Question: Why it is so difficult to control my feelings?
The simple answer is: because you are trying to control them!
Feelings and emotions can often be unhelpful, unpleasant, perceived as socially unacceptable and seen as a sign of weakness. As a result, we develop defence mechanisms to try and hide, suppress and distract ourselves from how we actually feel.
The fact is, there is no such thing as a bad feeling! Without fear how would I know I need to get out of a burning building? Without pain how would I know what’s harmful? All feelings serve a purpose as they are simply trying to keep us safe. Sure, they can be unpleasant, but similarly so can the piercing sound of a fire alarm as it alerts us of pending danger. How effective would a fire alarm be if it softly played a lullaby?
In a way, feelings and emotions are simply a form of communication that can be understood across any country, continent, or even species of animal. We can tell when a toddler or even an animal is afraid, happy or in pain without them being able to speak a word. It can even be more effective than the spoken word, how many times have you heard the words “I’m fine” but knew that everything was not OK?
When we try and control our feelings, we are actually trying to stop a part of us say something important. Just the same as if a friend is trying to deliver an important message or protect us from something, and if we do everything in our power to shut them up, avoid them, or distract ourselves from them, they will probably become frustrated and angry as they become louder, more persistent and intrusive as they try and say what needs to be said.
So how do I listen to what my feelings are trying to say?
- If feelings are a language, then to speak we express, and to listen we feel.
- Generally, the more you try, the less you achieve. Relax and allow your feelings to present themselves naturally without trying to work it out or think about it.
- If feelings are too overwhelming or you don’t feel safe expressing them, then why not consider finding a counsellor or professional that you feel comfortable with? Services such as counselling simply provides you with a safe and non-judgemental space where you get the necessary support to overcome whatever is troubling you.
BA Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy