I'm curious, were you allowed to have your full range of emotions in your home growing up??
Usually when I ask this question a very visceral, very immediate response comes to people. What comes to you?
The vast majority of people that I've met, were NOT in fact allowed their full range emotions. What I hear most often is:
-My sensitivity and artistic flair was looked down on.
-Feelings of hurt and sadness were not allowed to be expressed.
-I wasn't allowed to disagree, argue or discuss, rant, cry, shout, express anything much if it didn't fit in with my parents views.
- I was too emotional.
-I wasn't allowed to cry. That's how I learned to keep everything inside.
-Mine weren't but my mother's were.
I've noticed in my own life that a huge step that has gotten me from ruled by my inner critic, clenched, afraid and so sensitive I can barely function at times is to ALLOW my full range of emotions.
Imagine all of the keys on a piano. Every last one from deep bass to high pitched and gentle. Within you is just as many subtle and loud and diverse and singing emotions. Just as many ways of expressing you and your moment by moment, unique self.
What if we took those piano keys and only allowed one or two to ever play? The music would change dramatically and the unplayed keys would rust and become stuck. But when we allow them all, beautiful music is made. Music of a million varieties and sounds. Music of life.
It's the same with your emotions, when we only allow a very few, say Happy or Sad, the rest are there waiting to be expressed but rusting in the mean time. Our inner lives begin to rust and become stuck. Our inner critics become extreme and overly active keeping those many keys stuck and only those few operating.
When we open to the full range though, we are suddenly allowed. We can make the sweet and unique music of our soul. We can feel whatever we feel and be however we are without a classification of right or wrong. We step into self acceptance and permission. Our inner critics become quieter and our higher selves bloom and sing.
It can be scary though, to imagine letting in all the confusion that's been stored there and all the disappointment and all the regret and all the hope and all the enthusiasm and all the comfort. We haven't been taught and we haven't been allowed and so what if when we open that valve everything comes pouring out in a way that floods us and we can't turn it off?
Or what if the world around us doesn't know how to handle us because they only have their happy and sad keys playing?
We can "what if" ourselves into continual and endless stuckness. We can listen to the threats of our inner critics for the rest of our lives if we so choose.
OR and this is a BIG OR...........
We can day by day, feeling by feeling, experience by experience find out what it's like to name what's really happening for us within and find the tools and the safety to truly allow what's happening within us.
So here's a dare to you this week:
Find a moment of quiet to experience a feeling that's been trying to get your attention this week. Set your timer for one, just one, minute and allow yourself to whole heartedly feel what's there to feel. When your timer goes off after one minute, close the practice and see how you feel. This way you can not and will not uncork something that can flood you and you will be in the solitude and safety of yourself.
If a lot of "Oh, shit, that's totally me!" is coming to you from reading the above, feel free to reach out. One of my favorite experiences in my life right now is holding a loving and unconditional space for women who desperately need to allow themselves to feel what they REALLY feel. I've seen radical shifts in my clients from the process of truly allowing themselves all the way. Sign up here to begin a conversation.