There is a temptation, I suspect, in any work of self-reflection, to get to a moment when we believe we must overcome our inclination and push forward. I think of this as courage, and certainly it is a necessary tool for transformation.
But we can mess this up terribly when we push aside our feelings simply because we are afraid they will lead us astray. Our feelings count. They aren’t the ONLY thing we count, but to repress them, suppress them or try to deny them is futile work and we can end up sick as a result.
Where do feelings come into play in our work? We start with recognizing and owning them. This allows us to start the journey of handling our feelings in ways that are healthy and appropriate.
In my family of origin, anxious people expressed anxiety and fear as anger. This was the norm. I was a grown up with children of my own before I was able to recognize that what I had called rage and anger and frustration all my life were thin veils for a ton of anxiety and fear.
Much of our work, if we want to grow and change, will require us to come to grips with our own unawareness of our true feelings, learn how to develop healthy and appropriate emotions, and deal responsibly with those that are destructive in ourselves or others.
I hear people in meetings talk about emotional sobriety. This is no small thing.
How have your own emotions hindered your relationships? Have others ever given you feedback about yourself that startled you as it relates to your emotional expressiveness?
Dealing with our emotions may require a supportive team. Perhaps finding one will be part of many of our “to do” lists as well….