Nothing destroys self-worth, self-acceptance and self-love faster than denying what you feel. Without feelings, you would not know where you are in life. Nor would you know what areas you need to work on. Honor your feelings. Allow yourself to feel them – Iyanla Vanzant
Iyanla Vanzant’s above quote speaks volumes and gives appreciation to mere expression, acceptance and acknowledgement of our feelings and ultimately of who we are. But the question is, how can we learn to accept our feelings?
In most cases, it is common for some individuals to respond to their personal challenges with many manners, approaches, and feelings. Some can be positive and others can be more damaging. Some people may become moody, withdrawn and depressed while others may lash out at those closest to them or even to strangers.
Not accepting our feelings may come with its consequences and for some people, their tension may show up as restlessness, loss of appetite, loss of interest in social interaction, insomnia or a feeling of apathy and exhaustion.
While some of the above symptoms are unpleasant, normal and predictable reactions of refusing to accept our feelings may cause physical, social, emotional and economical damage. Below are some tips that may be of assistance if you feel your feelings need to be seen, heard and accepted by you:
- Identify what you are feeling – This means to recognize strong feelings and understand why they may be present. Do not try to ignore, undermine or overlook them. It’s about acknowledging and accepting what you are feeling. You can try to label it to. For example, I am feeling angry right now, or I am feeling ashamed.
- Identify your supportive tribes and talk to them –By sharing and talking about your feelings, it may help you to express, vent and accept these feelings in a constructive and safe way. Together you may even provide support and reassurance to others and hence may help build more positive self-esteem and self-awareness. Often, by talking to others, it can help us see the situation from a different perspective.
- Talk to others or join a support group – Interacting with others who you may not know can be scary, but talking to others may offer a sense of belonging, normality and may offer tools that may assist you in the future. Talking to other people may simply give you the sense that you are not alone and this can be uplifting and hopeful. There may also be other people that you know who have gone through a similar experience, and they may be able to offer you some practical advice.
- Stop and regain your strength – Taking some time for the things you appreciate or even enjoy can be difficult and may even feel strange. However, the benefit of it is huge, because such breaks provide ways to reduce the emotional tensions that stresses bring you throughout the day, week or even the year before.
- Evaluate your circumstances and consider professional service – In some cases, it is important to accept when we need objective support from a trustworthy and well-informed professional. Hence, it is okay to speak to your Doctor in order to receive a referral to see someone who may help you analyse your challenges, strengths, solutions, additional support, or a treatment plan.
On that note, it is essential to remember to appreciate your own uniqueness, and as Bruce Lee puts it: “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”