To a child all feelings may seem huge, since they feel so small – and are. Children are very natural about their feelings. They experience them and let them go. Unfortunately, it does not take long before we learn that our feelings are unwanted and inconvenient. Then we start to reject them and hold them in with all the negative effects that brings.
What Happens To Our Feelings?
Our feelings become objectified. We learn to treat them like objects at a store, some unwanted and others preferred as demonstrated to us by our families and educators.
And so the stress starts. According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga in a June, 2010 article in Natural Awakenings, Healing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist,
“It is important to recognize that most people don’t know the difference between tension and stress…
He observes that stressors—thoughts and reactions to our lifestyle, relationships, work environment and family life—are introduced through the ego mind. Emotionally charged thoughts and feelings of blame, shame or guilt then get metabolized into our biological body system. Stored in the form of toxins and neuro-glandular imbalances, these feelings create energy blocks that prevent the free flow of energy, or prana, the body’s self-healing wisdom.
Energy blocks may take the form of muscular tensions and weakness in liver, kidney and digestive functions. Gradual decline results in a progressive deterioration of biological processes and consequently can manifest in external symptoms of fatigue, fear, anxiety and insecurity.”
Essentially we are socialized to have certain emotions and reject others and our unwanted emotions then get stuck in our bodies and gradually make us sick.
Why Rejecting Feelings Is A Mistake
When we reject our feelings, we cannot own them and process them.
When we are processing our feelings, we take them in, accept them feel them and listen to them. It is called emotional metabolism.
Metabolism comes from the greek word ” metabole” for change or transformation. At any given time as we interact with our world we are in the process of metabolism – of perceptions, thoughts, feelings, emotions as well as material substances such as food and water. All forms of life engage in metabolism, from plants to humans.
When we are unable to metabolize a food it will clog our bodies. When we are unable to metabolize or process emotions, they will clog our system as well. Ideally we process all food and experiences each day so that we are in a state of flowing with life. If only it were that simple!
It is often not possible to process all information and feelings when they occur. Some feelings can be part of a larger process. The grieving process is a good example of that. However, the most difficult situations are those where an acceptable arrangement is not possible – situations that are abusive, demeaning, and dehumanizing – because the pain of these situations often does long-term damage to the energy of the body, and takes a long time to heal.
Learning To Accept And Release Feelings
It can be useful to think of feelings as information. When the feelings are the result of a past experience transferred onto the present, it is a sign that there is unfinished business in the past that must be dealt with. Another way of looking at it is that energy has become blocked in the body, it has not been metabolized. Under these circumstances it is our job to accept the feelings so that they can be released.
There are releasing practices available including meditation,and the energy healing practices of eft (emotional freedom technique) and reiki that help with processing emotions. Writing in a journaling has been widely used and can be effective. Therapy groups have been helpful to many. The more severe the experiences causing blocked energy the greater the need for therapeutic solutions. The body has its wisdom and in some severely abusive situations it will “store” emotions to be processed at a later date if that is what is needed to survive.
Highly sensitive people and severely abused people need to be aware that they can accept and take charge of their healing process by finding therapeutic practices and groups that will let them forgive and let go of the past. Engaging in such practices helps minimize the potential for long term destructive addiction and therefore is valuable for all people.