Alive to Feelings

As we let go gradually of the ways in which we avoid our intrusive feelings of fear, shame, and emotional pain, and listen to them with a wise, compassionate attitude, these feelings gradually desensitize and heal, enabling us to feel more alive. Although we may not realize it, it takes considerable emotional energy to avoid intrusive feelings. As our intrusive feelings resolve and heal, we feel less conflicted and less distressed, which frees up our emotional energy for living. We begin to feel more unified internally, more energetic, and more alive. Life begins to feel more vibrant and colourful as we invest our new found energy in pursuing our goals and relationships.

Also, as we listen to our feelings, we begin to experience a wider range of feelings which helps us to discover more about what matters to us. As discussed in the article, About Feelings, complex feelings provide us with information about a high level sense of self and the world. For example, complex feelings such as interest and passion tell us what we deeply desire, our bliss. Perhaps through listening to our feelings we discover a hobby, project, or cause that has great interest to us. Perhaps we discover that fostering closer relationships is important to us. Listening to our feelings helps us to identify what really matters to us.

As we access more life energy and discover what really matters to us, we feel more alive. Rather than avoiding personal goals and close relationships because these experiences trigger intrusive feelings, we are freer to pursue our goals and relationships. As we do this, we experience more gratification and happiness and become more truly ourselves.

Although the benefits of feeling more alive through listening to our feelings are palpable, as Dr. Robert Firestone notes, we can’t feel feelings selectively. In other words, listening to our feelings means that we feel all our feelings more intensely. In addition to feeling more joy and happiness, we also feel more sadness about not only our own pain but also the suffering of the world. In feeling all of our feelings more fully, however, we become more human, more ourselves.

Feeling more alive through listening to our feelings is a slow, effortful process. It requires effort and awareness to bring our presence to our feelings rather than to avoid them. The journey, however, is worth the effort.