One question all of my listeners, clients and friends have in common is: “Aleah, how do I actually dive into my feelings? It seems so difficult to do so!” or “I haven’t cried for years, what does it take?” – I feel you! It took me a lot of practice to get there myself but you need not to worry. For exactly these reasons, I created an episode where I talk solely about how to access feelings. I’ll share with you why it is so difficult in the first place, offer you ways to work through it with support and on top will provide you with a clear guideline should you chose to do the work on your own. Not to forget, practice makes the master, so be patient and keep going. You’ve got this!
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The Feeling Is The Healing, But How To?
It is so good to be back with another episode on Addicted To Love. This week I want to answer a burning question that I hear over and over again from my listeners, my clients as well as my friends. As you know from listening to my show, I always talk about the fact that if you want to overcome your dysfunctional relationship patterns, if you want to have the deepest and most intimate relationship, if you want to grow and heal, you have to leverage the triggers that are delivered to you and dive into the feelings behind them. In other words, you have to truly feel in order to heal.
Now how hard is that to do? I know because it took me months in my own feeling therapy to finally be able to access my feelings, stay with them instead of just crying a tear or two until I am feeling that my nervous system balances itself out again. Because that is what it is. When you are being triggered, your nervous system goes into a sort of overload and the feelings you are experiencing take over in an involuntary way. Unless you really work with the feelings. You stop resisting them, invite them, fully feel them and then integrate them.When you are being triggered, your nervous system goes into a sort of overload and the feelings you are experiencing take over in an involuntary way. Click To Tweet
This works for all kind of triggers, whether we are talking about your craving for love and relationships, your feelings of emotional starvation, your fears of abandonment and rejection or feelings of not being good enough. Whatever it is, these are just examples. It works for any feeling you are experiencing. Now when my listeners try to follow my advice and really do everything they can to actually feel the pain, frustration, anger or sadness, often they feel stuck not knowing how to really do that. So in this episode I wanted to take the time to lay this out for you better. If you are new to the show I advise you to start listening from beginning as I am building chronologically and you will understand very quickly what I am referring to here.
Why It Is So Hard To Feel
First of all we have to look at the WHY it is so hard to access our feelings and I will answer that question from my personal experience.
For one there is no one to watch us in it. And this is a very very important point. Why? As children most of us spent all of our childhood not having had our feelings validated. Not having anywhere to go with our feelings. Validation would look something like that: The child is upset, the parent sees that and stops whatever he or she is doing and gifts all of his time, presence and focus to his or her child. They would ask: Honey, I can see you are feeling sad or upset! Tell me all about it. And then they’d take as much time as the child needs to express what happens within him or herself without regulating him or her in any way. The parent would support the child by allowing it to express in whatever way the child needs to. The parent would simply be able to hold space so that the child can move through what’s moving inside of her. This is LOVE. This is pure love.
Often, however, what parents do is to shut the child off, they sometimes tell the child to stop crying, maybe even be triggered themselves and act out on the child in a destructive way. Many parents are rather uncomfortable with feelings themselves. They might not be very much in touch with their own vulnerability and are used to regulate their own uncomfortable feelings as they themselves didn’t grow up having their feelings validated much. Hence, they often regulate the feelings of their child by saying things like: “it’s not that bad, don’t be sad, don’t cry!”
They think comforting and consoling you in such a way is a good thing. But in a way they are trying to make it go away and that is rather denial than anything else. A child who isn’t invited to be the way it is in a given moment translates that into thinking that “I am not good the way I am”. And that has often horrible consequences. Basically, the child is being left on its own. It’s might easily start to think something like: “I am left alone with my feelings and I have nowhere to go with it” so it really suffers. How hopeless must a child feel in such a moment? Worse, over time it will give up the hope to ever be loved in such a way.A child who isn’t invited to be the way it is in a given moment translates that into thinking “I ain't good the way I am!" Click To Tweet
Logically there resides a deep longing inside of us that wants to finally be seen and validated in its feelings. If we have to feel on our own it just triggers the memory that there is no one there to help. So we might give up before we even start. Being witnessed in our feelings in a non-judgmental compassionate way is an experience of unconditional love. It is so powerful.
At the same time, the idea that someone watches us feeling our feelings in our adult life is scary as hell because that level of vulnerability is simply unimaginable. There is so much shame and fear connected to that. If, however, you can overcome that shame and fear, you will leverage a tool that will get you out of your wounding into total self- empowerment. Let me put it like that, ever since I am no longer ashamed of showing myself fully to someone else, I feel that I can handle almost anything that comes my way because I already overcame the hardest challenge.
Feeling vs. Suffering
And that brings me to the second reason why: The idea to open up the lid to our feelings is so scary. That is precisely because we confuse the early suffering with feeling. We believe feeling a feeling will make us suffer and that’s the biggest misconception of it all. It is our early imprint that makes us believe that. When I just said that as kids we had nowhere to go with our feelings and therefore we had to walk through life carrying them heavily on our chest and therewith suffering our way through life, that’s not feeling, that’s suffering. Feeling a feeling in its purity is nothing but relieving. Only that your brain needs to make that new connection “oh feeling is not suffering!” The way it does that is by having experiences that proof that. The more experiences you make diving into a feeling, realizing that it was not as scary as you thought, and you didn’t die from it, integrating that experience in a positive way, to a point where you can feel your nervous system deeply relaxing, the more your brain dares to go to these places.We think shedding a few tears is feeling, but unless you are lying on the floor, letting your heart and gut rip apart consciously, you are not even touching the level of depth I am talking about. Click To Tweet
Another reason why it is so hard is that we really don’t know how that truly looks like. We don’t know the level of depth we can go to, to really start rewiring our system, to really dissipate uncomfortable feelings. We think shedding a few tears is feeling but unless you are lying on the floor, letting your heart and gut rip apart consciously, you are not even touching the level of depth I am talking about. That is why now with my one-on-one clients at some point in our work together, I share with them one of my own recorded feeling sessions to demonstrate what I am really talking about. The moment I do that, they are having major break-throughs when it comes to their own ability to let themselves feel deeply.
Where Will My Feelings Take Me?
The last reason I want to point out is that we are also really scared because we do not know where this will take us.What will it open up if I dare to go to the places where I am really hurting? Will I lose it? Will I know how to get out of it again? In my experience when you constantly respect your boundaries and the tempo of your soul, so not unnecessarily push somewhere you are not ready to go – or if you work with someone – not let them push you to where you are not ready to go, you will be safe. Sometimes it’s okay to say “I can see that there is more behind that, but for today that is all I feel comfortable feeling”. Psychology calls that pacing.
And last but not least, we often still deny, repress or act-out because when being triggered, it poses a threat and then our brainstem takes over and our behavior and responses to it are involuntary, as our brain simply tries to protect ourselves. So, when that happens we have to be super aware about what just happened and consciously choose to correct the action and do it anyways. We can fail and chose to correct our course of action.Every time you let a valuable trigger pass by, asleep, unaware, you are throwing away a perfect chance for healing and growth and therewith prolong suffering. Click To Tweet
Every time you let a valuable trigger pass by, asleep, unaware, you are throwing away a perfect chance for healing and growth and therewith prolong suffering.
There Is Help Available
So what can we do? I will first give you tips for options with support and then if you chose to do the work on your own, I will do my best to help you with that too.
Here are options with support:
- You can book me as your feeling coach. I will help you let go of shame and fear around diving deeper within yourself and step by step you will learn to listen to your heart and soul and learn to fully express what moves inside of you. I only work with highly committed people who really want to do the work. This is not a marketing slogan, this is simply me knowing what works and what will make it worthwhile your time and money. We start with a 3 months coaching agreement with 3-4 sessions a month that last between 60-120 minutes. Your commitment is everything to me and yourself.
- You can apply for one of the 2 last spots in my upcoming retreat in Italy, May 18-25 where you together with other clients will be diving more deeply into your own feeling world. This is so powerful because the level of exposure is even higher. This week will change your week, that’s a guarantee!
- You can apply for my upcoming Mastermind Group where I take 10 people on a 4 months journey with weekly 2hour live Group Coaching Calls that will give you immediate access to myself in a more affordable way than one on one coaching. Just go to aleahava.com and send me a message if you are interested.
Doing It On Your Own
You want to look out for a moment when you are being triggered. For Love Addicts that might be an acute craving for love, sex and closeness. But it can be any strong trigger that shifts your emotional state into discomfort. You want to do this when you are being triggered. You leverage the triggers that are presenting themselves to you. Usually you might numb yourself with eating, masturbating or binge-watching TV or go for a run or whatever it is you are doing to avoid feeling bad. But this time you chose to feel. You stop whatever it is you are doing and you slow down. You can either go into nature, somewhere where there are no people or any other place where you feel you have privacy, such as your bedroom. For me, nature has often been a wonderful recipient of my tears and pain. The most important thing is that you will not be disturbed, and you have as much privacy as you can get. You can also lower the light a little bit. The next step is not mandatory but has a powerful effect. Take out your phone and hit the record button in your voice memo app setting the intention that there is someone present with you.
Now you are either sitting somewhere in nature, you are walking somewhere in nature or you are in any other place that you chose where you feel comfortable. You can also close your eyes. Now you start focusing on your breathe. Simply watch your breathe move your belly and chest. After a short while you can start tuning into your heart, your chest area and you feel into what is moving inside of you. If you are walking, walk with awareness. Slow down. Bring yourself into the present moment. Check in with your heart. How does it feel in the middle of your chest? Heavy? Hopeless? Painful? Sad? And then scan your body and see where you perceive any emotional sensation. Maybe you feel really angry or frustrated or desperate. Whatever it is, just start noticing that sensation. And when you found it, place one hand on the part where you can locate it. Keep breathing into it slowly, no need to change anything. You just pay full attention to what moves inside of you.
You Are On The Receiving End Here
Have the intention to connect with these sensations as they often have a voice. They might also have a sound or words. Pay close attention to it, asking it what it has to say and fully listen, letting the message and the words come to you. That needs a lot of trust because all of that wisdom is within you. You just have to step out of the way and really trust what thoughts and words and sounds want to come through for you. Then you take away any judgement or any filtering of what pops into your mind and simply speak out loud what you hear as the sensations’ message. It does not have to make any sense. This is a journey of exploration that changes constantly and what you do is pay really close attention to where it wants to take you.These are not words from your head. These are not words that you are creating. These are words you are receiving by fully paying attention, listening and trusting what needs to be said. Click To Tweet
The sensation you are feeling right now, might be a result of something that just happened and if that is the case, then someone might have been involved in the trigger. If that is the case and someone was involved, I want you to draw their face really close into your imagination. Look at them. And from the sensation in your body, you start talking to them. These are not words from your head. These are not words that you are creating. These are words you are receiving by fully paying attention, listening and trusting what needs to be said. And then again you remove the brains’ filter. The filter that judges whether these words or sentences make sense, are logical or are true. You switch that filter right off and you say whatever needs to be said. And you say it exactly in the very way they need to be said. Whether that comes out teary, angry, aggressive, hopeless, desperate or any other way, that’s exactly how you say it. For that reason, you make sure you have privacy.
Staying With A Sensation
Sometimes it’s not addressed to someone obvious but that doesn’t matter then you just say “I am feeling so sad, I am feeling so hopeless, I am feeling so starved” and you keep engaging in that internal journey that keeps developing and shaping and changing as you go along. Sometimes it feels like you want to address your feelings to something like the universe or god or anyone or anything really. Understand to whom you are addressing your words and sharing your feelings with. Don’t just say the words, connect your feelings to them. That is the hardest part. If that is challenging, you slow down and try again. Whenever there is a spark of connection between the words and the feelings, don’t run ahead, stay with it and give space to it, stay with the feelings. Keep listening to what wants to be expressed and how it wants to be expressed. The tone of your voice, the volume, the way you say things, do it exactly as you feel like.This is deeply intuitive work that needs a lot of trust and awareness. Click To Tweet
Feeling our feelings is a journey. You start with something and at some point, it might shift its focus. All of a sudden you find yourself remembering something from the past, or another person comes into the picture or the feeling suddenly changes. Allow that to happen. Follow the flow of this exploration. This is deeply intuitive work that needs a lot of trust and awareness. You are on the receiving end here. You are the one listening and paying close attention. You are not trying to figure it out in your head. Drop the expectation to be able to do this right away. You have to practice and when you do there is progress just as with everything we practice.
Taking Out The Brains Natural Filter
Trust and surrender means to not judge what is happening. To not label it. To say what needs to be said and to say it exactly in the way you want to say it. It’s easier when you imagine that persons face and talk directly to them as if they were present. Don’t act out on them, share with them how you truly feel. And you do that until you truly connect to a feeling. You will feel that. You will feel when you are reaching a depth of feelings that give you a very different sensation afterwards. In this state your mind is completely switched off and everything just happens. Afterwards, you most likely will feel much calmer, a sensation of more space in your chest area and your breathing will feel much freer. If you do not experience that, it means that you started to feel a little but not all of it for today. And that’s fine. There is no price to win but only your compassion and deep respect for yourself that will get you closer to these deeper levels. If you feel that there is more space and calmness I want you to stay in this state for as long as you feel like it. This is the moment where you create a new imprint. One of you being able to work through things and achieving relaxation that you anchor in your system consciously for a while. I’d say at least 10 minutes. You can lay in the position of an embryo where you feel safe. Connect to your heart space and breathe gently and deeply, soaking in that new found relaxation.
Make sure to do lots of self-care after diving into feelings. These are vulnerable places and we profit from being gentle with ourselves afterwards. Take a bath with candles, go for a nice walk, cuddle a teddy bear, ask a friend for a hug, whatever it is that lets you feel being taken care of. Don’t rush back into work or go out socializing immediately. It’s you time!
But as I said, doing this on your own is the hardest thing and with support it is much easier. So, make sure to head over to my site and check out the possibilities in which you can get support. Write to me and let me know how this went for you. Maybe you have additional questions that I will be glad to answer. And practice makes the master! So don’t give up if it was hard, the next trigger will be just around the corner and therewith a new chance for you to dive in. I wish you good luck with it.