Denying to yourself how you feel is like trying to keep a wild elephant in a wooden shed. It will break free, most likely producing much chaos. Better to acknowledge the truth of experience and save yourself the hassle. What’s more, such noticing allows you to find more clarity when making important decisions, and in fact any sort of decision.
Under your nose
I was reminded of how easily we can deny our own feelings during a recent coaching session.
“I’m torn between staying and leaving, I just can’t figure it out.”
Could you find two different spots in the room to metaphorically represent each option?
Stand in each and see how it feels. What’s it like?
“Well..in the good spot I feel really free… I don’t like the bad spot at all.”
Hang on, did you just call them good spot and bad spot?
So, we may not even realise how blind we are to our true feelings. And, once this is noticed, the next question is what causes denying to yourself how you feel?
Behind the denial
The reasons inevitably lie in non-conscious beliefs we hold about what we should be doing — what is, and isn’t allowed. Beliefs that we have internalised over time through exposure to all manner of arbitrary and conflicting narratives. Beliefs that live within us and guide our actions, without us ever really noticing them.
If we deny something to ourselves, it is only because at some level we think that it ought not to be allowed. Perhaps, we feel it is too negative a feeling? Or that we would be lesser humans for experiencing it?
Beyond denying to yourself how you feel
The only thing lessening our humanity is the unwillingness to acknowledge that which arises within you that is deeply human! Notice it. Investigate it. Paradoxically, the very act of acknowledging how you feel is more likely to allow you to flow through difficult feelings, rather than get stuck with them.
Ask yourself: How aware are you of any tendency to stifle how you feel?
What might you fear will happen if you expressed these feelings?
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.