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  • Michelle Carstens

What do you do with difficult emotions?

Big and difficult emotions, such as grief, sadness, or anger are hard to bear. The tendency is to ignore them, push them away and distract ourselves. Or, especially with anger, we accidentally let it out on others in unrelated situations.

At the heart of it is the fear that if we really allow ourselves to feel the feelings, they'll completely overwhelm us. And they'll never go away.

It is really important to remember that feelings are not WHO we are, they are just that: feelings. They come up to be acknowledged and felt but they will pass, even the difficult ones.

Pushing them away only makes it worse in the long run. Neuroscience is showing us: emotions are stored in the body. In the long run, repressed (ie. unfelt) emotions cause anxiety, stress, overwhelm and many physical symptoms and conditions.

When someone close to us is having big feelings, we also tend to get very uncomfortable. Especially if it’s our kids. If there’s sadness or upset, we’ll want to rush in and fix it. If there’s anger, we might take it personally.

It takes a lot of self-reflection to stand by and allow another to express themselves, and not take it on as your own. To be with them in their pain and hold space for what is there. To see the need behind the behaviour. This creates connection, trust and intimacy.

Being “with” feelings but not “in” them is how we stay emotionally regulated. It’s not easy, but the best thing you can do is to take a moment for yourself and just sit with them when they come up.

The more you are able to ride the waves of emotions, the better you are at coming back to calm.

If this is something you need help with, reach out to me for personal coaching. I offer a free discovery call, no obligations.

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