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Embracing Difficult Emotions

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Embracing Difficult Emotions

Regardless of what kind of relationship you are in, the foundation for its success is based on your ability to experience and articulate your feelings.†† The authentic self disclosure of the joy, fear, anger and pleasure that your time together brings you is the adhesive material that makes relationships real. Most of us are handicapped by our feelings. Not only do we not often give ourselves the permission and space to feel them, but often they exist without us even being able to name them. Our internal experiences that donít get expressed with language donít just go away. They live in us and often surprise us with their sudden re-appearance at times when we least expect them.

Thinking about our feelings like weather patterns is a helpful beginning. Like a sudden storm, they inform and distract with their intensity. They are changeable and act on the environment and relationships you are in with great power. They reflect the nature of the moment with great accuracy.†† Our ability to experience and share our feelings in meaningful ways is one of the profound marks of our humanity.

Yet feelings are for many people a locked box; an experience that overwhelms and is difficult to express. We are taught in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of reasons to suppress our feelings. We learn to silence our feelings so well that the messages in our bodies are not even discernible.† Suppressed feelings are not as invisible as you might think. They take on a life in our dreams and eventually become diseases in our bodies. Our inability to express our feelings cuts us off not only from our own experience but limits the connection we feel with the people we love most.

Part of the reason we disconnect from our emotional life is because we are afraid we will be overtaken by our feelings. Small children are frequently shaken by the enormity of their emotional experience. When was the last time you witnessed a temper tantrum in the grocery store–what better metaphor for a giant storm raging inside a little body? What happened when your feelings were too big to hold when you were a child?† What happens now?

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Read more: Love, Making Love Sustainable, Mental Wellness, Relationships, Sex, Spirit, , ,

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.† In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,† she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice.†It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." †The book is available on ebook.† Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

59 comments

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8:25AM PDT on Sep 8, 2013

When stuff gets too tough I walk my dogs or snuggle with my cats....

7:37AM PDT on Sep 8, 2013

thanks

4:44AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Thanks for sharing. Great article :)

12:35PM PST on Dec 8, 2011

Thank you, Wendy. Will keep trying!

10:34PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

good article

1:43PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Repression is something that's usually instilled by others (most usually in childhood) or comes about as the result of bad experience. Often it's how are childhood emotional outpourings are dealt with by the adults that has the biggest impact on how emotionally expressive we are. How often are anger, sadness, fear... classed as negative emotions, when it's really what actions that are taken as a result that have positive or negative connotations?

10:50AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Thank you very much. I know for sure we can´t push our feelings aside.
We have to work deeply.

10:08AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Interesting article, thanks!

7:22AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

I have been working on this lately and appreciate the article.

1:57AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Being in touch with, and being able to express your emotions is invaluable. Being sensitive to your emotions and to the emotions of others around you changes your whole life experience-good article.

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