Most people have heard that bottling your feelings up can lead to a person bursting. While a person will obviously not literally burst, there are some unseen effects to not expressing one’s feelings even when it seems that a person is fine and says they are fine.
While it may not be a good idea to constantly dwell on negative experiences and torture other people with excessive complaining and whining, it is also not a good idea to jump all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum where too many feelings are stuffed away and are not expressed.
Avoiding feelings can make you sick. Feelings that get stuck inside are like festering wounds that can get worse and worse over time. By the time I was 20 years old, I was physically and emotionally unhealthy. That’s when I went for help and started to open to my feelings.
There are two very different kinds of feelings, called “core feelings” and “wounded feelings.”
Core Painful Feelings
Core painful feelings are the existential feelings of life, such as:
- Heartache, sadness
- Fear of real and present danger
- Helplessness over others and events
- Outrage over injustice
These are the feelings that occur due to loss, trauma, injustice and challenging life events.
Wounded Painful Feelings
Wounded feelings are the painful feelings we create by how we treat ourselves and what we tell ourselves. Wounded feelings are feelings such as:
…and many more.
We create these feelings by ignoring our feelings, judging ourselves, turning to addictions to avoid our feelings, and making others responsible for our feelings. All the self-abandoning things we do to avoid our deeper, core painful feelings create our wounded feelings.
What Our Feelings Tell Us
1. I Am Rejecting/Abandoning Myself
Our wounded feelings instantly let us know that we are off track in our thinking and/or behavior. For example, if you tell yourself that you are bad, wrong, unworthy or unlovable, you will likely feel alone, shamed, depressed and/or empty inside. If you tell yourself that you will always be alone, you might feel anxious. If you allow others to abuse you, you will likely feel angry, anxious and/or depressed.
If you continue to avoid these feelings with various addictive behaviors, you will continue to create them. Instead, you can open to learning about what these feelings are telling you about your false beliefs that are limiting you, and about your behaviors that may be harming you.