We face some hard truths in today’s episode, and also some thoughtful opportunities to change our relationship with emoting. As Black women, we are all too familiar with the strong Black woman stereotype. Many of us encountered guilt and shame when experiencing any emotions outside of gratitude for not having to live the way many of our ancestors did. And although it’s good to have perspective, we still are human and need to be able to express all of which makes us who we are – and that includes our full spectrum of emotions.
So grab a journal and have a cup of tea by your side. Get ready to push pause and give yourself the space to explore your feelings – perhaps even meeting sides you that you’ve never seen before.
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You can be grateful and still experience disappointment. You can have perspective, but still feel overwhelmed and need to get things off your chest. But the double shame that often comes with feeling guilty over not having a positive emotion and feeling guilty about how much worse something is for somebody else, on top of still struggling with whatever was bothering you in the first place, can do more harm than good. And I think it’s really important that we allow ourselves and one another to create space for both.
I also talk about…
- Our emotions are our teachers.
- Gratitude is not a catch-all.
- Blanket support is not real support.
- Creating safety to emote.
OUR EMOTIONS ARE OUR TEACHERS
Spiritual bypassing creates a missed opportunity to lean in and clear out the shadows that hold us back. As people, we are given the full spectrum of emotions for a reason. Expressing emotions that aren’t positive is not a sign that you’re not a happy or valuable person – or even that you’re not manifesting what you want. Your feelings and emotions are your teachers. They are guiding you through life, and your reactions and feelings are your guides. It’s your inner knowing telling you what it does or doesn’t want. So when those feelings come up, feel them.
GRATITUDE IS NOT A CATCH-ALL
I’ve found that saying “thank you” out loud will raise our vibrations within a single moment. Audibly expressing gratitude when it hits instead of forcing yourself to write an arbitrary list during a daily routine is a more powerful, potent, and genuine act of gratitude.
When we don’t genuinely feel gratitude but go through the motions of declaring we are so is forcing positivity. And forcing positivity cannot solve our issues or fully relieve us from any pain we may be experiencing. Gratitude is not a catch-all. Now, that’s not to say practicing positivity isn’t useful. But instead, what’s more effective is finding your own way of expressing your gratitude genuinely and feeling into the beauty of those little moments throughout the day.
You may be like me and not feel satisfied or connected to mundane gratitude lists. And the best way to be grateful is to genuinely feel grateful. So just do you, you know? In your own way and your own time.
BLANKET SUPPORT IS NOT REAL SUPPORT
You know that experience when you’re trying to really talk it out, but the person you’re speaking with bright-sides you with a blithe, “oh, it’s all going to be okay – everything is going to be fine,”? If you don’t know what bright-siding is, it’s when someone toxically dismisses the full spectrum of emotions that are currently in play and chooses to only engage with the positive. This, my friend, is not a helpful or supportive thing to do. In fact, when you bright-side someone, what you’re actually doing is telling them that you don’t have the capacity or willingness to hear about what’s going on in their life. You’re basically saying you don’t care.
So, this is a bit of a hot take. But bottom line, don’t ask someone how they’re doing unless you actually want to know. Otherwise, if you’re not able to receive, listen, or truly support both their positive and negative emotions, then you’re likely asking out of obligation rather than genuine interest. Which could continue that cycle of toxic positivity.
CREATING SAFETY TO EMOTE
This is really important to lean into and practice when we’re working to raise our vibrations. As you can see from the highlight above, having friends and relationships with those who will hold space for you is very important. So start there if you’re feeling a tug of inspiration. But having that sense of safety has to first come from self. It’s knowing that you’re worthy and still of value if you are experiencing less-than-positive emotions.
Practice being honest with yourself by carving out pockets or moments within your day/week/month/life to reflect and lean into what you’re truly feeling. If you’re asking me, then you know I’ll tell you to journal about it. But this can look like anything – a walk, a meditation, lighting a candle – whatever suits you. Set an intention and be honest. That’s a great place to begin emoting in your own form of safety.
- What do your emotions and feelings teach you about yourself?
- Do you bright-side the problems in your life? Do you let yourself explore the entirety of what you’re experiencing?
- What would make you feel safe to emote? How can you seek or create that safety?
- Did you uncover something new about yourself today? How did that feel?
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