All the feels

A throwback to boarding school: “Silence!” ‘sir’ yelled.  “Stand still. No talking!”  We stood stoic. Eyes straight ahead, hands by our sides, in evenly spaced rows.  Somewhere in the back, someone whispered a joke, barely loud enough for those in the front to hear. Suppressed laughter began spread. Slow at first, but eventually like wild fire, enraging ‘sir’ even more. As his face turned redder, the laughter got louder! “Who said that?! QUIET!” It’s not that the joke was that funny; but not being allowed to make a sound made it hilarious. Our sides ached from trying not to laugh and forcing a straight face, but it was impossible to hold back the laughter.

We’ve all been in situations where we try to keep a lid on what’s going on inside. No matter how hard we try to keep all the feels in, suppressed emotion spills out eventually. Usually those closest to us get splashed by the spill.

Technically, emotions are complex reactions involving many biological and physiological processes . Our brain responds to incoming info by releasing hormones and chemicals, which make us feel different things.  Simply, emotions are indicators of what’s going on inside.

Many of us don’t even want to go there because it’s hard and scary, but part of Winning in Life is to take a step toward processing and understanding our emotions in a healthy way.

Here are 3 problems that I have become aware of in my own life, and three questions for you to reflect on:

Problem 1:  Indulging instead of Investigating

Generally we indulge in negative emotions like anger or offense, justifying our position,  or ruminating over a failure. We don’t always pause to investigate our emotion, asking “Why did I react in such a way?” or “When that happened, why did I feel the way I did”? Instead, we can let emotions consume us. On the other hand, simply trying to ignore emotions is not helpful at all. They will spill out eventually, usually in an expected way.
 
How about: Instead of being consumed by your emotions, you begin to cross-examine your emotions?

Problem 2:  Outside gets more attention than inside

We often pay way more attention to the outside (our physical body) than the inside (our emotions and feelings). When we get sick or injured, generally we go get the treatment we need at a doctor or hospital. A lot of the time we may not realize that we are emotionally hurt, injured or unhealthy. Or we realize that there is some unhealthiness there, but we prefer talk about it for fear of being perceived as weak. The proverbial sayings like ‘cowboys don’t cry’, ‘sweep it under the carpet’, ‘forget about it and move on’ echo in our minds. Imagine saying to a person with broken arm:  just shake it off, it’s all in your arm! Unlikely, right? Yet we can do that with our emotions and say to ourselves (or others) “Hey if you’re feeling low, just shake it off, it’s all in your head”.

How about: Instead of ignoring your emotions, you begin you take inventory of your emotions?

Problem 3: Is it just me?

Have you ever thought: “I must be the only one who feels this way! ” Experiencing negative emotions while assuming everyone else has it all together leads to guilt and shame. Feeling emotion is totally normal, and it’s OK not to be OK.  Often times, we’re just so used to putting on a face that looks different to what we are feeling inside.  Someone said, “COVID is nothing new.  Most of us have been wearing masks all along.” Ouch!

How about: Instead of being alone in your emotions, you begin to express your emotions authentically?

The good news is, the Bible is full of people with emotions, just like you and I. People who need healing. And the Gospel is not just that Jesus died for our sins, but also that we may experience his abundant life, and be transformed step by step to be more like Christ.

When you are struggling in your emotions:

  1. Run to God for help. Don’t let your emotions push you away from Him, rather let them be indicators of how much you need His grace.  His presence is the safest space to process how you are really feeling! Jesus is not satisfied with just forgiving you. He will transform you and help you reach emotional health if you will let Him, so run to Him.
  2.  Make a conscious decision to stop indulging in (or ignoring) negative emotions and reach out for help! We’re launching Emotional Health: A Better Way on Wed 30th Sept, and we’d love to invite you to join this GROW track online on Google Classroom

“Not everyone needs therapy, but everyone might need therapy! We need to de-stigmatize therapy so that people find freedom to get help they need. If you really want to win emotionally, you need to accept help!” Stephen Ferreira

Extra resources

 

 

“Not everyone needs therapy, but everyone might need therapy! We need to de-stigmatize therapy so that people find freedom to get help they need. If you really want to win emotionally, you need to accept help!” Stephen Ferreira

 

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