"get rid of your emotions"
"calm your hormones"
"getting upset gets you nothing"
"push harder, keep going, suck it up"
"don't let them win by seeing you cry"
"don't air your dirty laundry, keep it positive"
Have you heard one of these before? Have you dished out one of these to a loved one before? I am going to assume both are true. They are for me. Oh are they ever. How I embodied these statements and adopted them as true. Until I couldn't anymore. Until I learned that feeling my feelings was the way out.
Ever heard the saying, the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek? I have feared my emotions since I was a little girl. Push em down I told myself. I grew up in an era where little girls needed to act like boys to get respect. I grew up with conditioning that made me believe that my feminine side was weak, unattractive, and no man would ever want me if I was emotional or was sensitive or a deep thinker. So I pushed, and pushed and pushed it all down.
I would write poems, journal, and share my thoughts and feelings with myself. I always wanted to be a writer. Once in a while I would muster the courage to share my written words and feelings with outsiders. Sometimes it was met with love, sometimes I was told to get rid of my emotions.
It's no wonder I pursued a career in a male-dominated industry in construction. I've been trying to be "one of them." But I can't be. I am feminine as hell. I can' pretend anymore to be strong or brave at the sacrifice of feeling my feelings. That's betrayal of self. Research shows that being allowed to feel our feelings is the way we heal, evolve, and become healthier, whole versions of ourselves.
In fact, I tried, to push my emotions down for so long that when I started working with a life coach I felt paralyzed when she requested certain things of me in our work together. One of the things she asked me to do was an energy exercise where I would tap into my pain, (whether it was a bad day, or a deeply rooted pain), and take a deep breath and let out a LOUD noise. Like a primal sound, a roar, whatever needed to be let out. I couldn't do it. I would giggle, smile and look away from her. She's based in New York and so this was all done virtually but I still felt so uncomfortable looking her in the eye during this. It took me a few months to be able to do this exercise. She kept working with me on it. When I would try to make the sound, I felt a deep pain in my throat area, as if I was stuck and unable to speak. It physically hurt my body to hold the sound in but I struggled so much to feel comfortable enough in my own body, in my self, to do this.
I realized that not feeling comfortable having my emotions, contributed to feeling like I had no voice and physically could not even use it. Taking up space and making noise was almost impossible for me and took a lot of work to tap into this. So if you are a parent, whether you have a son or a daughter, really think before you ask them to trap their emotions in their bodies. Is it your own fear of your feelings, that causes you to ask them to hide theirs? You have the power to change the world, by breaking this cycle that has been passed down for generations.
This past summer I had a major meltdown. The mother of all meltdowns. It's like all of my other adult tantrums (yes adults have these too), could fit inside this one, epic meltdown. I was tired. Tired of pursuing others visions of me. Tired of holding my emotions in. During this epic meltdown I was standing, threw my arms into the air, took a deep in breath, and my arms came down to my sides with a powerful force and my whole body bent downwards, and at the same time, out came the loudest primal noise I have ever made. I am pretty sure the entire island that our cottage resides on heard my roar. It felt like an exorcism was taking place. All the demons, pent up emotions, the doing, the achieving, the pain, was coming out in that roar.
I'll leave you with this. The advice I had to give myself after years of holding it all in. Let it air. Air it all out. Get it out. Feel it. Never be ashamed of your feelings. You do not owe keeping it all together to anyone else. Let out a loud sigh, a groan, any noise that wants to come out. You will feel better after. If it takes you months like I did, that's ok. Work at it. If you can get it out right away, I bow to you friend. You're here, doing the work. And to the men, you are also allowed to feel. This isn't weakness, in fact it is my belief that it makes you braver to be able to show up in your feelings, and heal.
Here's to your whole self coming online.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” Rumi.