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Maria Connolly, LPC Facebook Facebook Facebook

Allow Yourself to Feel Your Emotions & You’ll Make Emotional Barriers Disappear

When you allow yourself to feel your emotions, you’ll make emotional roadblocks disappear and feel safe and confident as the real you becomes visible.“You’re so emotional!” That’s what my client, Janine, heard throughout her early years. And you know it wasn’t said as a compliment, but rather as a reprimand. From this and other negative judgments, Janine learned that it’s not good to allow yourself to feel your emotions. Her caregivers taught her that some emotions were “unacceptable”. 

To gain approval and protect herself from being hurt, she started bottling up her feelings. Not only did she become good at hiding her emotions from others, she began to hide them from herself… to the point where she didn’t know what she liked or even who she was anymore!

Have you ever experienced anything like Janine? When you were sad were you told, “Oh, don’t be such a baby!” or when you were angry, did they say, “That’s so ugly. No one is going to like you, if you keep that up little Missy.”

We react strongly to emotions we judge as negative. Emotions like grief, sadness, anger, shame, and fear make us uncomfortable and afraid. When we see them in others, it’s unpleasant, so we try to make them go away.

But here’s the thing…

You can’t shut off some emotions without messing up other emotions. All of your feelings are intertwined. For example, Janine also lost her joy, cheerfulness, and sense of wonder when she shut down around her feelings of insecurity, fear and what her family said was “over-sensitivity” 

However, I saw that Janine was a tender and caring person who had been beaten down by an overbearing, insensitive family. Over time, we were able to help her true self to emerge. It is a joy to see this vibrant woman shine in her community today.

Let Yourself Feel All of Your Feelings

Actually, I see this a lot in my coaching clients. Sometimes, the emotion they want to distance themselves from is anger. Other times, it’s shame or sadness. But in almost every situation, it gets in the way of their lives. 

Yet, when they try to distance themselves from an emotion, they overcompensate and inadvertently create the opposite situation. Take Mia, for another example, a 35 year old Latina client, at the peak of her career – powerful, ambitious, creative. She sought coaching because her boss and colleagues complained she was “too bossy”. She was mortified and confused. Exploring her history, she often remembered feeling scared and powerless against her rageaholic father. She had secretly vowed to never find herself in a situation, in life or work, where she felt defenseless and helpless. Unbeknownst to her she had become controlling and unapproachable, often pushing away friends and teammates.  

Because we’ve been socialized to be afraid to show our emotions, let alone feel our emotions, we owe it to get in touch with our true feelings once again. 

How to skillfully allow yourself to feel your emotions

It is empowering to be connected fully with yourself. To know who you are and to feel so grounded that your body wisdom guides every action toward your long-term goals, purpose and well-being. As Carl Jung stated, “There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”


It’s important to note that emotions drive behavior. Positive, feel-good emotions motivate approach behaviors because they’re rewarding. Negative or threat-perceived emotions motivate avoidance behavior, trying to keep you safe. Feelings are not designed to make us slow down and really feel them. Our brain registers a feeling just long enough to prompt a reflexive action. 

These initial feelings are based on your quick interpretation of the situation, which isn’t very reliable. Your assessment of what’s happening is influenced by many factors beyond the situation itself. Your past experiences and present mood color your perception. If you simply obey the feeling, you may be acting on faulty information.          

Your “Dream Big, Start Small” here’s the one thing you can do today.

Let yourself fully feel your emotions

Identify which of your emotions you avoid noticing. They may be uncomfortable, scary, or unpleasant?, so you try to distract yourself or turn them off. Now begin the acceptance process…

1. Name the emotion.

At first notice the negative or positive tone of the emotion. Then name the specific emotion.

2. Identify body sensations.

How do you sense the feeling in your body? Keep gently bringing your attention back to the physical sensations with the intent to keep mindfully accepting what you are feeling.

3. What’s driving the feeling?

Guide your thoughts gently as you ask yourself, where the emotion is coming from. Remember that your experiences shape your interpretations. Try not to get stuck in a story, analysis, or ruminating about a “scene” in your head. If you notice that you’re blaming yourself or others, this is an avoidance move. See if you can feel the pain without blame.

4. Handle with compassion.

Bring kindness and compassion to what you’re feeling. While your individual experience is unique, you have much in common with others’ pain or desires. This step is about recognizing our common humanity and becoming more nurturing. 

Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through,” and this thought truly applies to feeling your emotions. Use this mindful, somatic approach to feeling your emotions throughout the day, and you’ll find that it becomes easier. I invite you to learn how Somatic Coaching can help you tune into what your body is telling you and how you can give it exactly what it needs when it needs it. Please contact me and schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation to see if we’re a good fit for each other.

Feelings photo by annie pm

emotions, Personal Growth - Professional Growth

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