After my mindfulness practice on Tuesday morning I decided to lay down and be alone with my thoughts. No reading, no music, no social media, just my thoughts. I think sitting in silence is a really important act; because it’s healthy to try and get to know yourself on an emotional and spiritual level, and I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that some of us stay on the move because we are probably running from ourselves. We refuse to sit and do nothing, because we get antsy. This may be true, but the truth is, most of us don’t like feeling our feelings. I have met people who said they have no problems burying their feelings and if they need to, they will push it down further and further. But how healthy is that? In my mind I picture a container that’s overly stuffed until it finally explodes. And explosions comes in different forms. It could mean taking it out on someone else, it could mean being co-dependent, it could mean being controlling, it could mean over eating, abusing alcohol, and any other forms of substance abuse in order to cope.
I like to unpack my feelings because it makes me feel better. That’s it! I like to know what’s going on so I can make sense of why I feel or react the way I do when my reaction is outside my norm. Especially if I feel like I’m being a bitch to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Some of you may not feel like you need to do this. But the question still remains; are your intentional (or non-intentional) reactions to not acknowledging your feelings; flooding out in other areas of your lives? And I mean flooding out in an unhealthy way. This is something to think about. I want to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you tell all your business to everyone (I do believe in boundaries). I just feel like we all need a healthy vessel to express ourselves and make sense of what we feel because we all feel, even if you don’t agree with that last statement, you still feel. We’re human and alive, we’re going to feel.
In order for us too unpack our feelings, I think we need to understand what it means too unpack. The dictionary defines unpacking in this context as “to analyze something into its component elements.” Component is defined as “constituting part of a larger whole.” There are other definitions to these words but these are the definitions that are relevant to my particular argument. When I unpack, I do as the definition says. I try to figure out what the bigger issue is and from there it gives me a better understanding of why I feel the things that I feel, which causes me to wonder why I react a certain way towards others. This so important to me because I know that some of those reactions (or behaviors) don’t align with who I am as a person.
Define The Whole–what’s up? what’s going on? and where or what is the main source of this? Sitting in silence works for me but for some people journaling or venting might be their best outlet. Maybe other sources like listening to music or playing an instrument may work for you. The goal is to try and find the root cause so you can analyze it. Once you figure this out, some of you may want to sit with it for a while (a few days or so) before you start to do a deeper dive. I think this is especially important if your root cause is something that you were not expecting or something that you knew was true, but have been in denial about it for awhile. And this is okay, you’re human, not perfect.
Assess The Parts–this is where I go even deeper. Meaning, I try to figure out why I feel those feelings. In some cases it may be something that you just don’t want to admit. For example, jealousy, envy, insecurity, imposter syndrome, etc. Because some of those feelings are the ones we don’t usually like to admit. But once you assess these parts, you now have a better understanding of why you feel the way that you do, and you will likely think before you react instead of simply acting on impulse and blaming the other person for your behavior. Let me tell you, this takes a great deal of growth but once you get there, humbly give yourself credit because not everyone is at this level yet.
Implement The Strategies–so now what? right? This is when you ask yourself; what works for me? And what do I need to do? Maybe it’s meditation (this works for me), writing, setting boundaries and taking a step back from people, reading, music, etc. The purpose is to help you find an outlet that will help you cope until you get back to where you need to be. This also means feeling your feelings when they arise instead of denying them. It’s okay to temporarily feel hurt, it’s okay to be unhappy, upset, etc. because these are all normal human emotions. We are not meant to be happy all the time. Being happy all the time is not normal and it’s probably a bit unhealthy because it means you’re trying to cover something you don’t want to feel. The great thing about implementing strategies is, when these (or similar) problems arise (and they will), you’ll be better equipped to handle it.
This is barely the tip of the iceberg because I don’t have all the answers but hopefully this gives you a bit of a start. Depending on how ingrained your troubles are, you may need to seek professional help. It may also take time for you to get to the point where you can go through theses three methods. It may also take some time to get from method one to two, or from method two to three. I mentioned earlier that I’m comfortable sitting in silence, no matter how uncomfortable the process of doing so is. Because unlike some people, I can’t bury my feelings, and I can’t intentionally walk around feeling pain. Especially if I know I can do something about it. I find growth in discomfort. I work through it to figure out the message and I also know that in some instances, there are no messages. Sometimes feelings, just are and that’s it. But I don’t think you’ll know this unless you do the work to get there. It’s tough, but again….self-growth; which is far more important. Keep that mindset, throughout your journey; self-growth is far more important.
Let’s Chat! How do you unpack your feelings. Share so others can learn.
- Instagram: @selfcareatforty
- Twitter: @playingblogger and @naturaldo
- Pinterest: @tam33ks