We’ve all experienced feeling too much, but not feeling anything can be concerning too. In order to cope with what life throws at you, sometimes it’s just easier not to feel anything at all. There are times when it’s okay, or even necessary, to shut-off as a form of self-preservation. But while it can be hard to start feeling again, there are things we can do to make this process a little easier.
When we numb ourselves, we don’t just shut out the unwanted emotions, we shut out all emotion. We cannot selectively cut out sadness or grief and have the ability to feel joy or gratitude. Emotions are a strong force that give us the energy, desire and motivation to take part in life. When we resist feeling emotion we risk being numb to life.
Emotions are meant to be expressed in one form or another. When something is funny – you laugh, when something is sad – you cry. Emotions are supposed to be expressed FROM you, and when they are suppressed that energy stays IN you. Think about what you have to do to your body to resist bursting out laughing if something funny happens at a peaceful church service. Unconsciously we do the same thing when we try to avoid feeling any unwanted emotions.
Notice what happens to you, and within you, in response to a particular situation or circumstance. When you are conscious of what is happening to your body you get great insight into yourself and your comfort zone.
If you want to get a deeper understanding of yourself, become aware of what you sense physically and emotionally in your body. Without judgement, observe what happens within your body while you are in a particular situation. Notice the level of tension in your muscles and the type of posture you display. Could your physical reaction be telling you something about yourself? Notice what is happening to your thoughts in a given circumstance. Often, when we are uncomfortable with a situation we find it very difficult to keep our focus. Our mind tends to wander to anything that takes us away from that uneasy feeling. If you notice your mind drifting away from the situation at hand, ask yourself “What about this situation is causing me to feel vulnerable or uncomfortable?”
Once we develop an awareness of what we do to ourselves to avoid feeling we can choose to allow ourselves to stop shutting down. Emotions shape every area of our lives, they provide us with the energy and motivation to experience life. When we allow ourselves to open up and experience those emotions we gain insight into ourselves and life gets exciting.
“Suppressing what we feel suffocates the soul and minimizes life’s experiences.” – Dr. Julie Doobay
Copyright Dr. Julie Doobay 2019