These 6 words have been my emotional in-road for myself, my kids and those I’m counseling for quite some time. They seem simple, childish even, but for some reason they hit the sweet spot of vulnerability and honestly almost every time.
“It’s OK to have big feelings”
I say it when my daughter is smiling and nodding that she’s happy about something, even when I know she’s hurting. I say it when my son is wiggling and jiggling his limbs to hold back the tears. I say it when my youngest is screaming and raging – and although at the moment it’s usually met with anger, I know that at some point she’ll soften into it. I say it to myself when I’m choking up and my throat feels frozen.
Why do we feel like big feelings are unacceptable? That we need to squash them down?
Often we are terrified to be the one “out of control”, especially if we have a story around a parent being out of control. Sometimes we’re afraid of feeling shame and judgement, especially if we grew up in a family where big feelings weren’t tolerated or able to be held. And occasionally we’re really scared of what’s underneath the initial flood of tears and emotion – what beast is lurking that once “released” can’t be put back in – especially if we’ve been ignoring our gut for some time.
There is so much story wrapped up in our expression of emotion, or lack there of. There is so much fear around not being in-control.
You know the other sentence I say to myself and my kids all time? Feel the fear and do it anyway.
When we surrender to the very thing we’re most afraid of we realize it was a gigantic story we’d conjured up and wasted an extraordinary amount of energy running from. In the end, doing the very thing we’re afraid of busts a whole lot of story and creates enormous freedom and empowerment within us.
The other point I’d like to make here is that I actively seek tears, because I know that tears are the pathway to healing. Tears are biochemically designed to be an elimination pathway for stress hormones. Tears pave the way for vulnerability and healing – what you can’t “get real about” you can’t heal from. Expression over repression lovely ones.
So next time you have some big feelings – allow yourself to sit IN them – to feel the crescendo as it bursts over you and surrender to the wave on the other side – just feel into it. Much like an orgasm, emotion creates freedom and release and a pathway for connection to ourselves and those around us.
Photo by Charli Marden Design and Photography
Julie Tenner is Co-founder of Nourishing The Mother and is The Pleasure Nutritionist. Julie is a Naturopath, specialising in women’s and children's health, with specific focus on awakening women to their full potential – health for the mind, body and soul – creating lasting life change for you and your family by “coming home” to your magnificence.