Attention Ice Queens: Why feeling your emotions can help you live your best year ever and how to do it
Special guest post by Nicole Finnell
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
There is an awakening happening right now. Can you feel it? We are the generation that has chosen to break away from what has come before us.
Our ancestors found it inappropriate to share emotions. And rightly so as it was often necessary for survival. This lesson in self preservation through silence has been passed down from generation to generation. Maybe you received this lesson through the words of your mother or father saying “don’t cry,” “keep it to yourself,” or the ever classic “buck up.” From mother to daughter, from parent to child, down the line it has persisted. And here we are in 2019 still carrying their scars of silence.
Well, I’ve got news for you sister, in 2019 IT IS HEALTHY TO EXPERIENCE EMOTIONS!! In fact, it is not only healthy it is necessary.
But now what? How do we undo the legacy of unfeeling and the suppression of emotions? We must re-learn ourselves and equip ourselves with the language to authentically express our inner worlds.
Why we need to allow ourselves to feel our emotions (and how to do it).
1. Emotions give us shape, without them we’re flat and boring (Give Your Feelings Names).
Have you ever met someone who speaks in monotone? Or have you ever tried really hard to get someone to just tell you what they are feeling? We get that irritated feeling when dealing with the former or working with the latter, because we are innately made to feel something! So, simply put: feel! Take up the habit of giving your emotions names. Mindfully give yourself space to bring awareness to the situation. Example “I felt enraged when that happened.”
The complexity of feeling(s)
Deciding to sit down and get to know yourself is pretty damn hard, especially at first when we don’t have the words or permission to do so. The complexity of human emotion and interaction can make the whole process seem daunting. We understand that we are no longer just “sad” we are upset, discontent, or unsatisfied. We are not simply “happy” we are joyful, pleased, and elated. Most of the time you’ll be able to do this only after the fact because most of us aren’t hardwired to stop in the middle of conflict to give a name to the circumstance. But do your best to embrace your emotions and then deepen them.
2. Emotions Connect Us (Find Someone to Share Them With).
For those of us who felt that our emotions are burdensome to others, this one can be a challenge, but it is one so worth facing. Emotions connect us, because they are our primary tool for communication. Don’t share your feelings with everyone. But if you find one or two people you trust to confide in, your whole world can change. I dare you to do it.
3. Emotions are mirrors of our inside (Set Time Aside to Reflect on Them).
Reflecting on your emotions seems a lot like #1. Only it goes a lot deeper. In the first example, I asked you to give your emotions names. In this, I ask that you learn the “why” behind your emotions. Real Talk: I constantly felt shut out when my husband would rather play a video game than watch a movie with me. I named these emotions rejection and annoyance. I communicated to him that I was more than just simply “mad”. When I reflect on the “why” I felt rejected by this choice, things got a whole lot deeper. Like “childhood-rejection” deep. Understanding this made me flip my thinking. His actions are not my family’s actions, and his feelings about me are not my family’s feelings about me. Reflecting on this helped me communicate my emotions in a much more positive and progressive way (that’s why I put this reason after #2. It’s all connected!!). Finding the “why” takes time and commitment, but I promise you that you’re worth the time it takes.
4. Showing Emotions leads to better Mental Health (Practice. Practice. Practice).
I am someone who suffers from migraines and anxiety (#endthestigma). So before sitting down to write this morning, I went on a walk around my neighborhood. I knew that if I wanted the mental clarity to offer forth some genuine advice, then I needed to clear my mind of all the negativity that comes with my migraines.
I went years keeping my true emotions bottled up and it landed me in a depressive state swimming in anxiety.If we suppress our feelings long enough, we start to worry that people won’t accept us when we finally do show those emotions. This is a slippery slope that leads to isolation, depression, low self-esteem, and harmful thoughts. If for no other reason than to feel at home in your own mind, I encourage you to embrace your emotions. Forget what you think people will say.
Turn “I’m sorry” into “I have a right to feel this way.” Saying the latter rather than the former has been the biggest game-changer in my life this year. Because you are human, you have reason enough to feel and to feel deeply. So, go on. Do it.
If you have been waiting for permission to fully feel and express your emotions, here it is, from me to you, you have my full permission to feel.
These 4 practices and tools have helped me get in touch with my emotions. I’m learning to be unapologetic for my feelings and I encourage you to join me. The world would be a much more beautiful place if we would each learn to embrace one another’s emotions. But because that seems to be a giant goal (and a bit idealistic/unrealistic), let’s start by learning to embrace our own feeling first. That’s a good first step.
Do you have any other practices or tools for embracing your emotions? Share them below!
Nicole is a 26 year-old finding her way in a topsy-turvy world. She spends much of her time reading mystery/thrillers and the latest published material on culture. She has her MA in Anthropology which helped start her passion for equality, acceptance, and difference among humanity. From there she found her way into body positivity and self-care, forms of which include holistic health, ethical fashion, and nightly meditation. She believes we should all embrace our inner beauty and trust that the rest will follow. Find her on Instagram at: @nicole_lynn_finnell