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Be more in touch with your authentic emotions (all of them) Hiding or blocking them so other people can’t see them hides your real self from them and from you too.

Feelings are a real and natural part of living. Not having feelings is only a short step away from not being alive.

Grown ups have Lots of Real feelings

Start with the list of authentic emotions on the previous page. It’s a special one, created by Pia Mellody and the team of therapists at ‘The Meadows’ in Arizona to help people get in touch with their real feelings.

It also highlights the understanding that experiencing and being aware of your authentic emotions is a positive process. Whenever you do this in a healthy way, each feeling brings deep and valuable gifts with it.

I have made the page large enough to print. On a fridge or mirror it helps you keep in touch with what your emotions are doing inside you. I have a copy on my wall and when working with people whose emotions seems to be a bit blocked I use the list as a prompt while asking the questions below the list on the previous page.

Sharing real feelings

To function as self aware grown ups, particularly in relationships, we need to be able to be in touch with our real feelings. We also need to be able to share these in 'clean' or authentic ways with other people. This may take a little practice if we have been told for most of our life that it is not OK to do this.

There are many healthy ways to feel your feelings and share them with others. As with any other part of personal growth it helps to have a few guidelines for working with your ‘feelings’.

The trouble is that remembering ‘guidelines’ involves logical thought and thinking is the very thing that breaks the connection with real feelings. The following points may however be worth keeping  in mind.

There are no ‘bad’ emotions but there are many inappropriate ways of expressing them.

If your rational mind gets too involved it may misinterpret feelings, report them inaccurately or judge them unfairly. There are some things to avoid if you want to share your  feelings  honestly with others. (see box ‘These are not real feelings’)

Feelings are not always conveyed in words. There are lots of non-verbal ways to communicate whatever we are feeling. Most of these are more accurate and honest anyway.

People who are uncomfortable about your feelings are usually people with poor boundaries and therefore too many active inner selves. Don’t let their criticism or questions stop you having your feelings and experiencing the gifts that come from regularly acknowledging what you are feeling.

Try to get out of the habit of offering reasons or explanations to justify what you are feeling, whether its positive or negative. Reasoning and explaining involves the logical mind, the one part of you where it is hardest to ‘feel’. If you express sadness and someone asks you ‘why’ remind yourself that you do not owe any other human being an explanation for the way you are feeling or the emotion you are experiencing.

You might choose to explain, but only if you want to, not as a justification for  feeling that emotion inside you.

Notice that the authentic emotions listed on the previous page don’t include examples of what other people do to support or to undermine our emotions. Example,  ‘feeling loved’ or ‘feeling not loved’-  ‘not valued’. They are  observations not authentic feelings.

People who are uncomfortable about sharing feelings are usually people with poor boundaries.

Don’t let their criticism or questions stop you having and holding  your feelings and experiencing the gifts that come from doing that  regularly.

Asking someone for an explanation will block all but the most powerful emotions.

A powerful way to stop someone experiencing an emotion is to tell them they shouldn’t feel that way and then ask for an explanation as to why they are doing this. (Did this happen to you as a child?)

It really is OK to have that feeling all by Yourself - It’s yours and You Own it 100%

If you feel you need to add a “because” or a reason why, when you describe a feeling then usually it’s not really an authentic feeling. You are sharing part of the ownership (the reason) for that feeling to somebody else.

Remind yourself that you do not owe any other human being an explanation for the way you really feel or the emotion you really are experiencing.

Then go ahead and have your feeling, but feel it for just yourself, and don’t let anyone else have any part of owning it.