One of the most destructive things we can do is to completely ignore our emotions.
I should know, since for the better half of 12 years of dealing with my “incurable” condition I was completely checked out emotionally. It’s something I run across all the time with clients as well. “How do you feel about the fact that your husband cheated on you?” or “Tell me how you are doing about not being able to see your child again?”. Many times the answer will be “Oh, I think I’ve come to terms with that” or “I don’t see how it’s related to my physical problems”. Our emotions are the barometer for what is life-affirming and what is deadening – literally. For many unfortunately, allowing themselves to feel deeply and express those feelings is frightening or at least challenging. Why is that and what can you do about it?
Quite often these patterns were set in childhood. All parents set some sort of display rules around emotions – what, where, and when emotional displays are appropriate or not. This can lead to an adult feeling a lack of full emotional expression.
Ask yourself these questions adapted from the book, the Curse of the Good Girl
1. Were there certain emotions that were discouraged or considered off-limits in your childhood home?
2. When you were growing up what was your family’s attitude towards vulnerable emotions? Was it “stiff upper lip”?
3. What was your family’s attitude towards certain emotions associated with conflict? For instance, was anger freely expressed?
4. How often do you share your feelings, especially the challenging ones? If you tend to keep your feelings to yourself, why? What’s the fear? Where did you learn to do this?
5. (For Women) How does the pressure on women to be caregivers (selfless, kind, etc) influence the range of emotions you express?
6. Do you question, minimize, or degrade your emotions?
Interesting insights? At it’s best, EFT is a brilliant process for getting more in touch with your feelings, allowing you to notice them fully, and being able to release them. If we all felt free enough to move through powerful emotions, not disconnecting or getting lost in them, we would be healthier and happier.