It’s Okay to Feel
I have spent a lot of time in my life trying to understand emotions. How and why I, and people around me, process emotions. Why can one situation seem like no big deal to one person, but completely send another person off the edge, plummeting into feelings of sadness, anger, or guilt?
My instinct most of my life has been to suppress emotions – I never had enough time, constantly moving and not stopping to pause. I could deal with these disruptive feelings later. I’ll just keep my head down and keep moving forward…I have been making a conscious effort to address my emotions as they come up the last few years, to sit with them, slow down, understand, and process. We can ask ourselves and reflect on why we have a particular emotional reaction. How are our emotions affecting those around us? Each one of us has our own story that shapes us and our emotional reactions.
I’ve been hearing over and over again, in yoga classes and from people I deeply respect, this concept of being less reactive. While I was mediating on this idea of sitting with my emotions, it clicked for me what being “less reactive” means, at least my interpretation–Slow down, reflect, dive deeply into your emotions, and you will likely be more peaceful and empathetic to yourself and others. We are so quick with everything we do in this day and age, including with rash reactions, not taking time to see and process the whole story and have compassion for the other people and their stories involved in a situation. Our world is full of hardship and hate, we could use a whole lot more compassion.
About a year ago, someone told me “stress is a choice”. At the time, I remember thinking at the time WHAT are you talking about? Why would I choose to feel like that? But I get it now, or I think I do. It is our choice to let things get under our skin and stress us out. It is within our power to not have that reaction. Obviously much easier said than done, coming from my own experience of being highly stressed out more often than not. But again, emotions are our reactions to situations. We can notice and change that reaction if we want to. No one can make us feel a certain way.
Our body manifests our emotional reactions physically. The constant tightness in my shoulders and neck are a result of years and years of holding onto my emotions and not really letting myself feel them. Observe and feel how particular emotions manifest in your body. This whole idea came back to me this morning while I was running. I noticed I was feeling anxiety from not sleeping well for nights on end (so says the data from my FitBit). I sat (AKA ran) with this anxiety. Running is my moving meditation. 🙂 I suddenly felt so exhausted, having to slow down and walk, letting the anxiety reverberate through my body. Why was knowing I was lacking in sleep causing me anxiety? At that moment, I chose to not let it. If I wasn’t feeling completely exhausted all the time, why did this number my Fitbit was spitting out really matter?
I invite you to sit with your emotions. When you get in an argument with someone in your life, take a step back, breathe, and analyze your emotions. Ask yourself, why am I reacting this way? Am I being highly reactive because of some trigger from my past? How is my reaction affecting other involved? How does it feel in my body? Your emotions are always completely justified, but it is definitely an interesting exercise to practice to go within and reflect on them.
May you have a life overflowing with positive emotions 🙂 Namaste