Live Within Your Heart
Often we find ourselves living from the head and when any uncomfortable (to say the least) feelings come up and grip our hearts we like to suppress them. Generally we suppress those feelings with distractors, possibly we drink or use other substances, we eat, we keep ourselves very busy, we sleep, we work more hours than needed or any number of things to prevent us from feeling our emotions. Instead of allowing those feelings to come up and flow through us, we block those feelings. What we should do is allow them to come up, recognize them for what they are, shed some tears (if necessary) to release the pain and then allow ourselves to let go of them. If we shut down and block the not-so-great feelings, then as a result we block the great feelings. Our goal is not to numb ourselves, but to live very fulfilling and happy lives. This requires living from the heart space and to live in the heart you must allow your feelings to flow through you.
As a defense many will choose to shut down their heart-felt emotional system, because in the moment it results in reducing or eliminating the pain. Unfortunately, this will only limit what life can be like. It is through the heart that we are able to experience joy and love on deeper levels than can be imagined otherwise. If we feel sad about something, that emotion is not indicating for us to run from it, it is advising us to feel it all the way through and then release it to move forward. If we feel excited about something, that emotion is not telling us to reduce our level of excitement because we may fear losing that which is providing the joy, but to embrace that feeling and realize that life can be exciting and joyous at times.
Kids can teach us a lot of how to live within our hearts. When a child feels overwhelmed with their feelings of love they run up and hug you. They ask you to play with them. There are many times I say to others “wouldn’t it be great if we could just get up and run around like a child does?”. They just jump up and run in circles around the house without any care of what others are thinking, but as adults if we were to get up and run around in circles people would think something was strange with us. To get around this, adults have set up structured ways of releasing energy, like dancing, cardio and sports to name a few. At times I want to get up and just run. At times I want to call someone and tell them I love them with no other motive than to do that. Too often though the mind creeps in and tells me not to do that, that either of those things would not be perceived well. When a child runs up and gives you a hug you feel good and you feel loved. Imagine if we lived in a society that accepted that from adults just as much as from children.
Have you ever had a feeling as simple as wanting to reach out to someone to tell them that you love them? Not a motive to tell someone you love them just to hear them say it back, but simply just to let them know you love them. I believe many do and they stop themselves from reaching out just to say I love you, afraid of how they may be perceived. Maybe the moment you want to call that person to tell them that you love them is the exact moment that person needs to hear that someone loves them. If we don’t start sharing our hearts and love with others, then we will continue to have a society that fears showing and giving love, and instead opts to live in their minds and disconnected from their hearts.
During a training session with an organization I had previously worked, the facilitator presented a workshop on how we all should handle ourselves when conflict occurs at work. He was telling everyone to remove their emotion from the situation, that the emotion wasn’t necessary in the workplace. Immediately, I felt anger build up inside of my chest and without much thought I interjected and said that I didn’t agree with that teaching. Continuing to say to the group that if someone needs to express emotions about a situation at work then those emotions should be embraced and accepted. We are not robots, we are emotional beings who don’t drop our feelings after the door shuts behind us. We carry our feelings with us and it is important that our feelings are recognized and discussed with compassion and not instructed to be set aside and hidden. The result of holding back feelings is detrimental in the office and most likely when the person goes home to their loved ones. I have witnessed and believe that when we allow for open and true dialogue coming from the heart then we will see more productivity in the workplace. When people feel heard and cared for, they are going to be more willing to open up more and share all of their skills, which benefits the organization.
When we are able to live from our heart, painful things may come up, but after we experience and release those painful feelings we feel lighter and happier and are able to give more to others and experience more joy and peace in our lives. By living outside of the heart we are saying that our emotions are not worthy of attention and that those should be hidden until the right time, possibly when we are so far disconnected we have to seek professional help since we shut that part down. This could be with a therapist or even a doctor when the disregard for emotions begin to manifest in our physical bodies.
Our hearts break and hurt when we experience a loss. Many times our minds decide it doesn’t want to feel that way again and begins to put up defenses or use distractors to block that pain from occurring again. Unfortunately, to live a full joyful life we can’t do those things, we can’t shut down to protect our heart. We may experience sadness for some time and our heart may hurt, but we allow those feelings to flow through ourselves giving us the release we need and remaining open for the things that will bring joy to our lives.
Personally, I am quite emotional, very sensitive in nature, but because of my emotional capacity I am able to allow others around me to feel as deeply as they want. Others are able to bring up and release deep feelings with me, because I am able to be around those difficult feelings and embrace them instead of pushing them away. Although, throughout my earlier years, I was not surrounded with many people that were capable of experiencing my emotions. That taught me that my emotional sensitivity was not OK and should be controlled. It took many years of my own work to uncover that it wasn’t me that needed to control my emotions, but it was those who I was around that had a hard time seeing my emotions. It hurt them to see me hurt, so they just wanted me to squash the feelings. Fortunately, over time and lots of therapy myself, I learned that being my empathetic self was beneficial for me (to be authentic to myself) and therapeutic to others wishing to make changes in their lives.
Imagine a relationship that is all about thoughts and words, and never about the feelings. It might be intellectual, it might bring knowledge, it might provide, it might give physical safety, but does it light you up, does it bring joy? What are you currently experiencing in your life, are you feeling inspired and joyful? If not, then take the first step to discern if you are living any part of your life from the heart. Maybe, you have blocked your feelings.