How to successfully avoid the feelings you don't like!
Well, I know it’s something many of us try very hard to do, yes?
No one, even the most enlightened ones really likes feeling useless, incompetent, nasty, selfish, angry, the list could be endless and also unique to each one of us. We all have emotions we don’t want to feel or acknowledge in ourselves because they bring up deeper emotions and experiences like shame, or self-loathing, or unworthiness. Again the list is very personal.
So what’s the best way to avoid feeling these?
Well there are plenty of strategies to do this and I’ll list a few of the most common ones..
1 Put the focus outside of yourself
This is easy - you can blame someone else by shouting at them or accusing them of something either related or unrelated. Either way - your focus will not be on the feeling you are trying to avoid and that will feel better.
2 Tense your body up
Also something I got pretty good at as a kid. Tighten your neck, make your neck and spine as rigid as you can. That usually helps to keep the emotion in, to bury it. Some people are better that this than others, you need to practice.
3 Pretend you don’t experience that emotion
This also takes some practice, but you all know the person who says “I’m not an angry kind of person”. She or he will have practised that statement so many times, they will honestly believe it
Do you Really Want to Do this?
So if you’re still reading, you’re either really interested in not feeling the more negative emotions, or you kinda realise there might be some benefit in feeling them.
The thing is, we are all capable of feeling and being every single emotion you can name. Our body’s are chock full of emotional receptors (the brain, the gut, the heart, the spine in particular) and they are there for a reason. Feeling is hugely important both for keeping us safe - you need to know when you are threatened, but also for the greatest human need which is connection to others. When you start denying your emotions, you are denying part of you and that often creates separation between you and others.
If you blame whenever you get uncomfortable, those close to you will find it hard to be close to you and you will not get the opportunity to be vulnerable, open and connect to the deeper, wounded parts of you that need healing and need to be loved.
If you deny that parts of you are angry for example, you may never develop the muscle of anger, and when it’s appropriate to be angry you may not know how, or be so scared or overwhelmed that you either get angry in a totally over the top way, or just don’t get angry at all and events pass that could have been positively influenced by your anger.
And if you hold all your emotions in your body and deny their existence, your body will tense up over time, get stiff, inflexible and in many cases painful. It’s not a pleasant state to be in and you will either end up full of pain killers or investing significant amounts of time and money on physical therapies to help unwind and unblock that pain. And eventually you’ll feel all the emotions you suppressed anyway.
So through my work I have found two amazing methodologies that help you to connect to and to express your emotions more effectively. The first is Network Spinal Analysis, which is the main modality I use to work on people. As the spine and nervous system unwinds, locked up emotions are often released spontaneously and as the nervous system returns to a state of safety it becomes ok to express, where previously it was unacceptable or unsafe.
The second is Somato-Respiratory Integration - a series of simple bodywork exercises that enable you to connect to what is going on in your body, and to “unpack” that which you have stored away. In particular i find stages 1 and 2 help people most to connect emotionally, but actually all of the exercises can trigger/release emotions as you become more proficient.
So find something that works for you, and know that as your emotional range increases, so will your experience of living. And that’s what it’s all about really - living authentically.