Your Feelings Matter
The feelings we live through in love and in loneliness are simply, for us, what high tide and low tide are to the sea. – Khalil Gibran
Most evenings, on my way to the gym, I get a gorgeous view of the strawberry gold sunset on top of the Hebbal flyover, over and beyond the lake. If I’m lucky, a clear sky will lazily stretch out the show; cloudy evenings make for a blink and miss event though it’s no less spectacular. All that fiery grandeur always stirs something inside me. It’s a good moment to pause and sense the tug in my heart that’s asking me to acknowledge: what am I feeling right now and why? I’m learning to stay with the emotion that shows up, to honour it by experiencing it fully, rather than push it away. For most of my life, I’ve lived in my head, thinking and doing. What that looked like was going straight to problem-solving mode, worrying endlessly, organising things around me to death and communicating with great clarity (yes, which sounds like arguing to others). Emotions? Those uncomfortable feelings that made my insides wobble a teeny bit? No, couldn’t deal with them. Couldn’t explain them. Didn’t want to be overwhelmed by them, so I tucked them away, burying those messy pieces of myself deeply. They leaked occasionally of course, while reading Danielle Steele books or while watching “weepy” movies. No, I wasn’t sad. The book/movie was sad, so I cried. And every time I wiped those tears and took a deep breath, my world moved along as before. I come from a long line of incredibly strong women on my mother’s side. We’ve been taught to be strong, not to show emotion, not to show weakness, never to even speak of it. None of that was articulated of course. It was mostly by example. That was all I knew to be because that was all I saw. Being that tough was exhausting, in body, mind and spirit. So it was with a sense of relief that I learned about vulnerability. And discovered that being emotionally intelligent first meant that I needed to acknowledge my own full range of emotions. Our vast emotional territory is what makes us human – it’s what connects us to ourselves to allow us to connect to others. That’s an important distinction. You can’t be “emotionally available” for anyone else if you’re not available for yourself first. Acknowledging sadness, fear, guilt, regret, resentment, anger, hurt and pain allows us in turn to truly feel joy, euphoria, gratitude, happiness, love, compassion and peace. Emotions only want to wash through you; they are all valid and they all matter. Shutting out the “bad” to feel only the “good” doesn’t work. If you take that route you will soon feel nothing at all. Would you rather live a life in full technicolour or endless shades of grey? I’m still unraveling my stuck emotions. Big lingering ones are easy to find. They gently remind me of something in my life that matters deeply to me. It’s the nuanced, layered, often paradoxical ones that take a while to emerge that make me wonder about the why story. Staying curious is key. Seek your wholeness in spaces that let you feel your emotions. Music, the company of a loved one, nature… all these are powerful ways to release, share and accept your feelings. Because they matter.