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Blog Series, Week 3: Looking after yourself by…Honouring your Feelings

Looking after yourself by...

Welcome to week 3 of the blog series Looking after yourself! Thanks for following and I
hope you enjoy this one on honouring your feelings!

In case you missed the past posts, find the first one here and the second one here (there is also a version in Spanish for each!)

So, what does it mean to “honour” anything or anyone?

The Cambridge online dictionary defines honour as follows:

to honour is to show great respect for someone or something, especially in public.

So, for the purposes of this article, honour means to show respect, and it is interesting that it says that this is especially the case when in public. So if we are talking about honouring our feelings, we must do this both when we are on our own, but especially when we are in the presence of others!

Wow! That is powerful!

In order for others to honour us and our feelings, we must show them how we honour ourselves and our feelings!

Observe yourself

I mean, really watch your reactions, both physical, emotional and in your thinking. All of these things we do that we usually take for granted or are sub-conscious and automatic, will tell us what we need to know about how we really feel about something. This in turn will allow us to make a decision of what to do with that person, situation or thing we are dealing with.

Trust your “gut” and bodily responses
That gut feeling that everyone talks about is on the go all the time in our lives. The difference is whether we listen to it or shrug it off, only realising later on that if we had listened to it we would have avoided an argument, an accident, an uncomfortable situation.

Our bodies tell us a lot about how we really feel about something or someone – we might start shaking when an old boyfriend walks past, we might clench our fists when near that person that hogs all the attention with silly stories, or we might feel sad when going past a particular street where we used to hang out with that friend that is no longer with us…

So what should we do about the gut and bodily feelings? Listen to them, respond to them. Maybe get away from that person that angers you; go work through your sad feelings, maybe all you need is a little cry to honour yourself and that friend you lost.

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Get out of your head and into your heart

Don’t get me wrong, thinking is as important as feeling, but when trying to honour our feelings, we need to stop that voice that starts judging, saying things like:

“oh your friends won’t like that you’re telling them they upset you”

“you should put their feelings before yours”

“it’s not socially acceptable to think about your own feelings and much less to let others know about it”

“you are going to end up without friends if you say/do that”

If you are going to have a thought about how you’re feeling, let it be something like this:

“I am entitled to feel this way, I am not hurting anyone with how I feel, I need to be true to myself or these feelings are going to get bigger and then I will explode, It’s better to deal with them right now”


Process past hurts

There is a lot of value in working through issues from our past, when others might have not honoured us or our feelings and left us hurt and vulnerable. We might repeat these learned painful patterns with others if we don’t work through them.

I am not saying it will be easy, but learning how to process that anger, upset, sadness (etc…) that you might not have been allowed or known how to work through in the past, will be a step in the right direction.

It will allow you to name your feelings, to understand what you might have felt at the time, and feel those un-felt feelings, which will free you from those “ghosts” of the past.

Giving these un-felt feelings space to come up and out means you are honouring your past self’s feelings and therefore it will be easier to honour your feelings from now on.

If you feel it – value it, it must be important!

Last week we talked about valuing ourselves – part of this is acknowledging our feelings are important. We will never feel anything out of thin air or without it having a real meaning for us.

If we understand this, then we will be more assertive and more able to honour ourselves, to set those boundaries with ourselves and others.

It is like creating a habit, it will take time to set clear boundaries with others, and it will

take time to value your feelings and not feel ashamed or mean when expressing them; but once you do, it will be great!

Following these tips will help you can assert yourself – to yourself and others:

you will be able to accept all your feelings, to express how you are feeling – to yourself and others – and more importantly to be caring, compassionate and empathic to yourself about what you are feeling.

This in turn will lead others to do the same for you, and maybe even start being more caring to themselves!

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One response

  1. Pingback: In Therapy: Working through loss and grief (part 2) « Insights…from the desk of Karin Brauner

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