I used to hold my emotions and feelings with so tight a grip, true suffocation would ensue. It still happens, although not as often and a big personal growth intention that I have been holding for the past six months has been to feel my feelings. To let my feelings really seep in, like a good, thick coat of stain on a piece of wood. It's hard and I don't like it.
I read somewhere that the skills and habits and patterns you develop the first half of your life don't necessarily serve you in your second half of life. This makes things complicated. Or at least it has for me. So I have been on this adventure of feeling my feelings, all of them in fact; sadness, joy, frustration, depression, contentment, passion, worried, curious, happy, anger, and all the ones in between.
Naming feelings is quite powerful. Similar to meditation practice and naming thoughts as they arise, articulating my feelings by naming them adds a whole other dimension to the feeling itself. It's self-validating and gives them a container to be in, which sounds super woo woo and weird, but it has given me such an immense amount of positive power with the difficult feelings.
I have a new relationship to crying. I was never a huge crier growing up. If I cried, I did it behind closed doors, but would let it build up so much that it felt as though a tsunami came over and through me when I did let it out. Now, I find comfort in shedding tears and similar to passing gas, better out than in.
Holding my cards close doesn't let people in. When I don't talk about the difficult stuff, I don't give the people in my life an opportunity to support and hold me with tenderness, compassion, and care. When I open up, even just a little bit, not only do I find breathing room, but I get to have more love and support in my life. Can't complain about that.
Feelings are the ticker tape of life. Nothing lasts forever. Feelings are impermanent. Similar to the news ticker tape at the bottom of the screen, letting feelings move through me without getting stuck is a practice I continue to hone and develop. It's like riding a big ass wave.
I am constantly reminded that feeling my feelings is a constant practice. There is no end goal, finish line, or miraculous destination. It's a radical act of self-compassion and is super challenging at times but it's so worth it. So incredibly worth it.