Why Feeling Is Freedom
We intuitively know it’s good to feel our feelings; and that holding back our feelings is both psychologically and physically unhealthy. Repressed feeling creates tension, stress, and anxiety in our bodies, and over time it can lead to chronic pain and even disease.
And when we're unwilling to express our feelings directly, consciously, they'll inevitably come out sideways, distorted, as projections of blame and judgment -- usually toward those who we love most.
And in these moments we can do real harm. Think about the pain you experienced when you were in a vulnerable position, especially as a child, when people took their shit out on you.
“Blame is the discharge of discomfort and pain.” - Brene Brown
When we hold onto pain and resentment, energy builds in our system until we can no longer tolerate it. Needing to discharge, we look for a target, someone or something to project this frustration onto. And then we rationalize it: "They wrong. They’re bad. They deserve it!” There may be some truth in it, but what’s motivating the impulse is an unconscious shadow desire for revenge and retribution.
We all do it. Because all of us experienced varying degrees of trauma as children. And the feelings from that trauma live inside us until we find the courage to face and feel it. Until then, we're living in the past, governed by unresolved emotions bound-up in our bodies.
Fear of feeling is fear of life.
If you are unwilling to feel what’s inside you, you cannot be free. You will unconsciously construct an entire belief system to avoid the discomfort of these feelings and then find ways to blame others because you’re not getting what you want.
To be fully engaged in life means risking heartbreak, disappointment, failure, betrayal, and humiliation. If you refuse to expose yourself to these feelings you deny the fullness of life and all its possibilities.
Life is messy and often out of control. Our work is to learn to tolerate what comes up inside us when we face difficulty, challenge, and disappointing. When we let go of blame, we are no longer victims of circumstances or slaves to emotional reactivity.
"Be With" Your Feelings.
It’s challenging work. It requires that we take full responsibility for our lives, forgive those who wronged us, be willing to feel our pain and grief, and take ownership of our attachment to negativity.
This takes discipline and practice. But over time, you'll learn to sit with these uncomfortable feelings, be present with them, and let the energy move through your body in the safety of the container you’ve created for yourself.
This is real power. You’re in the truth of your experience. You’re not hiding or defending anything. You’re open, exposed, unashamed, fully alive, meeting life without any need to control it, or any demand that it be anything other than what it is.
This is a state of fearless.
Because if you’re not afraid to feel, what are you’re actually afraid of?