Live Your Best Life
by Catherine Dietz
In a society where feelings are easily dismissed and women are often regarded as “overly sensitive”, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of giving expression to our emotions. If you’ve heard things like “just suck it up and deal with it” or “why are you making such a big deal out of nothing?”, it can be especially difficult to open up and explore your feelings. The truth is, our feelings are an essential part of being human and have a HUGE influence on the quality of our lives and relationships!
By far, this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned, and like many women, I had to learn it the hard way until I actually ‘got it’.I once stayed in an unhealthy relationship for 13 years until I finally listened to my heart and gained the courage to leave.Even though I knew it was unhealthy from the start (he started lying to me before our second date!), my false insecurities had a way of stuffing down my true feelings with thoughts like, ‘What if I don’t find someone else to love me? Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. I don’t want to hurt him, so I guess I’ll give him another chance.”
13,000 chances later (a 1,000 for each year ha-ha), I had built so much resentment toward him, and it wasn’t until later that I realized it wasn’t his fault. I had made the choice to stay even though my feelings told me otherwise over and over and over again.
Through my own painful lesson, once I listened to my heart, I was on a mission to take responsibility for my part in my future relationships. And I knew that I had to consistently honor my feelings so that I wouldn’t repeat the same patterns. One thing I know for sure, and I believe this to be true for everyone, our emotions let us know whether or not we’re on the right path and when we need to take a detour.
Here’s an example: if you’re feeling good about something or someone (inspired, joyful, appreciative), chances are you’re being true to your heart. However, if you’re consistently feeling bad about something or someone (frustrated, depressed, resentful), those emotions are a clear indication that something needs to change. That internal conflict is there for a reason, and stuffing down your feelings is like saying “no thank you” to who you are.
This is why so many of us struggle with anxiety, confusion and even depression. These difficult emotions are triggered because, deep down, we know something isn’t right, but we’re ignoring it. When we are true to our feelings, and express them in a healthy way – instead of giving our power away by blaming others for ‘making’ us feel bad – we get to be in the driver’s seat, and this feels amazing!
If you’re ready to ‘show up’ for you and live your best life, I invite you to ‘get to know’ your feelings by participating in whatever practice feels right for you. Whatever practice you choose, consistency is key and will produce the best results.
There are tons of books, webinars, podcasts, blogs, etc. that provide all sorts of different insights and perspectives on this subject.Start with a curious attitude (as if it’s an experiment instead of an assignment), explore different resources, and when something feels right, try it. It will always lead you to the next best step…and you can’t get it ‘wrong’. Practice makes progress.
If you’re willing to engage in a consistent practice of feeling your emotions and understanding what they’re telling you, you will feel more empowered! And your emotions will let you know it :-).