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How To Get Rid Of Emotions You Hate Feeling (Part I)

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Yesterday I got a sunburn. From lying on the grass for 15 minutes in between picking up a package at the post office, and taking a call with my next client for the day. It was the first time I had laid on grass since September and it was probably the first time I had worn a tank top without bringing a sweater since August.

Needless to say, it was a beautiful Montana afternoon. Blue skies. Big puffy clouds up above. Sun coming down. People on bikes and in shorts and dresses and sandals.

“I made it!!” I thought. Summer is finally here. I was out of the woods with winter. And man did it feel great. Like working hard and finally getting the A. Or the enjoyment of a really clean closet once you put the effort into cleaning it out.

About two hours later, I was in a coffee shop with my friend, sitting with my back to the window. His eyes dart towards the door and he smirks… “Whoa look at the rain come down!”

In an “are you kidding me” eye roll glance I turn my head toward the window and see the rain, coming down, hard.

“What the hell Montana!?” I said and giggled, looking at the changing tide with a loving glance.

I knew the weather was extreme here when I moved here, but I didn’t realize how quickly in a day it can change. From sunburn to rainboots in two hours flat. I certainly wasn’t used to this sort of thing, but it was actually kind of cool. Montana has such a dynamic personality!

There’s a joke here that goes “If you don’t like the weather in Montana…wait five minutes.”

The extremes can be a bit jarring, but it’s all part of the landscape. It’s unpredictable, but it’s also what makes this place so dynamic. So dramatically breathtaking. It’s part of what makes it special and great.

And this got me thinking about life. And emotions.

People tend to think that there are “good” or acceptable emotions, and that there are “bad” or unacceptable emotions. We’re ok with feeling certain things, and absolute no fucking WAY ok with feeling other things (shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, worry).

And not only are we not ok with feeling these things, but we all build up very intricate systems to guard against all the evil “bad” emotions when they show up. Like distractions to “get our mind off” whatever we’re feeling. Or alcohol to “numb out the pain.”  Or Facebook to get attention from other people so we don’t need to think about how we’re feeling.

But by doing these things, by distracting, by numbing, by placing our attention elsewhere, we’re actually just putting a band-aid on the emotion. And by doing that, we’re actually making the wound worse. Because it doesn’t get to breathe. It never gets to heal. It never gets to do what it came here to do…which is be felt, and then move on. Instead, it gets trapped.

The only way to heal and the only way to “get rid of” a tough emotion is to actually allow the emotion to be there. To actually feel it. To let it run through the body and run its course, rather than be trapped in there by us trying to put band-aids on it all the time. The true surgery for emotions is not to cover them up, but rather to allow. Accept. Feel. Embrace.

There’s a statistic that says that if you truly feel a feeling for 90 seconds, it will disappear. 90 SECONDS. Which is so much better than the days, weeks, years it usually sticks around by us trying not to feel.

So next time you have a tough emotion creep up, next time you hate yourself for missing an ex, or are in total grief over losing a loved one, or so worried about your future you can hardly sleep, or feeling so guilty about something you did (or didn’t do) in the past, remember to feel the feeling.

If you don’t like how you’re feeling…wait five minutes. Give it time to be there.

By allowing, by giving the emotion space and time, you will experience a sense of ease and the emotion will no longer have a hold on you. And know that the ability to feel a broad spectrum of emotions is one of the most beautiful things about you. It makes you dynamic. And great. And uniquely you.

After my teacup was empty, and after my meeting with my friend was over, I grabbed my bag to head out the door and guess what…the sun was once again shining. I headed back out to the grass and watched the clouds go by.

And this is a Wildheart Life. Riding the wave. Being honest about what you’re feeling. Lying on the grass. :)

This is Part I of this post. Part II, next week will tell you how to actually do this whole “feel your feelings” thing. Stay tuned.

What tough emotions are you experiencing right now? What do you tend to want to do when you start feeling tough emotions? What do you think the effect of that has been? Leave a comment below.

Xo, S

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11 Responses to How To Get Rid Of Emotions You Hate Feeling (Part I)

  1. Brittany says:

    Hi Sally,
    I love this post. I feel like i’ve spent years running from my emotions, not wanting to feel them. But recently, I decided enough was enough, and I would just do whatever I felt like I needed to do. I’ve cried and cried, i’ve yelled (not at others though) and generally just begun to learn to sit with my emotions, and to say when i’m not ok. As such, I really feel like I actually am beginning to move on from past hurts, into a brighter, better future. I know i’ll have rough patches, but I feel better equipped. Stories like yours help remind me I’m doing the right thing, so thank you.
    Also, thats crazy about the weather, I bet it teaches you to be in the moment eh…

    <3 Brittany

    • Sallyhope says:

      YES! That’s the secret. If you let yourself feel them, do the crying and the yelling and the sitting in them, that’s actually what allows them to move on. We might still feel pain, but it doesn’t still have the same hold on us. GOOD JOB DUDE! You’re definitely doing the right thing, in my book.

      And you’re definitely right…crazy weather totally has me appreciate the moment. For sure.

  2. Emily says:

    I really enjoyed reading this after our chat yesterday. I got an upleasant surprise yesterday and let myself be angry and cry about it. And I woke up this morning feeling better. It’s a start, n’est pas?

  3. E Harper says:

    Sally,

    You are so wise and so right and I love that I just read this. …it happened in a moment when I needed it most….right after a big meltdown. I cried for a solid 5 minutes and was still feeling unsettled and scared and then I read your blog, and well…I let it go. I was crying about something that hasn’t even happened yet, a fear about something that doesn’t truly exist, and giving myself anxiety thinking about such. I felt what I needed to feel and cried to cleanse the feeling much like the rain you experienced. It’s funny, after living in CA for almost 9 years and not having much rain, now when it rains here in Chicago I embrace it, even if I cringe at the initial downpour because I am grateful for the dramatic weather and season changes. Rain is so beautiful and plants need it to survive and well, so do I! Thank you Sally for being a part of my life, I love you dearly and miss you madly. – E

    • Sallyhope says:

      Miss E…miss you so much lady. I’m so glad that this resonated with you. Your soft sweet tender courageous heart blows me away all the time. Love you.

  4. Dana Leigh says:

    Oh I so totally needed to read this right now. And probably on a regular basis as a reminder. I have always had a really bad habit of “just getting over” things and I know I do that to my emotions way too often. I have been anxious the last week or so trying to avoid some confusing feelings and this was just the reminder I needed to take a minute and let myself feel what I’m feeling. Really try and deal with it and give it its due time to process. I am feeling so much better and got so much more done today after taking that minute or two. Thank you, this is such an excellent reminder, I think too many people do this every day.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Lady I agree with you, totally. If we all remembered to do this on a daily basis, the world would be SUCH a better place. We’d have aware, conscious beings walking around handling their own stuff so as not to take it out on others and make bad decisions etc. I could go on and on. But yes, you’re right, it’s such a gift to feel the feelings. I swear, I don’t know how I ever lived not doing it. And it took me a looooooooong time to learn this. Thanks so much for chiming in.

      XO

  5. Ellen says:

    I was digging out your LOVE technique for a client, and just realized the image for this post is the CARD THAT I SENT YOU, I did not even realize that when I picked it out, it was just so SALLY that I had to send it to you. Yowza. <3

  6. Anan says:

    Hey Sally!
    I read your part 2 before your part 1 and I must say its very impressive! Yea, I actually needed this at this point of time. Its been 1 year and six months I hv neen running away from this particular feeling which gives me pain and nothing else. All I want to do is get rid of it now and maybe I know how to dnow. I still have a question in mind. Previously I had asked, how do u feel the feeling exactly? If feeling it means to let it out; cry it out, then m doing tht for past one year. Im letting it out but why has not it worked yet? Why do i still feel the suffering? Im letting myself feel it completely..y isn’t it working for me?

    • Sally Hope says:

      Hey there Anan this is SUCH a great question. And I know what you mean. The fear that most people have when they hear this is that they will never STOP feeling the feeling. But that rarely happens when you truly feel the feeling without trying to change it, move it, or stop it in anyway.

      The way that I really feel it is by examining it. I first ask myself “What feeling am I experiencing right now?” And then I go through the LOVE technique from there.

      So it’s

      “What am I experiencing myself feel right now?”
      and then I ask

      “And where in my body am I feeling that?” and “And what does that feel like?”

      I stay there for awhile until I feel like I get a clear picture of the feelings in my body.
      And then I ask…

      “And what’s here now?”

      Sometimes when I ask that, I realize that underneath my original feeling is actually a deeper feeling, and then I start the questions over.

      This is different than just “reacting” to the feelings that are showing up. When you examine what’s really happening, you can get to the root of the feeling. Once you get there, you can really truly start working through it.

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