Feelings are often misunderstood, and a lot of effort goes into distracting our kids and even sometimes ourselves from our feelings. When we can create the space for our own feelings and our kids’ feelings or the feelings of our loved ones, we actually create more opportunity for healing to happen. I’m Rebecca Thompson Hitt and this is the All Relationships Can Heal Podcast. Today is Time-In Tuesday and we’re talking about feelings and what they have to do with healing.
We’ve been exploring my 8 guiding principles and today we’re ready for guiding principle #6.
Principle #6- All individuals have a right and responsibility to learn to express their feelings appropriately. Feelings allow us to connect to our internal guidance system.
We all need to learn how to handle our feelings, how to express what is going on inside of us, and to communicate our feelings to someone else without hurting ourselves or anyone else. Many of us have learned unhealthy patterns of expressing (or not expressing) feelings. We need to learn how to do that if we haven’t learned it already. Our loved ones may not know how to do it, either. That may be because they are children and they’re learning or with someone who is older who was taught that feelings aren’t ok or that inappropriate expressions are ok.
Feelings are normal and healthy. They help us know when something isn’t right and when things are good. And feelings are a huge part of healing our relationships. We connect with each other in the healing space through our feelings, not just our heads and thoughts. When we can align our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, and integrate our experiences with one another, healing happens.
Feelings are a primary ingredient in our attachment relationships, which are patterns in our relationships that began when we were in our first year of life. How our feelings were handled as young children has a big impact on what we expect in our relationships and what we expect of ourselves with regard to showing or sharing our feelings and how we feel about others showing or sharing their feelings.
What do you think of when you think of feelings and appropriate expression? Do you hold your feelings back in certain situations or with certain people? Why?
The relationships where our feelings are safe and we can be vulnerable tend to be the safest relationships we have. When it isn’t safe to share or express our feelings or when there aren’t appropriate boundaries with regards to the expression of our feelings and we hurt others, it isn’t a healthy relationship. When a relationship isn’t healthy, healing is needed and it’s best that we start with our own feelings.
Creating a safe space for feelings doesn’t mean that you have to listen to everyone’s feelings all the time. However, when a relationship needs healing, consider starting with creating space for your own feelings or finding someone who can really listen to your feelings and see what shifts. Healing Story Circles, as mentioned in yesterday’s podcast, can be a great place to start to find a safe space for your feelings. Finding someone, perhaps your partner or a friend, who can listen to you and your feelings, creating a safe space where you clearly request they don’t try to solve the problem, but just give you space to share. Some people are better at this than others, depending upon their own early experiences. Conversely, you can also use James Pennebaker’s research to write about an experience you had including your thoughts and feelings about what happened. I would also add what you’re feeling in your body. His research found that those who wrote only about their thoughts didn’t feel any better than those who didn’t. Those who wrote about only their feelings felt worse, and those who wrote about their thoughts and feelings felt better and improved on every measure of health and well-being they looked at, and that the benefits lasted for at least 6 months. This writing was only 10 minutes a day for a week, if I recall, so not a long-term situation. It really underscores the importance of including your thoughts AND feelings as part of your healing.
So today, can you take 10 minutes for yourself and your feelings? Whether you find someone who feels safe enough for you to share something or you take 10 minutes and write about your thoughts and feelings, take a time-in for yourself and see how it feels to you. And please share your experience with me. I’d love to hear!
I’m Rebecca Thompson Hitt and you’ve been listening to the All Relationships Can Heal Podcast. I’ll be back tomorrow for Wisdom Wednesday and Respectful Boundaries. Talk to you then!