For most of my adult life I stuffed down my feelings. If I was feeling something I thought was bad or embarrassing or anything I thought put a negative light on me I wouldn’t let myself feel it. I would talk down to myself if my feelings bubbled up to the surface, and looked down on others who wore there’s on their sleeves. Weakness is what I thought showing my feelings meant. Hiding my feelings and not acknowledging them made me strong I thought, and I continued to do that until I couldn’t keep them stuffed down any longer. Those feelings I didn’t want anyone to see, or even myself, were eating me up inside and fueling the negative self-talk in my head. Feeling my feelings and feeling them out loud was something I had to learn if I was going to fight for my life, because trying to keep them hidden was actually killing me.
When I sought help I removed those things in my life that allowed me to stuff my feelings down, the tricks I would use, the outside things, the distractions, anything that I had used to not acknowledge how I truly felt. I felt exposed, naked, and afraid. It had been so long since I felt a feeling I didn’t want to that I felt unable to deal with them when they came up. They made me uncomfortable and uneasy, and I was told to let myself feel those feelings and know that they will pass. It didn’t always feel like they would in those early moments, my anxiety would spike and they would overwhelm me at times, but I was encouraged to breathe through them and talk about what was coming up with others who would understand. Even in a room with my peers, people who understood my new journey, who were just like I was, I still, at the start, tried to hide my pain, my sorrow, my shame. I remember one morning sitting with someone I had grown to trust, and listening to a Women share her thoughts and feelings that day, and recognizing myself in what she was saying, my eyes started to well up with tears and I fought the emotion, not wanting to appear weak, the friend I was sitting with noticed what I was doing and put her hand on my knee and said, it’s OK to be sad. That gave me pause, as I had never heard that before. It’s OK to be sad. And it was OK, because that was the natural feeling that was coming up for me in that moment, that was an honest feeling, and so yes, it was OK to feel that feeling in the moment. I looked at her and let go as my tears flowed down my cheeks, and felt a huge relief not holding them in.
I’ve been on this journey for over 14 years now and have learned to feel my feelings out loud, within reason, it isn’t always appropriate to feel feelings out loud depending on where we find ourselves, but we can feel them and then feel them as loudly as I need to when it is appropriate to do so. I no longer hold myself back when I feel my emotions bubble up to the surface, and by letting myself feel my feelings and allowing myself to feel them out loud I give others permission to do the same. Because I am now able to share how I feel it has given me the opportunity to connect with others who may be feeling the same, and, many times when we feel the same as someone else sharing those feelings often will let them go, and lessen how they feel.
There is nothing wrong with feeling out loud, letting your feelings out and letting them go, when we hold them in, stuff them down or try to push them aside, they don’t go away, they sit within us waiting to come out, and often do during inopportune times, or attach themselves to things that have nothing to do with the source of why we’re feeling what we feel. There’s nothing wrong with feeling what you feel, no matter what it is, what is wrong is to deny your feelings and tell yourself that showing them is a sign of weakness. Find your strength in showing honestly how you feel. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you share your feelings or let it be known how you feel? If not, why not? What are you afraid of? If you do share, how do you feel after you do? Have you always shared your feelings or was there a time you didn’t? When you didn’t or don’t share how does that make you feel? What if you did share, with someone you know and trust, what if you shared your feelings? What feelings do you hide? Did you always hide your feelings or did something change? What changed? Find the courage to share how you feel SLAYER, and share your feelings out loud, let them out, let them go and free yourself from the feelings that hold you down.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you