This is the third of a series of articles about self-care.
Does anxiety, stress, frustration, and overwhelm seem like a norm? Making space for our emotions can allow us to feel, connect, and open up to ourself and life.
Do we block feeling our emotions?
It’s important to notice if we’ve numbed out or blocked our ability to feel our emotions. We may have learned by example that the way to get things done is to block our feelings. Or, we may have learned that expressing emotions was not safe, so we blocked our ability to feel.
Why bother feeling?
Emotions are part of life, and are meant to be felt. If we block our ability to feel, we aren’t present to fully experience ourself, others, and life. When we don’t feel, we aren’t fully present to what is really happening, inside and outside. When we block our feelings, we also block ourself from empathizing and experiencing other people’s feelings. And, we block our ability to connect with ourself and others. The results of blocking our feelings may look like this—we may avoid eye contact, be boastful or use addictions to mask our feelings. Blocking our feelings may sound like superficial conversations about the weather instead of saying how we really feel. And blocking our feelings may feel deeply lonely, since no one can connect with our feelings, not even ourself.
Express, explode, or implode.
As the famed founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud said, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later, in uglier ways.” Emotions are energy, and need to be expressed. If we block and do not express our emotions, they will either explode towards another (eg. road rage) or implode towards ourself (eg. depression).
One way to express our emotions is to fully feel them.
We often think that expressing emotions means doing something physical, like talking, dancing, painting, laughing, crying, etc. However, feelings can also be expressed by acknowledging, accepting and feeling them inside our body. For example, we can express love by acknowledging, accepting and feeling the warmth and openness of love in our heart. We can express sadness by feeling the welling up of tears. We can express anger by feeling heat and pressure. We can express delight by feeling ease and fun. We can express joy by feeling light and excited.
How can we feel safe to feel our emotions?
If we’re ready to unblock, free up and feel our emotions, we need to experience a non-judgmental space of love and support.
What is a safe space?
When we talk about a safe space, we might think about physical space, such as a patio, a room or a place in nature. While it’s true that those are safe spaces, space can be non-physical too. A safe space can also be a quiet place where we focus our presence within us, a place which has no thought, noise, or audible sound. For the sake of this message, we’ll call that safe and quiet place, inner space.
Inner space is a great “place” to learn and grow.
To fully know our emotions, we need an adequate amount of both physical outer space and inner space. Having a safe, physical space allows us to feel safe enough to not focus upon what’s happening outside of us. It also allows us to feel safe enough to feel the emotions that are happening within us. Having a safe, inner space allows us to feely feel what is within. If we don’t have an adequate amount of both outer and inner space, we will be too unsettled to fully experience our emotions.
Learning to make a safe space is unique to each of us.
How can we allow and create a safe * space * for us to fully feel our emotions?
Below are six steps I take, or discover your own:
- See space as a gift. Having space does not mean that I am lazy or doing something wrong. Space is a gift I give myself. It is equally valuable to me as togetherness with others, and it’s more valuable to me than things.
- See silent space as an opportunity. When I began this process many years ago, I was afraid of silence and what I might find there. Now, I know silent space as the surest way to meet and learn about myself and life.
- Select a peaceful physical place. I choose to be in nature or a quiet, comfortable place in my home or hotel room if I am traveling.
- Protect the inner space from distractions. I do this by turning off my phone, and announcing to my thoughts that I am “off” now and will address them when I am finished.
- Honor the space with love. I treat my safe space with love. I recognize that it allows me to receive understanding and guidance. Like a temple, I feel, speak, and sign my praises and thanks, filling the space with honor and reverence!
- Honor myself with love. I do so by observing and caring for myself, rather than judging myself or the process. I also say these three affirmations before I begin, “I do matter. I am worth listening to. I am important.”
Rather than avoiding emotions …
We can create a caring, safe, inner-place to care for ourself. By doing so, we neither look to others, nor lean on them, to care for our emotions. This allows us to feel noticed, appreciated, respected and cared about, by ourself. And, by caring for ourself rather than looking for others to care for us, we can simply share love with others, rather than needing something from them.
I encourage you, to make space for the peace and safety of self-care. By doing so, you will always know that somebody cares.
To process and explore your thoughts and emotions, our 11 new journals, are now available to purchase!
Let’s meet! Join me LIVE next Sunday February 6th in Knoxville, TN!
Always with Love,