"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.
I created a class around this topic. I called it Spiritual Bypassing, which is a term coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984. Spiritual bypassing is when we use our spiritual practices or beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, our unresolved wounds, and our needs.
I had the biggest drop out rate ever and the lowest sign up rate. I may have been excited to talk about it, but others didn’t share my enthusiasm.
Here's the thing: when I finally allowed myself to fully feel my negative feelings – and to allow them and to make friends with them – I felt like I was finally free. Free of the pretending. Free of living ‘life in neutral.’ Free to be me. And this is why I’m so excited about this topic.
So, let’s dive in.
How does this get started?
Learning to hide our feelings starts early in life. Most of us weren’t encouraged to display intense emotions, especially negative ones. We had to behave and mind our manners. Maybe we got the message that ‘children are seen and not heard.’ Talking back? Only if you wanted your mouth washed out with soap! How about this one (my un-favorite)? “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!” So, our anger, frustration, sadness, grief, and questioning got buried.
On a more subtle level, we may have been separated during holiday meals and put at the ‘kid’s table.’ Chances are there wasn’t enough room at the main table, but a possible subtle message is that our opinions weren't important and the adults didn't want to hear us.
And of course, chances are we didn’t have any role models on how to effectively display negative or intense emotions. Our parents were subject to the same early messages (or even worse) as we were. So, it’s possible that anger, frustration, or resentment became rage, violence, or abuse of power.
To stay safe, we stayed quiet.
But it’s time to reclaim our wholeness and authenticity. It’s time to reclaim our voice. It’s time to reclaim our power.
I hope my upcoming blog series will help you open up to new possibilities and new ways of thinking.
For now, I invite you to reflect on your early upbringing. What were the messages you received that may have first started the ball rolling in the ‘emotion-hiding’ business? Don’t forget, our early messages don’t just come from our families. They can come from teachers, friends, clergy, and even TV. See if any of those early messages still play in your mind or still get a reaction.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Janet is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who guides overwhelmed, over-committed, and busy women to rediscover their joy and purpose so they are excited and energized about their future and move from feeling like a failure to feeling unstoppable.
If you are ready to step out of fear and self-doubt so you can reclaim your authenticity and power and create the inspiring, elegant, courageous, passionate, bold, and badass life you were born to live, Janet can help you get the results you are longing for.
Believing in you and your possibilities
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.