Following last week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions where I talked about what causes us to have a pattern of not talking about our feelings, this week I’m focusing on evolving our relationship with our feelings. There are six key habits that offer clues about how we relate to our feelings: hoarding, clamping, being chatty, shooting, denying/masking, and crying. Recognising our own habits helps us to be more conscious, aware and present.

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Some nuggets from the episode

  • Your feelings need to be expressed so that they can be soothed, examined and put into context instead of making you ill or self-destructive.
  • There isn’t a ‘perfect’ way for us to express our feelings, not least because we can’t control the uncontrollable and legislate for how others will respond. But there are definitely some habits that are helpful instead of harmful.
  • Hoarding (emotionally) is where we amass feelings without usage or purpose. Might store them ‘just in case’ or because we’re afraid of what will unleash if we allow us to feel. Not unusual to feel attached even though the feelings and story around them are doing us more harm than good.
  • If we have a habit of hoarding our feelings, we need to bring what we’re hoarding into our awareness by making a list of it. This way, we can then figure out what we can let go of. We need to write until we’ve run out of things to write. And then add on as other things pop into our head.
  • Journaling will put you back in touch with what you’re thinking and feelings. You can download my Unsent Letter Guide and Feelings Diary guide here.

Use Unsent Letters to write out your feelings and the story around them so that you can put them into perspective and heal.

  • When we clamp our feelings, it’s not with the aim of hoarding but to deal with them on our own. We self-reflect, we try to solve problems on our own or on our schedule, and this is undoubtedly beneficial, but it can bring its own set of problems. Weighing our words too much, closing people out for fear of burdening them with our feelings, not asking for help, can all leave us feeling isolated.

It’s OK to self-reflect, to try to solve problems on our own, but when we’re in emotional turmoil, it’s time to talk and share. It’s time to express.

  • Sometimes we let our feelings out by being chatty, and this can help us sort through our feelings. Better out than in! But sometimes, we might not actually be talking about feelings. In some instances, we might be ‘dumping and charging up’.
  • When we use chattiness to express our feelings, we also need to be aware of whether we are acknowledging and recognising our feelings. Do we believe that we can help us?
  • Sometimes in our urge to chat or make what might be surface conversation, we might talk to the wrong person or be inadvertently insensitive.
  • The power of the pause when we’re chatty to express feelings can help us to tune into ourselves and self-reflect.
  • When we say that we’re a “straight-shooter” or that we’re “just very honest”, we tend to shoot with our feelings. We may react quickly or shut down communication. Anger and making our feelings known might actually be a defence mechanism.
  • The power of the pause is also super beneficial here, but we also need to acknowledge whether we really are that honest? Are we a straight-shooter when we want to fire off, but struggling to be honest elsewhere?
  • When we are aware that we maybe sometimes speak before we think or charge in like a bull in a china shop, it’s handy to remind ourselves that what we’re saying/thinking — it’s just a draft. It’s not the final word on things.

Expressing our feelings isn’t about being ‘right’. It’s to represent ourselves and participate in our relationships while being open to feedback and gaining further intelligence about our feelings.

  • When we deny/mask our feelings by claiming that we’re fine, OK, that we don’t care, that we don’t need anybody, we’re just bullshitting ourselves. What follows next are masking habits like people pleasing and passive-aggression. Both do far more damage to us and/or our relationships than being honest.
  • People pleasing is anxiety in action.
  • Recognising our pleaser and passive-aggressive habits when they show up helps us to figure out what we’re really thinking and feeling, and what we need to do next to take care.
  • Sometimes we cry to express our feelings. Crying isn’t bad and has a cleaning/releasing effect, but crying isn’t the same as communicating our feelings. We need to pay attention if crying is our go-to and we don’t actually resolve issues.
  • Following up even though we cried helps to teach ourselves to show up to the things that we need to deal with. It also means that we will compassionately interrogate our feelings a bit more so that we understand what we’re really crying about.

Links mentioned

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