I used to struggle with my emotions, a lot.
I'd get attached to my highs & blissful states, and reject anything that didn't feel good. When I would feel grief, fear, anxiety, depression or general discomfort, my immediate reaction would be "How do I fix this...NOW?"
Break out the books, the articles, the healing sessions.
I would go into such tense spaces of trying to make my discomfort go away that all my energy was focusing on the problem while desperately trying to return to happy feelings.
And because of that dynamic, I would have daily anxiety & panic attacks, my thoughts were super self-destructive and I would burnout- a lot.
"Why can't I just be happy?"
I would ask myself that daily.
The turning point for me in all of this was a concept called... Feeling your emotions without judgement or making any meaning or story of them.
See, every time I would feel anything uncomfortable, I automatically would think something was wrong. That this *must* be linked to something that happened in childhood, or maybe from a past relationship & if I just focus and meditate hard enough I can figure it out and finally be FREE!
So the idea of just noticing an emotion come up, feeling it & being with it without making it "mean" anything or attempting to fix it felt... impossible!
This meant I really had to sit with what's there, feel the tension and be okay with it. How could I possibly be okay with feeling like shit?
Heres the thing, I know it hurts, I know it doesn't feel good and it's uncomfortable. But the truth about emotions is that they are meant to be visitors, coming & going without resistance. When the resistance shows up, that's when they get stuck in the body. That's when it builds & builds and we start feeling depression or anxiety (yes, this is a controversial topic.)
When we aren't given permission as children to feel the way we feel, we don't learn the tools we need as adults to process trauma & emotion. In most cases, we can't feel safe to do that. So instead of the natural flow of emotions, we begin to attach ourselves to what feels good and resent or fear anything that doesn't.
And maybe we get critical of ourselves when we don't feel so good. Maybe we think that because we're feeling a certain way it means we're stupid, worthless, bad, wrong or a failure.
I'm here to tell you none of that is true. Every single person on this planet has trauma. Every single person on this planet has bad days, weeks, months or even years. We ALL struggle, some of us are just better at hiding it than others.
If we want to transcend the cultural shame of not feeling "super great and blissful all the time!" we must begin to meet ourselves where we are at.
By giving ourselves permission to feel exactly how we feel, we actually break the stigma of something is wrong when we don't feel good and it must be fixed.
Our bodies can relax, they can breathe and begin to heal & process what is going on.
When heavy emotion comes up, it could be from anything. It could be something that didn't get fully healed when you were seven and the class bully stole your favorite pen. It's important to not wonder why this is here, but simply just BE with what's here. Because it's okay, this will pass and there is absolutely nothing wrong in this moment. You are being a human and going through the ups & downs of this experience.
Giving yourself care in these moments is vital. Resting, sleeping, eating nourishing meals, drinking lots of water, meditation, movement, community & nature are all important factors in our health. It's common to reject giving ourselves the care we need and to keep pushing our bodies. I promise you, you cannot keep giving from an empty cup, fill yours then show up for others when you feel ready.
Be gentle with yourself, forgive yourself and know that everything you're feeling will pass. By continuing to show up with love & support for yourself when you feel down, you are nurturing the parts of you that need love. These wounds & traumas don't need anger, resistance or rejection- they need someone to show up and tell them "Hello, I see you. I'm listening & you're welcome here." They may scream, they may make your heart race & blood boil, but if you can sit in that discomfort without trying to change the experience but rather being fully present in it... this amazing thing happens. The emotion leaves. You feel clearer, lighter, stronger. It no longer feels like theres this constant lump in your chest or hole in your stomach, because the wound has been processed.
This is what most of us are afraid of, this exact experience, because it's not easy to sit there in the worst anxiety attack or depression of your life and say "I see you." It's easier to detach and stuff it deep inside.
But I promise you, the only way out is through. And once you continue to show up, show up & show up for these emotions, they leave. They are integrated, they are understood, they are heard- that's all they ever needed. Then naturally, the joy comes back. The bliss becomes a familiar feeling and happiness feels natural. Healing trauma doesn't have to be a forceful, confusing & expensive experience. Our bodies have wisdom, all we have to do is listen with gentle, understanding & compassionate ears.