Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Finish Your Feelings

Abby Rohr created a wonderful program for people who suffer from the psychological problem known as Trichotillomania, which is compulsive hair pulling. I highly recommend her program, which is called "Pull Free At Last." This is a serious problem that afflicts many people world wide. It, like all addictions, can be overcome with conscious effort, diligence and determination! Check out the website: http://www.pullfreeatlast.com/

She has a concept in her work that she refers to as 'finishing your feelings.' This is a critically important piece of recovery work - no matter what the problem or addiction.

Most of us, through the course of our lives and to varying degrees, have been taught to stifle and suppress our feelings. Some of us weren't allowed to have ideas,opinions or feelings of our own because there was no room in our environments for our experience. In some cases when we expressed our true feelings we were met with negative consequences, and through the process of conditioning, we learned what was and wasn't safe or acceptable. We learned to 'turn off' our feelings and send them underground because they caused us less trouble and discomfort that way. At least, that is what we thought. The reality is, that our feelings are always present, whether we acknowledge them or not, whether we express them or not, or whether we are even aware of them... or not.

Our feelings live in us until they are felt, expressed and released. That is just the way the universe operates. If we don't express them or acknowledge them, they lurk underground and exert influences on us that cause us problems - even though we consciously can't understand the connection.

Abby talks about learning to allow our feelings to express completely and 'finish them' as a way to liberate ourselves from our addictions, compulsions and difficulties in life. She likens our emotions to waves on the ocean. Try to stop a wave from going through it's cycle... it's impossible. She encourages us to ride our emotions like a wave and to allow them to build, crest, break and subside. They eventually lose their energy, and their damaging hold on us. It's a natural process if we simply allow it.

Most of us have learned to abort our emotions at some point as they rise up in us. We just stop them and the unexpended energy is stored up in us - to wreak havoc in other ways. That energy doesn't just go away. It is in us and exerts an influence all the time.

When a feeling comes, we must learn to ride it like a wave. To ride the fear of where it will take us, all those sensations that build and crescendo, climax and then dissipate. It can be scary at first, and it requires patience and practice. It also requires courage.

Watch waves on the ocean sometime. Use it as a model in your mind for how you want to 'handle' all your feelings. Know that 'this too shall pass.' No feeling lasts forever. Feelings can only harm us if we stuff them inside and allow them to fester.

This does not mean we have to act on all our feelings. In fact, the process is more about just 'allowing' the feeling to rise up and fully express WITHOUT acting. Our goal should always be to act from a place of calm and not in the midst of big emotion. That's a rule for life really!

Just watch the emotion come... build... break... and dissolve. Do nothing except feel. Allow the feeling to finish and it's gone forever. That particular expression of that particular feeling is gone... forever. Abort it and it will live to fight another day!!!

What we resist, persists. What we fight against grows stronger. Ride the wave. Let it wash over you... and pass.

Learn to finish your feelings! It is a key to freedom!

We either were not allowed to have our feelings and express them (without negative consequences)

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