The ways in which we handle our emotions are often extremely toxic for our mental, emotional and physical health. Many of us have a very bad habit of suppressing our emotions. We avoid wanting to feel them, so we bury them, distract ourselves from them and deny them. When we suppress our emotions, often it’s because we’re afraid of how painful they will be when we allow ourselves to really feel them. Sometimes we suppress our feelings because we don’t know how to express them. We’re afraid that communicating them with other people will be a sign of weakness or will push them away. Many of us don’t have the safe space we need to feel our pain or to share it with other people. Our addictions become our main tool of avoidance. We use addictive substances and behaviors to give ourselves feelings of happiness, comfort, pleasure and escapism. We find that these feelings, though, are external and don’t come from the light source within us, so they end up being temporary false gratification.
When we haven’t learned how to process our emotions, they repeat themselves in our life patterns, our mental illnesses, our recurring issues, our unhealthy relationships.
Looking at our patterns more closely shows us all of the unresolved emotions and fears we haven’t faced yet. The problems we’re experiencing in our lives will continue to affect us until we heal the emotions fueling them. Instead of suppressing our emotions and drowning them in our addictions where they just cause us more pain, let’s work on learning how to manage and process them instead.
There are some key things we want to employ when dealing with our emotions. Acceptance is one of the most important. The more we resist our emotions because we’re afraid to feel them, the more power they have over us and the more they hurt us. Accepting our emotions doesn’t mean they simply vanish. We won’t go unaffected by them. Acceptance means we allow ourselves to move through them and any feelings and physical sensations that come up. When we have acceptance, we lift the resistance that was blocking us from moving forward. To heal our feelings, we have to feel them, and we must accept them in order to feel them.
Sometimes this process of facing our emotions is a first for us. Let’s give ourselves as much patience and compassion as we can. Don’t beat yourself up for having strong emotional reactions. If you feel embarrassed for crying in public, or for having a total meltdown, give yourself a hug and remind yourself that you’re human. As you practice working with your emotions, you give yourself the permission to really feel them, and this is where the healing takes place.
The different components of our treatment programs at Riverside Recovery, the multiple forms of therapy, trauma support, daily recovery meetings and mindfulness education are all powerful ways of helping you learn to feel your emotions as part of your recovery. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.