Blocking our feelings often happens as a result of telling ourselves that we should or should not feel a certain way. When we have feelings, we’re sometimes ashamed of them and instead of sharing, we try to talk ourselves out of having them. Talking ourselves out of having feelings is denying their existence and denial doesn’t lead to happiness.
Identifying and processing our feelings starts with the admission of their existence. Once we’re aware that they’re there, we can work on our coping method. Telling ourselves feelings don’t exist or that we’re not entitled to them eliminates our opportunity to create a coping method. We don’t need to cope with a problem we don’t have.
Expressing our feelings is hard because we don’t always know why we feel the way we feel and sometimes we believe the expression needs to come with an explanation as well. But it doesn’t. We notice our feelings. We discover them. It’s ok to feel a way about something without knowing why. Talking about the feeling can help us find the why and it can help us determine what it is that we need to help us process the feeling.
Many of us struggle with the need to explain why we have feelings. Others have challenged our feelings in the past which can lead to defensive behaviors and a lack of ability to be vulnerable with our feelings. But feelings don’t have explanations, and they can be shared, validated, and processed anyway.
How do we explain why we love our children? How do we explain why we like rainbows? Feelings simply aren’t explainable. They exist and we communicate them and we ask people to care. Some people will care and some won’t. People who don’t choose to care about your feelings can cause you to feel unhappy and unsafe. Identifying that we have feelings because we’re humans and desiring support from other humans is natural and healthy.
Happiness is a result of fulfillment that stems directly from getting what we need. We need people to care about our feelings.
Communicating our needs is about identifying our feelings and telling people that we have them.
Maintaining happiness is a result of surrounding ourselves with people who choose to care and choose to work through our feelings with us.
Feelings don’t always come from a healthy mindset and we should be open to emotional evolution, but never as a result of someone else rejecting our feelings.
A healthy community of people will acknowledge the existence of your feelings and respect the communication that needs to occur in an effort to reach stable ground.
For example, I have an unrealistic fear that I will be cheated on as a result of childhood experiences. I communicate this concern to my husband often and he helps alleviate my fears. My feelings are not a result of his actions or his behavior, but they do exist. He could view them as “not his problem” and he could shame me into keeping them to myself but he instead chooses to help me.
Resolving feelings alone causes us to feel lonely. My husband doesn’t have to adopt my feelings but he acknowledges that I have them. The more he listens and offers to help, the more I’m able to naturally trust him and the less anxious I feel about abandonment in general.
Boundaries help us determine who can and cannot be a part of our care community. We all need people who choose to care about us.