It's okay to feel

Feeling is scary.

Even if you are feeling good feelings, it can be scary to allow yourself the moment of bliss to experience something so ecstatic.

And then, there are those moments of bad feelings.  Feelings of pain, anxiety, fear...memories of rejection, heartbreak, loss.  And sometimes, it can seem as if you have no control over how much you allow yourself to feel these things.  They come in waves, sometimes just flowing gently upon the shores of your thoughts and then ebbing away slowly.  Other times, they overtake you like a tsunami and you are lost, dazzled and confused under the tide.

It's scary.

And because it's so scary, I think people have gotten really good at stuffing those bad feelings deep down inside, away from the surface.  But this isn't healthy.  And the reason why is simple.

Because feelings that are buried alive never die.

A lot of people believe that "to deeply feel things" means that you are overly sensitive.  Or that you can be easily offended, or misinterpret things said to or about you.  But I tend to disagree with this.  Why?  Because I deem myself as a sensitive person.  And it's not because I fit those descriptions, but merely because I feel very deeply.  It took a long time for me to understand what that meant, but once I did, my heart and my mind kind of clicked.

You see, I have discovered myself being sensitive to feelings in the fact that I can find significance in the smallest things.  I find beauty in the details.  I feel happy over little pleasures.  Warm beds in cold rooms, shiny crystals, tiny plants, a stack of books, a baby's smile, the way the sunlight fills a space, a delicious smelling cup of coffee. These are all things that a lot of people could see a million times in a day, but perceptive and emotional people will truly notice them, and feel something based on what they behold.

Also, my emotional state can shift based on the feelings of the people around me.  I am very empathetic and can sense emotions and energies very easily.  Honestly, it's hard to handle sometimes because I don't want to pretend everything is okay when I am aware that it very clearly is not.  I can't just listen to someone tell me about the pain they are experiencing or the trauma they are going through, without having a sense of urgency to help or support them in some way.
I can also walk into a room and feel my emotions being drawn to different energies around me - whether they be fear, sadness, pride, anxiety, happiness, excitement - and I internalize everything (which isn't always a good thing).  And sometimes I, unknowingly, burden myself with weight that isn't even mine to bear.

It took certain mentors and counselors to help me see and understand this part of me.  And it was a while before I could embrace it - as part of my identity.  I say "identity" because being emotionally sensitive isn't just a personality trait.  It is part of who I am as an individual.  I don't place my identity in being a person who feels deeply, but rather, I am a strong person who feels deeply and passionately because I choose to.  It's scary sometimes.  I've found myself sitting on my bed, crying, because of all the emotions I was feeling at one time and I didn't even know why.  (And no, this wasn't during my time of the month.  Trust me.  I can tell the difference.)  It tends to happen when I have been around a lot of people, and when I am decompressing, it's as if I am letting go of all the emotions I had been receiving and feeling from everyone I had been around.  This is why I don't like big crowds.  I don't like being around a ton of people all at once.  I don't like loud or chaotic places.  "But you love going to concerts, Raquel" you might be thinking.  And yes, I do.  But concerts are different because I am going to feel the music I am familiar with.  And most likely, everyone else who enjoys that type of music is going to have similar energy to what I do when I listen to it.  Also, when I can focus on one thing in a situation (in the instance of a concert, it would be the artist and their music), then I can tend to block out - or at least minimize - the affect of everyone's emotions and feelings around me.  Crazy, right?  It's insane to me how God made our bodies and minds to be so interconnected.  When one part of us is feeling a certain way, the rest of our self is affected.

And this is important to realize!!  Because allowing yourself to feel is necessary for any valuable growth in your life.  You need to face things directly, no matter how scary they can be, in order to learn from them.  You can't be blind to whatever it is that is causing you to feel certain ways.  You need to openly acknowledge them.

I can always tell when I have been pushing feelings aside and ignoring them.  And if I allow them to stay buried alive, I know that eventually, they are going to burst out at the worst moment and affect me negatively (and most likely those around me, as well).

So a practice I have taught myself is to schedule times throughout my day or week to simply allow myself to meet my feelings.  I always prepare myself, mentally and emotionally, with prayer.  I ask God to meet them with me, and I acknowledge the peace He has given my spirit.
And then, depending on the volume of feelings I need to address, I usually situate myself comfortably in my bedroom or living room, turn on some soft music (ambient or meditation music are my go-tos for these moments) and then I simply meditate, slowly allowing these feelings to surface and for me to deal with them.
Other times, if the feelings are deeper and more intense, I like to go outside (preferably during a rainstorm) and allow myself to feel the physical cold around me, as I call to mind whatever feelings I have been holding inside.  The rain is a beautiful way of helping me physically wash myself of the feelings and free my heart from having them pent up inside.

In either of these scenarios though, I am in control.  I am the one allowing myself to feel.  I am pausing in my busy schedule and giving myself permission to release any emotional burdens that I was carrying around and that were affecting my wellbeing.

This is good.  This is cleansing.  This is healthy.

I would encourage you to do the same with any feelings you have been withholding.  Taking care of your mental and emotional energy is just as important as your physical.  I know that it can be scary sometimes, though.  Especially when you are first getting started in cleaning out the closets and digging up graves.  This is why I strongly suggest people to see counselors and therapists who are trained in helping individuals face their demons.  Seeking help doesn't make you weak.  It's a sign of honest vulnerability, and that, my friend, is strength.

You are strong.  You are the most powerful substance you know on this earth.  Feelings can come and go.  But you have the power to control them.

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