figuring out anything that my Higher Power can bust through walls and decipher for me.
We have grace for others, we need to have grace for ourselves too. I’m trying to do so anyway. It is hard!
God has adamant love for you. You are not alone.
Proverbs 3:26 …for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
All the above being said, emotions that get in the way ongoing should be addressed with a professional. Be brave and seek help from your doctor or therapist as needed. There is so much power and freedom to be found in tapping into the truth about ourselves.