· The fastest way to freedom
is to feel your feelings
- Gita Bellin
In a way, the above quote is obvious and at the same time, it is often the thing we resist the most. Or we want to be selective about the feelings we are willing to experience: only the "good" ones and not the "bad" ( ie painful or uncomfortable ones).
Yet true freedom is indeed having the courage to feel whatever feeling arises, trying not to judge it as good or bad, simply experiencing it in all ways. How does it feel and where do you feel it in your body? What thoughts arise as you have this feeling ( or sometimes, what thought caused the feeling) ? Is this a familiar feeling or something you haven't felt before? If it's familiar, what do you know about it? In what circumstances does this feeling arise? If it's new or less familiar, can you allow yourself to be curious about it?
And maybe most important, practice allowing yourself to simply "ride the wave" of emotion. If you truly allow yourself to feel whatever is arising, if you can tolerate it and not distract yourself from it, it will pass, just as a wave swells, crests and dissipates. This is real freedom!
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley