I wanted to write to bring something to your attention.
When you begin to take a deeper dive into your inner-world, it can bring up emotions you didn’t know you had. Emotions that you had learnt to ignore and not allow yourself to express.
Your emotions are sensations in your body and they want to be released. As you begin to connect to yourself, you may notice a lot of emotion coming up that didn’t get to be expressed before. The fountain of emotion that is likely to follow may create in you a moment of questioning of your own mental health. You may also question if it is too much and overwhelming. You may feel the want to shut it down and stop it from happening.
It’s so important to give yourself permission to express it. If you notice yourself creating a shameful story about what you ’should’ or ’shouldn’t’ be feeling in any given moment then my invitation here is to just notice that feeling of shame and observe it. Notice the thoughts, notice what you are telling yourself. I would like to let you know that your thoughts are not you. Your thoughts are programming you received growing up and they have become the default in the way you respond to yourself and your external environment. That default you have the ability to change it once you are aware of it.
A reminder that not allowing ourselves to move emotion through us means that it gets trapped in the body and can become anxiety - anxiety is feeling on edge, jittery, irritable, stressed out, overwhelmed, etc. The reason that you may feel this is because when you don’t express and release your emotion it stays stuck in the body which leads to the ’symptoms’ I’ve written. The trapped emotions are vying to get out but you fight to keep them in there and that is where the stress and overwhelm comes from. The invitation is always to ask yourself, what is my core emotion here? What am I feeling? Where am I feeling it? How can I support myself in this?
How to connect with emotion and sensation - notice where it is in the body. On the inhale and take the breath there, on the exhale, how does your emotion want to be expressed? Does it want you to move? Does it want you to make sound? Initially there will be a lot of discomfort around doing this. It doesn’t feel ’normal’ or ’natural’, it can feel uncomfortable and silly and we create stories around how ridiculous we look. And as those thoughts pop into your head notice them there but you don’t need to believe them. If there are tears, let them flow. Allow the energy of the emotion to move through you. Allow it to find its way through the body.
I would like to lead you to a couple of resources that I hope will support you in expressing your emotions as a man. That your expression of your emotions doesn’t in anyway make you less than, what it does it creates a way to be more open and vulnerable. Being vulnerable is where we experience the most intimacy. So the path to intimacy is your ability to be vulnerable in how you feel and how you can hold yourself in that. By holding yourself in that means being responsible for your own emotions and not projecting them onto others and ‘blaming’ them for how you feel.
If you would like a container in which to sit with other men and be in community and give yourself permission to feel it all, I welcome you to my free community. Please don’t underestimate the healing power of speaking to and being with other men in a group to share your feelings and emotions.
To understand the power of connecting to your emotions, releasing them and being witnessed in them, I strongly encourage you to watch The Work. It’s about men in a high security prison who are there for rape, assault, armed robbery, etc and how the healing power of connecting to emotions and releasing them can move a man forward in his life and create deep and meaningful connection. You can watch that here.
My final invitation is to save this article or print it as a reminder to express your emotions and be with them and also that strength comes from vulnerability.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.