“People try to bottle up their emotions, as if it's somehow wrong to have natural reactions to life.” ~ Colleen Hoover, 'Maybe Someday'
Why am I on a kick about ‘hiding our feelings’ you might be wondering?
And even if you haven’t been wondering, I’m going to tell you. I was a master at hiding my feelings, even from an early age. I remember being on a camping trip when I was a girl scout and I had to carry a pot of boiling water from the stove to a table where we were going to wash dishes. Some of the water splashed out onto me and burned my stomach. Ouch, it really hurt! But I didn’t say anything or tell anyone. I still have a scar on my stomach from that event. (yes, that's my actual girl scout sash in the photo)
Another time I was taking bareback horse-riding lessons and the horse stepped on my toe (I was only wearing tennis shoes). Another ouch. And again, I just took the pain and didn’t say anything to anyone (no scar on that one).
Declaring my pain in those two instances would have been a natural reaction to life. I don’t think anyone would have criticized me for saying ‘ouch, that hurt,’ yet even from that young age (I think I was around 10 years old), I must have gotten a message that it wasn’t okay to share my emotions or feelings.
My married life led me to getting a PhD in hiding my feelings. My husband would use my vulnerabilities and weaknesses against me in some sort of emotional blackmail, so I quickly learned to hide any sort of emotions that could be used against me.
So, imagine my delight, when I found a belief system that seemed to encourage me to hide these negative emotions. And I pursued this belief system with vigor. I even became a minister and founded two churches.
"I hid all the things I was feeling-- and indeed I did not know what they were, except that all the peace of that autumnal journey was gone”
I sent out a video of an impromptu interview I did a couple of weeks ago. You can see it here….(Disclaimer: no makeup, bad hair day, impromptu means I may not have been too clear – but I’m happy I took action).
But doing this interview reminded me how I love, love, love the topic of ‘hiding our feelings.’ I was a MASTER at hiding my feelings – and even more than hiding – at DENYING my feelings. Especially the negative ones. Or the ones I thought made me vulnerable. And I thought this was the spiritual thing to do. After all, aren’t we told we need to not get angry, always forgive quickly, and stay away from negative vibrations?
Quite frankly, I was afraid to feel my sadness and my disappointment. So I avoided it. Like the plague.
But no more!
I’m devoting my next several blogs to this topic. In fact, this may be the focus of my coaching from now on. I’m taking a stand. In order to create a badass life, raising our ‘vibration’ is not enough. We need to stop hiding our feelings and learn to use these uncomfortable feelings to uncover our brilliance and unmask our beauty, power, and authenticity! We can leverage the intensity of our feelings to push through our blocks and rise up and reclaim our power.
Scary? Yes! But it feels right to me. It feels like an authentic approach to living my life and helps me be me.
But this isn’t a popular topic.
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.