I had a tendency for many years to categorise my feelings as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
The ‘good’ feelings included joy, love, delight and excitement.
The ‘bad’ feelings included worry, fear, anger and resentment.
The ‘good’ feelings were easy for me to listen to and embrace, to feel and to share.
However, the ‘bad’ feelings I considered to be best kept hidden, as I felt hugely uncomfortable, afraid and even ashamed to be feeling them. I did everything in my power to minimise them, mask them or even completely ignore them, squishing them down into a tiny knot in my belly. If my anger was a person, I would cross the road to avoid acknowledging it! I didn’t want to feel any of what I considered ‘bad’ feelings and I certainly wasn’t comfortable airing them or sharing them with anyone, let alone myself.
Then, in 2010, I began the 4-year Relationship Studies programme in UCC and I was introduced to a whole new language of concepts that have transformed my life and my relationships, including how I feel about all my feelings.
I’ve learned that all our feelings are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’. They simply are.
Our feelings are our wisdom and our intuition, guiding us every day.
Our feelings are constantly communicating with us. Our ‘unsettling’ feelings, including worry, anger and fear, are calling us to take action for ourselves, not against another.
All our feelings always make sense. When we try to repress or block feeling some of our feelings, we block ourselves from speaking our truth and fully expressing ourselves.
‘Anger’ for me was a complete ‘no no, don’t go there’ emotion. When I felt angry, I disguised it as upset or annoyed or cross but none of these words really reflected the true feeling of anger I felt. Basically, I was afraid of anger. I had it completely confused with aggression. I believed that anger was ‘bad’ and ‘harmful’ and ‘hurtful’. So, I tried to ignore it, repress it and avoided naming it whenever I felt it. I renamed it as upset, a feeling I was comfortable to feel, express and share.
Then I learned that ‘Anger’ and ‘Aggression’ are completely different.
Anger is an emotion. Aggression is a behaviour.
Anger is a feeling that is very much a part of being human and helps us take action for ourselves. Aggression is a behaviour and is always against another person.
Anger is for me. Aggression is against you.
With this new understanding, I began to slowly allow myself feel my anger as it came up for me. Rather than push it down or mask it or bury it, I began to express it, own it as my creation, knowing this feeling of anger was for me, calling me to take action for myself.
- feel all our feelings
- our feelings are our wisdom and intuition
- our feelings always make sense