Feelings and emotions are like waves that naturally rise and fall as they move through us. This natural rising and falling, however, can be interrupted when we resist, suppress, or repress a feeling. The feeling, then, becomes frozen, where it remains locked in our bodies and psyches, unable to dissipate. Now, held below our conscious awareness, it will secretly affect us and may also intensify.
When we do not feel them, we carry them around with us, stuck in mid-cycle and trapped below the surface of our consciousness.
If we do not consciously meet them, how do they affect us?
The discomfort, fear, anger, or sadness, of a repressed emotion bleeds through into our day. We, then, live our lives through this emotional film that dampens our natural expression and experience of life. Living in this way lessens the clarity, joy, and inner peace that we seek.
These repressed emotions can also be the cause of anxiety, depression, and unwanted habits and addictions.
When these unconscious emotions are triggered by something in our experience or when our mind begins to quiet enough through meditation or reflection, they can rise to the surface and may feel overwhelming or alarming. These uncomfortable feelings are really not trying to threaten us, although it can feel that way sometimes, they are just coming into our conscious awareness so they can be felt and, therefore, complete their natural cycle, finally moving out of our experience.
What to do with uncomfortable feelings:
So the answer is simple, right? We just need to sit with and allow ourselves to feel these feelings! But it’s not that easy to do, is it? If feeling our uncomfortable emotions will help us feel better, why is it so difficult?
The reason it’s so hard for us to sit with discomfort is because of an instinctual biological safety mechanism. To protect this human organism. We are biologically programmed to move away from that which feels uncomfortable or painful. This mechanism also works to protect the ego that may interpret uncomfortable feelings as a threat to one’s self-identity. Sometimes this biological programing works for us….sometimes it works against our greater good.
So, sitting with these feelings, like doing other important things in life that require us to tolerate discomfort, takes a conscious decision, some focus, and, even some courage. It can also be helpful to have some assistance in identifying, exploring, and working through them.