We all have experienced traumatic events in our lives. Not only do big things happen, like a sudden loss, illness, or a breakup. Sometimes difficulties can come in little pieces that, by accumulation, make us feel overwhelmed, out of balance, and unable to connect with joy. Constant pressure at work, problems in relationships, financial stress, physical pain… who is not living at least one of these situations or something similar?
When it seems that it is too painful to feel what is happening in our lives, we want to make it disappear. We often tell everyone we are all right, but we feel miserable and carry on with our lives the best way we can. We try to avoid facing all we don’t want to feel because we believe the problem is too big. We run away from the fear, heartache, or pain, we intensely feel. But it is stored in our minds and bodies, and reappears from time to time.
There are strategies to go through these periods when things feel like more than we can face. Observe yourself and see if you are using any escape mechanism or are distracting yourself, to avoid facing the life situations you have in front of you. Is it working? What will help you resolve your problems, in the long run, is connecting with your body and the pain it stores, and investigating the story you have in your mind about these events. Approach it, even if it is little by little. And then allow all of it to be released.
Maybe you have been controlling the pain for many years, trying to be sure it doesn’t reappear on the surface of your life. Perhaps you locked it away a long time ago in a safety box and thought you would never have to see it again. But whatever is affecting you, even if it is very old pain, will not disappear because you ignore it; just the opposite. The more you ignore it, the harder it will try to get to you. Love yourself enough to help yourself to heal.
Soothe yourself, be kind and understanding towards yourself, and nurture yourself, if you want to support yourself in your healing. But what happens when our lives don’t go as we want or we face serious problems? We tell ourselves: it is my fault. Doing that adds pain to what we are already experiencing. We dislike who we are or our life, because we blame ourselves for not knowing how to resolve the situation we are in. Now we have two problems: the inner sense of shame, guilt, or frustration, plus the pain we are experiencing.
Become aware of what is happening to you. Do it, but don’t inflict more pain on yourself. To resolve any challenge in life, the first step is to add more Love to the situation. Love includes the acceptance of whatever is happening, the time to process it, the releasing, the forgiveness, the treating yourself with care, the asking for help if it is necessary. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be your own friend, not your enemy. There is no problem big enough that it cannot be solved with more Love towards yourself and your life. Love is a great cure for situations of all kinds.
Help yourself to go through tough times. Healing is a process. We all have thorns stuck in our hearts, hurts, and disappointments. Love is a powerful force and your ally in facing pain. Whatever you want to change in your life, it can be transformed. But the solution to face the pain you are looking for is not out there, but inside yourself.
The more you trust your goodness and innate power and connect with them, the faster you will be able to resolve what you are facing and move forward. You cannot make the events that happened to you disappear, but you can give yourself the opportunity to use them to transform yourself and become more resilient and stronger. Remember that, like the Phoenix Bird, you have within you the power of regeneration and wherewithal to heal and be new again.
”To heal is to touch with love that which we previously touched with fear”
We tend to look at ourselves with critical eyes. When we want to change any aspect of our lives or ourselves, we do it from a perspective of not being good enough, obligation, pressure, or because we dislike ourselves. Often, we are judgmental and very strict with ourselves, trying to change things by working harder, sacrificing more, and suffering.
I propose a different plan. Look at yourself with a sense of appreciation. Recognize your value. Observe yourself through loving eyes. Look at what is happening inside you. Just look without judgment, and try to understand who you are, what you think and feel, why you do or don’t do things, or what makes you react. Discover yourself.
We judge reality as well. Pay attention to how many times per day you complain when reality doesn’t fit with the concept you have of it, or things don’t go the way you want. Observe what makes you feel frustration or sadness, what things take you out of balance or put you in a bad mood.
Look at all this material with curiosity and understanding. Don’t be hard on yourself for being where you are or what you consider mistakes, flaws, imperfections, or faults. Be there, totally, without complaining or judging the world around or inside you.
Let’s suppose that you are trying to help someone who is having health problems. You know that they can do more to get better, and you would like this person to take responsibility for their health, but it is not what is happening.
You are supportive, patient, caring, and loving, until a moment when, unexpectedly, you explode for a little thing. At that moment, you tell this person that they have to change their behavior and put more effort into healing, that you are not going to witness this anymore. You speak to this person with an angry tone and are very distant from the Love you feel for her. Something happened within you.
If you look at yourself, you will see what triggered you, why you reacted and created a scene, how much emotion you have accumulated, your fear of losing this person you Love in action, the need to express your feelings, the frustration and powerlessness you have been hiding, and more. If you observe what is going on within you, you will learn so much about yourself and how you go through life. That’s the important thing here. To understand yourself a bit more every day.
If you react, get angry and lose your temper, it is okay. You are human. You can forgive yourself, release whatever happened, apologize if you want to, or let it go and continue with your life. But pay attention, because I can assure you that a similar event will happen to you very soon. If you have learned from the last experience, things may unfold differently. If not, you may end up reacting the same way. Life will give you many opportunities to learn and practice.
Suspending the need to react will offer you time to observe yourself and choose your response. Observe your thoughts rising, your emotions in full action, you showing to yourself what you are experiencing at that exact moment. Why is this important? Because if you can see it, and it is not the experience you want to have, you can do something about it. Once you are aware, you can decide. You have the power to choose.
You can take a breath and observe yourself in any situation you experience. This will allow you to become a different you. You may not have control over the feelings you experience, but you can always choose how you respond to life and its events.
An instant reaction may be something you have learned, a pattern. You can change It with a little bit of awareness and practice. But only if you realize that you have the power to do it. Only if you observe with compassion and understanding what is happening within you, catch yourself when you react, and choose to be more loving, understanding, and patient with yourself and others.
"The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness"
So many things happen during the day that affect you. Some days, there are so many that you don’t even have the time to process them. We accumulate emotions that have not been lived. We go from one thing to the next, and we may think what we don’t have the time, or space, to feel an emotion the moment that it shows up.
We suppress our emotions because we believe that we cannot afford to pay attention to them; we have to be ok, all the time. We ignore our feelings and they keep accumulating, like letters in the mail. The problem is that these ignored feelings affect us, physically and emotionally, whether we want them to or not.
In other cases, we act as if nothing had happened because we are afraid that if we react or say something, we will create a bigger problem or an argument, and we decide to forget it, trying to make the emotion disappear, unsuccessfully. Or we feel that we don’t have the right to respond to an emotion, and we just silence ourselves, or stop expressing our thoughts and feelings, even to the point of losing our voice, or becoming disconnected from ourselves.
Any of the above sound familiar? How many times have you swept your feelings under the rug and have moved on with your life? These unheard and unfelt emotions create emotional toxins. And just like you take a shower to clean your body every day, you should find a way to do the same with all the emotional stuff accumulated. Journal about what you experience and what you feel, reflect on it while you walk, meditate, or just release what happened, and forgive yourself or others, if necessary.
Find a way to let go of emotions that works for you, but be with them first. Emotions don’t want to be forgotten, they want to be heard. By looking at them you will learn more about yourself, what triggers you, and how you react when faced with certain events. This awareness will create a space where you will be able to see the emotion coming to you and, deliberately, decide how to respond to the experience, even when you are feeling deeply. Like when you are angry, and you know it, but you decide not to take what happened personally, let the anger go, and you respond with kindness. It is your choice.
Remember that the emotions are yours, you create them, and you can let them go. Others can’t create your emotions, they just trigger them. Don’t blame others for what you feel. Instead, observe what happens within yourself during your day, recognize what you feel and honor it. There aren’t good or bad emotions, they are just energy in motion in your system. Find the courage to feel what you feel, and your life will be broader and deeper. Hear the message every emotion wants to deliver to you and be true to yourself.
"Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose.
Don't lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier"
Let it go, stop carrying it inside you. You travel through life with so much stuff within yourself, lots of unprocessed emotions such as sadness, grief, shame, anger, frustration... the list can be so long. Each of us has our own combination of events and experiences that affected us and still live inside us. A lot of what happened to you has been forgotten, or it is even unconscious (you are unaware of it), but it does not matter, it runs you and affects your life with a strong power. It is important for you to let go of what is not serving you anymore.
The same way you take a shower to clean your body, you should find a way to clean your emotional body, to quiet your mind, and to give peace to your heart. These unresolved, unprocessed, and even the not expressed emotions and thoughts, affect your life. Maybe you believe that you have overcome all of it, or that it was not as important, or that time will help you to cope with it. It may seem like this, but it is not true.
Some of the things you did not say because you did not want to argue or upset another person, or the occasions when you could not say what you thought or felt because the other person was more powerful than you, like a boss, a parent, or any other authority figure, remain in your system. If you accumulate so much and never free yourself of it, your physical body gets affected, stressed, and you can become sick.
We tend to please others, especially because we want their Love and acceptance. Sometimes you may be afraid of the consequences of saying what you really believe, and decide not to do it and keep it to yourself. Exactly at this moment you stop being your authentic self. There are moments when you may be afraid of losing the Love of someone, or being abandoned, and you conform yourself to a situation and become small. In some cases, you may not know how to set up boundaries, and others pass your limits and abuse you. How many times have you experienced any of these scenarios?
Don't be afraid of looking inside yourself. I invite you to do some inner work. You may think that you don't need to, but all that is happening in your inner world is affecting your reality. It will be very difficult to change your circumstances, not to say impossible, if you don't change what is happening within you. Inside yourself, you will find all the pain stuffed, but also all your potential and creativity; you will be able to know the real you, and to connect with your intuition. You will discover yourself and reconnect with your source of Love, Self-Love, and find the joy and happiness that you seek and deserve.
"Sometimes you just have to let go of the old and trust that something better is going to take its place,
even if it's scary to face change and the unknown"
All of us feel, we feel all the time. The variety of feelings we experience is immense and unique for each of us. From Love and content, to rage and sadness, our feelings are like a radar that helps us navigate into the unknown. We take feelings for granted, and we act on them without paying much attention.
Every feeling you experience can be connected with an act. You feel sad and you cry, or you feel angry and you scream at others. This may be automatic, but if you really pay attention to your thoughts and emotions, you will understand the root cause of your feelings, and you will be able to choose how you want to respond to what are you feeling.
Your feelings are yours, only yours. Nobody or anything can make you feel bad or put you down, except if you give this person or event the power to do it. Nobody can hurt you. It is not possible, it is just an illusion. You might be reacting to someone's actions, but you have the power to choose how you want to respond, instead of reacting directly to someone that is pushing your buttons, or activating something within you.
All of us have unresolved issues, things that we experienced in the past and that were never understood or processed. These issues are still there, waiting for the right occasion to make themselves visible. Sometimes this happens at the least appropriate moment. We can learn from what we have lived and overcome it. We can forgive, let go of the pain, the resentment, or the anger against someone or something that happened a long time ago, or yesterday.
I invite you to go to the center of your heart, to this place within where all is stored, and to let go of everything that is not allowing you to live a happy life now. I want you to know that you have the capability to express your feelings, and that it is ok to feel what you feel. I want to empower you to relate with others authentically. This will require you to express what you feel without limiting yourself, or avoiding expressing your feelings so as not to hurt others or be hurt by others.
Stop going through life shutting up every time you feel it is necessary. You can say what you want to say with Love, politely, in a calm way, but you need to express it. Feel your feelings and find the courage to express them. It does not matter if you want to say I Love you, or I cannot be with you. Both feelings need to be expressed. Say what you feel!
"Expressing my feelings and then the opportunity to share it with
others is just such a gift"
Your emotions are real! Accept the way you feel. Your emotions are not lying to you. They are your guidance system, your compass in the sea of life. When a certain emotion shows up, it comes with a message. A very concrete and detailed letter addressed to you. This missive cannot be avoided or deleted. You need to read its content in order to understand it. You need to feel your feelings.
Sadness is not bad. We try to avoid it, but it contains a powerful message. It can be that something is wrong, you are going against yourself, you have lost someone or something valuable for you... Sadness wants you to reflect on the situation, on what happened, on why you feel the way you feel.
When you look at any emotion rising within you, look at it as a message directed to you. Allow the message to be delivered. Read it. Understand it. Feel it with all your senses and then let it go. You can only release the emotion when the work you had to do with it is done. Don't do it before but don't wait too long.
All emotions work the same way. We tend to categorize them in good or bad emotions, but they are all the same. You don't need to choose your emotions, they do the work for you, and show up when it is necessary, without their presence being requested.
You are wired to have feelings, but when you don't give them space to be, when you repress them, or when you reject them, they will keep coming to your inner home without hesitation or being invited, and at the worst moment. Emotions just want to be heard. Remember that it is ok to feel whatever you feel. Don't judge your feelings. A feeling is just a feeling. You decide its meaning in the way you understand and decode it.
A feeling has to be analyzed in the moment that it appears in your life. You may become attached to feeling a certain way because it can be useful to attract attention, or to solve any other issue you may have. A feeling can be modified by deciding to feel in a different way, but you should not do this before you are ready.
If you are grieving, grieve with all your being, if you fall in Love, do it totally and unconditionally, if you feel happy, enjoy it to the fullest, if you feel angry, feel it in your bones to be able to release it. When you feel, whatever life sends you, your existence becomes more interesting. Feel it!
"Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what
you are doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving
something outside yourself power over your happiness.
You can choose to not let little things upset you"
Nobody can make you feel anger, sadness, guilt, or any other emotion. You are responsible for what you feel. It comes from you. It has been created within you. You are feeling it because something within you needs to be understood, changed or healed. Other people can act in a way that triggers certain feelings in you, but you can choose how to react to their words or actions. You always have a choice.
The feelings and emotions that you experience try to connect you with what you need to pay attention to. If there is sadness within you, it will be triggered by situations that will make this sadness present. It might be easier to blame others for what you feel, but it is not possible for them to create emotions in you. You are the only one responsible for how you choose to feel at any given moment. Others cannot create your reality, only you can.
Embrace the emotions you feel, and try to understand why you are feeling them. Don't ignore them; they won't disappear. Don't deny them; you will miss a great opportunity to learn something about yourself. Don't try to control them, because they will show up again when you least expect them to. Emotions are just energy in motion. They are neither good nor bad. They are there to initiate a dialogue with you. When having a recurrent feeling you should ask yourself: How do I feel? Why I am feeling this way? What is this feeling trying to tell me?
When you try to understand your emotions, go to their roots. What you are feeling can be a defense mechanism that you have been using, or an unconscious pattern of behavior that makes you react in a certain way to control others, get their Love, or manipulate them. It might also be something that is not serving you anymore, but that you continue doing because reacting this way is a habit. Look at what triggered the emotion, and you will have your answer about what you need to understand or heal. Discover the thoughts or belief systems associated to your reactions, and you will be able to challenge them.
Every time you are able to respond, and consciously decide what you want to feel, instead of reacting and allowing emotions to take over, you gain power. This power will allow you to create happiness and inner joy, and to make them last. It will help you to be at peace with yourself, and free of inner contradictions and unresolved issues. Taking responsibility for your emotions will allow you to decide how you want to live your life, and to realize that you are the creator of your life experience.
“Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that
you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain.
What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain”
Judith Costa is a Life and Love Coach, Seminar Leader, Writer and Speaker. She has a Masters degree in Psychology & Psychotherapy and an MBA. She helps her clients to overcome their blocks to Love, to Love themselves and to manifest the relationship they want.