Written by therapist Cotorey Seals
Most recently I came up with an emotions song to help a young client of mine regulate his emotions when he is frustrated:
It’s okay to feel x2
Am I happy, or am I sad, am I scared or am I mad
Am I excited or am I tender
How do I feel, how do I feel?
This concept of controlling emotions is nothing new and to be honest, adults can find themselves throwing temper tantrums when their needs are not being met.
In this blog, I want to address emotions, and my hope is that you would walk away with a few tips to help you feel your emotions and be able to use them to express yourself and navigate the world around you.
So what are emotions?
Simply put, emotions are the part of a person’s character that consists of their feelings, as opposed to their thoughts. An emotion is a feeling such as happiness, love, fear, anger, or hatred, which can be caused by the situation that you are in or the people you are with.
Emotions: it’s okay to feel
If you don’t give yourself permission to feel your emotions, then you’re not giving yourself permission to express your emotions. When I say feel your emotions, I mean to engage with them, to sit in them, to be okay with whatever emotion a situation may bring up. I am sure a story pops in your mind when it comes to your emotions being validated or rejected. Your experience may have caused you to embrace or fear whatever you may be feeling. Depending on the experience, you may feel comfortable expressing how you feel or may fear your emotions. Say it with me! My feelings are not bad! My experience may have been.
- Tip 1 – if no one told you, I’ll say it here! It is okay to feel and engage in your emotions. Somewhere down the line, you may have learned that bad things happen when you express how you feel. Learning to see emotions as a tool to express yourself gives you the freedom to use them.
- Tip 2 – Name it! Like the song, tell me how you feel? I feel _______. Are you happy, sad, scared, mad, excited, tender? Let these core emotions be a map to feel and engage your feelings. Explore why you feel that emotion. Take note of the people, places, and situations you are in and how they make you feel. Is it them or you?
- Tip 3 – Accept your unique voice and expression. If you believe it’s bad to feel your emotions, then you may believe you’re a bad person. In changing your perspective, you can accept who you are. Truth is, you are on a journey of learning how to express how you feel in a healthy way, but don’t worry! Everyone goes on this journey at some point in their lives.
Emotions: Where are we going?
I have heard it said that emotions are horrible principles but great advisers. Leading with our emotions is never a good idea, but the ability to reason and think through them like an advisor could help us navigate the world in a way that helps us use emotions to get the best outcome in our everyday lives.
- Tip 4 – Don’t lead with your emotions. When you do this, people usually experience your unprocessed and unfiltered emotions . To avoid this, take time to process why you are feeling what you are feeling, and like tip 2, name it.
- Tip 5 – Let your emotions work for you. Emotions are great guides and great heart locators. They warn us that something is wrong. If we like them to work for us and not work to suppress, hide, or run from them, they can help us navigate life well. We have the ability to control where we go and gain the power to process and express how we feel.
My hope in you feeling your emotions would be that you’d understand that you do not have to be afraid of your emotions. They are actually a gift that God gave so that we would navigate life well. Understanding your emotions are tools to help you express how you feel so that you would know where you are going.
If you are on a journey of learning how to process and feel your emotions properly, try reaching out to a therapist. We would love to sit and process with you. Call today