Do you keep all your feelings inside until you reach a point where you explode?
Does the slightest thing tip you into behaving like a “crazy person”?
Is your reaction to a situation over the top for what’s presenting?
Some people repress their emotions to cope. It is simpler to keep the emotions buried, rather than let them surface and be forced to experience them. It seems easier to live in your head and hide from the feelings. However, emotions build-up, which is unhealthy in the long-term. These emotions stay in your body on a cellular level until you bring that emotion up and feel it, thus releasing it.
Sometimes people develop habits and become involved in unhealthy activities to avoid feeling their emotions. These can include overeating, eating sugary foods, excessive drinking, taking illegal or prescription drugs, overspending, excessive exercise, constantly over-analysing, needing sex often, keeping busy with work or other tasks and excessive television or use of electronic devices and social media.
To live a happy and harmonious life in your marriage it is vital that you are able to feel what is happening at that moment. Fully feeling these emotions and being able to express those feelings means that you are present in the here and now. A useful resource on this topic if you’re interested in obtaining more information is When you feel you can heal by John Gray.
It is most important to remember that emotions are neither good nor bad. They are energy. It is the judgement that we put on them that alters our experience of each feeling. When you allow yourself to feel the emotions, to be there without internally fighting against them, they slowly pass and disappear.
Understanding Emotions There are two basic emotions – love and fear. All emotions are variations of those two. There are varying degrees of feelings – some are mild, some moderate and others are very intense. For example, anger in a mild form can be annoyance. It can increase to feeling offended and agitated and as an intense emotion it would be a feeling of rage. However, on any level, the anger is based on fear.
Fear-based emotions include: Guilt, Shame, Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Sadness, Loneliness and Hurt.
Love-based emotions include: Compassion, Joy, Happiness, Trust, Contentment and Satisfaction
You Cannot Control Your Emotions No one can control their emotions. The key to dealing with emotions is living with them, loving them, managing them, feeling them and releasing them. Sometimes people look like they are coping and then suddenly explode over a tiny issue. This is a sure sign of someone trying to control their emotions. The feelings have to come out eventually and the chances are that, if you repress them, they will come out at the most inappropriate times and in the most dysfunctional ways. The apparent overreaction may be caused by a buried emotion that emerges some years after an initial incident that was never dealt with.
It takes a lot of energy to keep your emotions under tight control. Some people even become ill as their vibrations are lowered and this can lead to illness, depression and fatigue.
Repressing emotions may result in outcomes including the following:
- Depression without any apparent cause
- Overreaction to a minor event
- Knotty feeling in your stomach, tightness in your throat
- No focus or motivation
- Talking about everyone else, but never yourself
- Not feeling angry at the time of an event, but a while afterwards
- Unexplained physical symptom
- Relationship problems
- Laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside
- Not liking yourself very much
- Feeling disconnected from yourself
How to Explore and Release Your Emotions There is no right or wrong way to explore your emotions. You must do what feels right for you and what you are drawn to. Some people prefer to work in solitude, while others need the support of a group or just one person.
When you are working at releasing emotions it is important to concentrate on the emotion and not what caused it. We tend to get very attached to the story of why we are so hurt, angry and filled with anger. The key to releasing emotions is to let go of the story – who caused what or who did what – and focus on the feeling of anger. Own the feeling; it is yours.
Sometimes we are frightened of how angry we are, how sad we are, of the rage we have bottled up. By working on our emotions, we avoid being in situations where we lash out at someone else. Learning to be vulnerable and letting go is the starting point. What results is a closer connection in your marriage
Practical Ways To Feel Emotion
Venting enables you to physically release your emotions. It is particularly useful when you are in a rage and you feel like you are literally going to erupt in seconds. It is your responsibility to deal with these emotions. It is nothing to do with the person who may have triggered you. You have a split second to move away from them and vent on your own.
Go into an empty room or somewhere that you can be alone. If necessary, give yourself permission to scream, shout and cry as much and as loudly as you feel you need to. Yell, “I hate…” or “I’m angry with…” Scream into a pillow if you are not able to be very loud. If you find it difficult to scream aloud, it may help to imagine that you’re screaming. Use all your senses to hear it, see it and feel it as deeply as you can. Other ways that are useful for venting include punching a pillow, bashing a pillow on the bed or a couch, hitting the ground with a pool noodle or hitting a punching bag. At the same time, you can yell, “I am so angry. I am so angry. I am frustrated.” It doesn’t matter what works for you – it is about releasing the anger that you are feeling inside you. Putting words to your feelings while you’re doing this is a helpful way to unfreeze locked emotions.
2. A letting go letter
This involves writing a letter in your non-dominant hand to the person with whom you are angry. You need a place and time where you won’t be interrupted. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and spend a few moments getting comfortable. Take a few deep breaths and connect with the person you want to let go. Begin to write in your non-dominant hand. It feels uncomfortable and clumsy at first, but you will get your rhythm within a few minutes. Using your non-dominant hand enables you to access your subconscious and the creative side of your brain. Write down the emotions that you are feeling. It may be hurt, pain, anger, loss or anything else. Don’t hold back, this is your opportunity to feel the emotions with no judgement from yourself.
The purpose of the letting go letter is to express and release all the negative emotion that is preventing you from being totally present in the moment, the here and now. Don’t stop writing the letter until you have got to letting go, freedom, acceptance or love. This is very important. Be patient and keep writing and it will come.
Emotional work is tiring. When you get to the end you may feel lighter or exhausted and either state is totally normal. It can be very powerful to read the letter once out loud to someone, but, if not, read it out loud to yourself. Feel any emotions that come up when you are reading your letter. Do not try to repress them. Allow them without judgement.
After you have read the letter out loud, burn it. Fire is a powerful element for transformation because the intention of fire is to create change. In burning your letter, you are saying goodbye to all the pain inside of you; you are letting it go.
3. Writing in a journal
Think about the stressful situation that has caused you to repress your emotions. Begin to write about it. Start by describing what happened, how, when and why. Write about how you reacted to it. Describe whether you are projecting what you feel out to someone else.
If you feel the need to cry when you are writing, then do so. With time the hurt around the situation will be less painful. It is vital to feel all those emotions and writing can be helpful in bringing them to the surface.
4. Listen to music that moves you
Music has the power to heal. Allow the emotion to arise in you as you listen to music that moves you. Do not judge the emotion; just allow it. If you play an instrument or sing, you can also write a song about what is bothering you. Feel the darkness, the sadness, the energy, and write about it.
5. Share your emotions with your pets
Some people feel comfortable sharing their emotions with their pets. If this is you, make time to do this. The important aspect is that you are enabling the release of your emotions.
6. Connect with mother earth
Slow down, enjoy being in nature and connect with the source energy. You may want to say a prayer such as the following:
Mother earth, I am your child, I open myself to your life-giving power, I seek to heal and be whole. Allow me to unburden myself to you so that the seeds of what is healthy and strong within me can take root and grow.
Notice the emotion that arises in you during this process; allow it and feel it.
7. Keep a record of your emotions
Make an emotions diary for six weeks. Keep track of how you feel and who or what triggers those feelings – whether it is your wife, husband, children, work, the news, a neighbour or something else.
You may find it helpful to go deeper into the emotions and identify the underlying cause. For example, sadness is a mask for anger, which is a mask for fear. What is causing the fear? What are you afraid of losing, or of not having?
When you start to identify, understand and release buried emotions you will get in tune with yourself emotionally. When you have emptied out your repressed emotions you will be triggered less by your outer world. You will then have no judgement and will surrender to the feelings allowing the emotion to just be if you are triggered. You will reach a point where you live in the present moment and will feel more joy and harmony. This will create a richer, closer stronger marriage when you take personal responsibility for your own emotional health.
Sometimes we need support and counselling can help us quicker than we can help ourselves on our own.
Tune into to my Empowered Marriage Podcast to learn more. There’s a new podcast each week – https://www.powerofchange.com.au/empowered-marriage-podcast/