Many of us believe we are only supposed to have one clear feeling and emotional expression at all times.
We must “be happy” and hide everything else. The “other” emotions are to be avoided, repressed, dismissed, or at the very least hidden from the public eye.
We spend years believing that anything other than “happiness” could equal weakness, and weakness equals being left out, not looking cool in front of our friends, or not belonging. That feeling tugs at our very human instinct – to be safe at all times.
And yet, it is our feelings that give us our experience of our life too.
I spent years being a “bottler”. Believing that if I could just hold it all together and not show my hurts or pains, then everyone would truly believe I was amazing. And “amazing” meant I could feel safe, loved, and part of the group.
It sounds a little drastic typing it out like that – and while I wasn’t conscious of all this at the time, it is true. A natural, sub-conscious response so many of us have.
In Susan David’s book, Emotional Agility, she talks about three different ways we tend to handle our emotions – and one of them is as the “Bottler”. All bottling leads to bursts, in some way or another… and often those bursts start with cracks that show up as exhaustion, stress, over-working, not loving our jobs, desperately over pleasing others… (I could go on).
You don’t have to bottle your pain. Your sensitivity. Your tears.
The more I cracked myself open, the more in love I have felt. The more tears I allowed to flow, the more relief I experienced. The more expression of my anger, frustration and disbeliefs, the more empowered I became.
These days, I honour all of my emotions as much as possible. Often my tears will roll within the same sentence as my smile. My sobs will release in deep cries in the morning and by the afternoon I’m giggling with glee at the glory of my life.
I’m smiling and crying most of the time. Because all of the emotions exist within us all of the time.
It’s an odd expression to try and capture in words – and yet it’s the very existence of our lives. Joy and pain. Laughter and tears. Happy and sad.
I’m moving through some big changes right now in my life and never has this existence of dualities been more apparent to me. Being able to honour all of it is what’s moving me forward. Allowing me to unfold into the magic, instead of staying stuck in the dust.
I can’t wait for what is about to transpire – I am equally excited as I am nervous. Joyful as I am saddened.
So, here’s my motto to keep coming back to, to anchor you back to yourself and to your joy no matter what changes are going on:
My feelings give me my experience of life, and I’m here for all of them.
With love and joy to you
P.S. We talk a lot about all the feelings in Joy Club – my monthly membership club. It’s like Netflix or Classpass, for your heart and soul. Membership is currently open! And you can join here now.