The short answer is yes. Yes, feeling your feelings is the gateway to healing as well as true happiness. But if you're anything like me, this answer is not enough. You might want to know exactly why it's healing and how you can fully feel while still maintaining a sense of safety, wholeness, and sanity.
The trick lies in not only feeling but also noticing. Noticing what and how you're feeling is key. Typically, when an emotion shows up, we react. It's like we go on automatic. But when we notice an emotion showing up, and notice too our typical reaction to it, then we can choose our response. This choice is true freedom. Our birthright.
Take fear, for example. (By the way, this is the emotion associated with winter according to Chinese medicine). When fear shows up, many of us freeze in reaction. We can't think straight. We can't make a decision. We can't go on with our regular routine. Even our body, or some part of it, might feel tight and un-moveable (i.e. frozen).
But as we become aware of fear and the pattern of freezing, we get to decide: react or respond. Reacting means continuing to automatically freeze like we always do. On the other hand, responding means noticing the fear, potentially its roots, and listening deeply to what other action is possible here. What is really wanted or needed here? Is it speaking out? Doing something? Seeking professional help? The response depends strictly on the situation and what's right for each and every one of us. This is freedom.
I'm afraid (pun intended) that this topic deserves more discussion. So please consider commenting below and sharing your thoughts, joining me for the upcoming workshop "Feeling is Healing" and Other Truths about Emotions on Saturday, Jan 30, 2016, or via web/phone/in-person for a private session. There's so much more to this....
May you always exercise your freedom,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai