Are You Blocking Your Feelings?

Few of us were taught what the feelings are for, much less how to process and express them. Most of us learned from an early age to intellectualize, dismiss, ignore or feel ashamed of our feelings, particularly sadness, anger and fear.

Education emphasizes the development of the thinking function, how well you analyze and retain information. Critical thinking is necessary to balance emotionality. But life without the feelings can be a long walk across a dry desert.

When I say feeling I am not referring to the times when you are out of control. That chaotic state of mind is usually the result of denying feelings you are afraid to feel. For example, whenever you go to a large party you feel a panic attack coming on. You assume you are mentally unbalanced and think about getting medication. Once you admit you are angry because you are forcing yourself to be more social than you are by nature to fit in with all the extroverts, you realize small gatherings are all you can handle, given your sensitivity to stimulation and dislike of small talk. Then the panic attacks go away.

The High Cost of Pleasing

People come to me because they want to find meaning in their work: the job, business or creative endeavor that gives them emotional and financial fulfillment. In some cases, the problem is lack of persistence. Success is expected to be quick and easy and when it isn’t they assume there’s something wrong with them. Others are bogged down with possessions, entanglement with family members, causes and organizations that take up their time. Most are doing more than they can handle, too distracted to do what they really want to do.

My clients tend to be capable, conscientious people whose desire to help attracts people who lean on them. When attempts to help these people help themselves don’t work, my clients try even harder and when they fail they feel angry and frustrated. My job is to help them to let go of the role of savior so they can focus on what they need to do for themselves, thereby helping the people who deserve the help. But until they stop feeling guilty about satisfying their needs, the pattern of using distractions to avoid commitment continues, stopping passion in its tracks.

The Mind and the Emotions