I love Fred Rogers’ line from from the wonderful movie based on his life, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about (and feel) our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”
How comfortable are with the big feels?
During my 20’s and 30’s I experienced my parent’s divorce, my brother’s suicide, and the death of my mother and father. All of the pain, sadness, betrayal, anger and abandonment these losses brought up, left me with a deep desire to stuff, ignore or run from strong emotions. Understandably, I was afraid that if I truly allowed myself to stay with my feelings, I’d surely be swallowed by them. Then, I learned that the opposite is true: we have to “feel it, to heal it.”
As a transformational coach/speaker/author, I teach adults how to come into balance through the art and science of self-care. A big piece of my work has been learning how to be with strong or uncomfortable feelings and to not intellectualize or “positive thought” these away. I often tell my intense, passionate 19-year-old son that feelings are like the weather in Texas—constantly shifting and changing like storm clouds overhead. In fact, meditation teacher Tara Brach says that on average, a strong feeling only lasts about 90 seconds if you fully let it in. Feelings are just energy moving through our system. They come, they go.
My brother Kert, a soulful management consultant has been my biggest teacher around this theme. He regularly encourages me to allow uncomfortable feelings to come knocking, to invite them in for tea and ask them what they’re here to share.
Does hearing this make you think you’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal than embrace that which you most fear? I think most people have this reaction.
Over time I’ve found the more we’re able to just be with what we’re feeling, the more we are able to heal from old wounds. And, when we “feel our feelings,” we become more open and accessible to our loved ones, we’re more connected to our passions and desires, we become comfortable voicing our needs and drawing clear boundaries, we begin to harvest the gifts that come from living with the light and the dark (read more about polarities) and contrary to what we might think—we actually begin to feel more alive and less fearful.
And we begin to have breakthroughs that were never possible before.
Having tea with these unexpected visitors (as the 13th century poet Rumi calls them in his poem, The Guest House) actually allows us to experience more freedom, levity and ease. When we learn to fully feel what we’re feeling, we can go with the flow of life. We become more trusting and believe we can handle whatever comes our way.
Navigating strong emotions lately? I encourage you to pause, take some deep breaths, try to sit quietly with your visitor and perhaps inquire to see what gifts he/she has brought you. Put out the welcome mat and turn the kettle on.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- *NEW!* Join me Sat., April 24th from 1:30-5:30 ET for REBIRTH: A Soulful Self-Renewal Retreat ~A live online experience. Connection+ community with like minded women in a nurturing & supportive environment. I’d love to support you in finding more clarity/focus and joy around “What’s next?” Space is limited; check out our limited time bring-a-friend offer. Learn more here.
- I’m booking 2021-2022 workshops and presentations now: Consider hiring me to create an online balanced living experience to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, creative and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been working with companies/organizations like Merrill Lynch, the Center for Women in Law, the Hewlett Foundation and more. Whether it’s a workshop, keynote or custom retreat via Zoom, I’d love to discuss how I can support your team or organization. Learn more here.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups for women based on her pioneering work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas and are enjoying a new empty nest. More on Renee here.