“I shouldn’t be feeling this way!”
She said before her big presentation at work. Sarah had done lots of presentations before, but for some reason, she was feeling nervous about this one.
She noticed her palms were sweaty, butterflies in her stomach, and worrying thoughts such as “What will they think of me?”
The more she tried to control her anxiety, the worse it got.
We’re all been there, an emotion shows up (i.e. anxiety) and we tell ourselves we “Shouldn’t” be feeling this way.
And yet we are.
It is like trying to take a bulldozer to our emotions and push them away because they are not helping us.
But are we really helping ourselves by bulldozing our emotions?
Unfortunately, bulldozing is, at best, a temporary solution.
We cannot ever completely get rid of our emotions.
They are always still there, even if just beneath the surface, and will come out in different (often unhealthy) ways if we push them away and are not willing to be with them.
So step 1 is to notice that you are bulldozing your emotions.
Step 2 is to stop and just be with the reality of what you are actually feeling in the moment.
As uncomfortable as that may be, it is the only way to be with your emotions in a healthy way.
Give up fighting with your emotions and let yourself actually FEEL them.
As they say, you have to feel it to heal it.
Breathe, give you emotions space, and let them play out as they do.
With time, and when you are truly present to your emotions, they will pass.
Remind yourself: “I am allowed be feel how I am feeling”
“I give myself permission to fully feel how I am feeling”
Judging ourselves for feeling a certain way, is just another form of bulldozing.
Notice that judgement, let it pass, and return to being present, with compassion, with ourselves, however you are feeling.
This is a wonderful meditation practice. And if you want some guided practice and group support, I invite you to check out our next round of Everyday Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety Group, starting February 7 in Oakland.
So even if you have been bulldozing your emotions all your life, you can choose to do something new.
Fear – “You are allowed to be here within me.”
Anger – “You are allowed be felt and experienced.”
Sadness – “You are welcome to be here within me.”
Joy – “You are welcome to be felt and experienced.”
You get the idea. All emotions are welcome, valid, and OK.
Then, if you choose to act on the emotion or not, is up to you.
This month, instead of bulldozing your emotions, see if you can relate to your emotions with acceptance and openness and see what happens.
And if you need help managing emotions, feel free to reach out to me.
Until next time,
May you make peace with all that shows up within you,
Ellis Edmunds, Psy.D.
There are a few spots open so please let me know if you would like to register ASAP!