Why emotions matter.
I remember sitting down with a good friend in college – a good friend who cried almost daily – realizing that I could count on one hand the number of times I had cried over emotions in my life. Physical pain was a different story. But with emotions, my default was never tears. In fact, I had worked very hard to become a strong, tough, confident woman who didn’t need to resort to tears in order to solve my problems.
I am type A and strong-willed female, raised by an even stronger willed mother, who had a very dominating mother on top of all that. We were women who did not cry over things. We took action. Solved the problem. Moved on with life. My mom was never one to sit down and talk over her feelings. From my point of view, she was either in a good mood or she was mad. I just grew up thinking there were two default modes I could be in and all the other people around me, the girls who cried over their emotions, were just weak.
I am happy to report that I now know better. I acknowledge that tears are not a sign of weakness. That there are multiple ranges of emotions outside of happy or mad. And that I can experience all of the tears, all the emotions, and still be an amazingly strong woman in how I view myself.
Although I’m still not a natural crier – I have come to terms with not suppressing my emotions should they come up. Sometimes angry tears of frustration. Sometimes sorrowful, sometimes disappointing. Whatever triggers the tears, I allow them, acknowledge what caused them, and then decide how I want to feel and move forward.
To achieve emotional maturity we have to be willing to acknowledge and allow our emotions. No matter what they are. We will – as human beings – experience a wide range of emotions. Some will be physical sensations created by our body that we can’t always control. These are sensations like physical exhaustion, stress, hunger, pain, cramps, headache, etc. And then what we are going to dwell on for this conversation, are the emotions that we create – the ones that originate from our brain, not from our body.
These are the ones that we have to start to pay more attention to because they determine how we are present in our lives and what we do with ourselves.
Let me give you an example. When I refused to cry, it was because I was making crying equivalent to weakness. Not only for myself but for others. That did not make me a very emphatic friend and I was quite judgmental of others. Did that benefit me or anyone else to hold that view? Nope, but it took time for me to recognize what I was feeling and where that feeling originated from…my thoughts.
You see until I worked through my thought that crying was a sign of weakness until I was willing to hold a different belief about crying, I wasn’t able to change how I felt about it. And if I couldn’t change how I felt, I wasn’t able to change how I responded to crying.
As I’ve said before, and will keep saying as often as I can…all our emotional feelings, come from our thoughts.
So if you want to feel differently, experience different results in your life, you have to be willing to look at and shift your thoughts.
You have to be willing to get in touch with your feelings. To acknowledge and experience them because they are tied to the actions you take in life. That is why it is so detrimental when someone wants to block out their emotions, thinking it is better to be numb or immune to emotions.
Somehow thinking that makes them stronger or more capable than the next person. When in fact, if you are numb, you will show up regularly feeling numb. Your actions will come out of numbness. Your results? Do you think your results in life will be stellar and amazing or do you think they will be average or even lackluster? I’m going to vote for the second option.
Why? Because you were tuned out to your own success. If you don’t feel confident, capable, driven, or whatever you need to become the person you want to be, you are never going to move past where you are currently.
You have to work on feeling the way you want to feel when you have the success or achievement you want to have. So if you want to score that promotion, be in that relationship, be brave enough to move across the country, whatever, you have to find your emotional connection to what it takes to achieve that.
I talked with a woman who says she hates living in her city. She can go on and on for hours about how much she hates that town, how little there is there for her, how she dreams of moving someday and how if she could just get out of this town, everything in her life would be different. When I asked her why she isn’t moving, she had a load of reasons for why she can’t make the move.
Her ultimate feeling? She’s scared to make the move. She’s never lived anywhere else. And with all the problems that have come in her life, rather than take full responsibility for them, she blames her lack of career success on the fact that she doesn’t live in a bigger city. When she is unhappy with her failed relationships, she blames it on the poor quality of men in her city.
Even when she is sick and tired of the same old restaurants, she blames it on where she lives. Her frustration over where she lives is an outlet for her to vent instead of facing her feelings and dealing with the thoughts that are keeping her stuck.
Thoughts of inadequacy, unworthiness, anger, resentment, etc. She’s got a stockpile of thoughts to work through, but because she has an outlet to blame them on, she can’t see where the true change needs to come from.
Y’all this is exactly why working with a coach is so helpful. A well-trained coach can help you see what’s going on. Their job is to reveal your thoughts to you. To make you aware of what you are thinking and feeling and allow you to process that. I love that about working with a life coach and seeing for myself how the ways that I am thinking impact how I feel and ultimately how I show up in my life.
When I can see that connection, when I can choose to change my thoughts and feelings, I achieve different results that move me forward. Since I began working with a coach, things have improved for me. And I believe they can improve for you too because there is so much value just in being able to acknowledge your thoughts.