It’s Ok To Feel Your Feelings

Written by Dr. Perry, PhD
Image Credit: Pixabay


The way I see it, if you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain.” ~Dolly Parton

There seems to be a perception that certain feelings are bad and others are good. While some feelings such as happiness may feel better than sadness, it is important to remember that there are no good or bad feelings. We are emotional beings and we possess a wide spectrum of feelings, which have a purpose in our lives. Feelings give us the ability to appreciate the beauty of life. They also serve as a safety net to let us know when we are not safe and when our boundaries have been breached. It is important that we allow ourselves to express our feelings without judgment. Otherwise, the suppressed emotions may manifest themselves in an unhealthy manner.

Feelings enrich our lives and add depth to our existence. We are not one-dimensional entities who are capable of only feeling one emotional response. A world where only happiness exists would inevitably lose its luster over time. We must be able to experience feelings such as sadness and unhappiness in order to truly appreciate the opposite end of the feelings spectrum. Without knowing the darkness of sadness we would not be able to appreciate the lightness of happiness. For example, it is normal after the pain of losing a loved one, to find a renewed appreciation for our remaining family members. The pain of the loss leads us to embrace our remaining family members more closely and to feel a deeper love for them.

Feelings cannot be turned off and on as if they are an internal light switch. Feelings possess a life cycle. They start small, they peak and then die off. We often get in the way of the process by judging and stifling our feelings. We are conditioned to avoid pain and seek pleasure. We have a natural tendency to live our lives in pursuit of not engaging in any perceived negative feeling. For example, we may get frustrated and angry at ourselves instead of a family member who hurt our feelings. We may then feel guilty for feeling this way and internally criticize ourselves for being too sensitive. In turn, this causes us to suppress our feelings. Later, these unexpressed feelings may come out in passive-aggressive behaviors toward this individual.

I often see this behavior in couples. After a disagreement, there will often be hurt feelings, resentment and anger that is not expressed. The couple will be in a hurry to return to their happy state and will feel uneasy at the possibility that all is not ok. If the underlying feelings go unexpressed, out of fear, they will often lead to a future minor disagreement that will then lead to a disproportionate disconnect. All the unexpressed feelings that the couple was afraid to discuss and feel will explode and cause a bigger issue.

It is important that we allow ourselves to fully engage with our feelings. By doing so we can acknowledge how we feel and move through the feelings. For example, say you are feeling sadness. It is important to not judge the sadness. You can take a deep breath and acknowledge that you feel sad. I am not suggesting to let yourself get engulfed in a sea of sadness. In the beginning, you can allow yourself to feel the sadness in short manageable bursts. By allowing yourself to feel and challenging yourself to stay compassionate towards yourself, you will begin to widen your emotional bandwidth and normalize feelings such as sadness, despair or anger.

I suggest you practice feeling your emotions the next time you are in a checkout line and the person in front of you is taking a very long time. For the purpose of this example, let’s say the person is purposely taking extra time. They are moving slowly, talking incessantly and acting as if they have nowhere to go. Think of this as an ideal opportunity to exercise at the feelings gym. Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose and allowing yourself to fully experience the discomfort and perhaps annoyance. As you exhale, think to yourself or even say to yourself, “It is ok to feel this feeling.” Don’t judge what you are feeling. If you are annoyed or angry it does not make you a bad person. This can be applied to any uncomfortable feeling you experience. Allow yourself to feel the feeling without engaging with any internal script that attempts to make you feel bad about what you are feeling.

This appears to be a simple and obvious suggestion, but if you pay close attention to your thoughts throughout the day, you will notice how often judgment follows our feelings. Thank you for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a therapeutic relationship. This blog is not meant to replace or substitute the help of a mental health professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific mental health questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances. If you would like to schedule a free 20-minute consultation with me to see if we would be a good fit to work together please click here to email my assistant, Isabel.

Kindly,
Dr. Perry


CREDENTIALS
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
M.A. in Clinical Psychology
B.A. in Psychology


MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
“I specialize in a solution-focused and results-driven approach to treating depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and narcissistic abuse.”
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101 responses to It’s Ok To Feel Your Feelings

  1. Sunnysideup says:

    Excellent post Dr. Perry. I am going to put this into practice. I do believe I judge myself for certain feelings and I need to stop doing this. Thank you for the reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. John F. says:

    Wonderful addition to your blog. I have to say I thoroughly enjoy the content you write. Thank you for taking the time to put such care into what you write about and on your site. I appreciate it very much and am a long time email subscriber since 2016.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Glenda Herdman says:

      Thank you so much for this post. A few years ago I had this very epiphany. I am free to feel every emotion and there is no guilt or shame any more. And I pass this message onto others through my blogs and my Facebook page. Again thank you

      Liked by 3 people

  3. soodamittai says:

    thank you from the bottom of my heart ! it means a lot! i guess every now and then we could use some assurance like this to feel okay about whatever we feel.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Big Happy Life says:

    If there was a love option instead of a like option, I would have clicked it. I love the idea of the feeling gym. As someone in my 40’s, still working out how to feel all the feelings, this is a really useful concept. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      I am happy to hear this post resonated with you. Thank you so much for your comment✨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Trupti says:

    Beautiful post !!
    As we grow up, we stop expressing ourselves freely …we feel its a sign of maturity …but sometimes this vaccum hurts badly …i think thats why we call childhood phase is the best phase of life….
    I will surely try that breathing technique you suggested

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      Thank you Trupti. I appreciate your kind words and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dr. Perry, I love this! So often we are taught in society that certain emotions are wrong when really, like you said, they each serve a purpose. I love the movie “Inside Out”. While it’s a children’s movie, it really shows us all that every emotion that we feel serves a purpose to how we function every day. We have to embrace our feelings, not suppress them, otherwise they will spin out of control when we could have prevented such chaos in the first place. Thank you so much for sharing!!! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  7. crgallo says:

    I liked this a lot. I have a hard time expressing negative feelings to other people and not wanting to push past them as soon as possible to return to harmony. But like you say, doing that too much can lead to a sort of false harmony.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Maria says:

    I love this post. You are right. It sounds like a simple concept but so many of us do not practice this!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. This makes sense. It is painful to hear someone say, “You shouldn’t be sad, stop being so negative”. We feel something for a reason and it creates a bigger burden if we are unable to communicate our feelings free from critique of the feeling itself. After our feelings are articulated it is the other person’s choice to choose how to respond. Once a response is made, we must decide if we will accept the response.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’ve also found it helpful to ask myself, “Where is this feeling coming from?” Sometimes I’ve discovered that the anger I felt toward the other person was actually with myself because I was ignoring my self care (like adequate rest, taking time to play)…

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Susan says:

    I can relate to this post. Especially the part about fighting with your loved one. A lot of times if we don’t really clear the air and discusses or differences, we will continue to have small arguments that escalate. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      You’re welcome. I’m happy this post resonated with you. Thank for reading and commenting✨

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Nassima says:

    Thank you Dr. perry for this lovely post and useful information! Emotions whether of sadness or anger, can easily escalate if not well managed and controlled 😊
    Your posts Dr. Perry are somehow “an accessible cure”for those far away in an other continent 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Miradelle14 says:

    Such a nice post again, Dr. Perry. Glad I found your website… Ha ha. I guess, it must be fate. A lot of things resonate with me from the past and the present as well.. but reading this gives me relief about my good and bad feelings.. Thank you for explaining it so well that is not intimidating to readers like me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      I am happy to hear this post resonated with you. Thank you so much for your comment✨

      Liked by 1 person

  14. SomewhereinCA says:

    Another great post. I love how you explain that feelings have a life cycle. I am going to pay attention to my internal voice this weekend.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Mannu K-Gill says:

    Thanks Dr. Perry, I am totally agreed. Don’t hide your feeling due to fear of judgement or social stigma. let them out. Don’t keep in your mind. keeping the feeling inside of your mind and brain lead to many psychological and physiological health problem. I used to hid everything but not recently. I ventilate what I feel: sadness, happiness, crying, etc.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. The paragraph about couples suppressing their negative feelings was insightful! I can relate; it will take time to unpack all that. Unease, fear…it’s amazing how multiple negative feelings are actually in affect and compounding. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      You’re welcome. I’m happy that this post resonated with you. Thank you for sharing your insight✨

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Mary Mangee says:

    In my younger years, I was taught to stop crying, stop whining, quit being a baby. I carried these stifling feelings with me as I grew up. I married at the age of 18 and because my husband would not tolerate my feelings, I held them in. I held them in for 9 long years until one day I felt like a volcano ready to explode. After the divorce, I looked back and realized that I had been too afraid to allow my feelings and thoughts to be known. Moving forward, I learned to let it all out to the point of having no filter. More years of growing taught me to balance all of it. I don’t have to explode in anger because I am pissed off. I have learned to, as you said, breathe and be patient. Finally, in my late 50’s, the lesson is settling in. It’s never too late to evolve.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Really glad you posted this. And so well said. There have been people along the road who have told me that it’s not ok to have certain feelings. One recently said that by having those feelings, I was, in effect, blaming others for events in my life. I really found this odd. While its true I need to own the consequences of my own actions, other can act in ways that have dramatic impact on you and you’re not responsible for what they did and should be allowed to have feelings about what happened. I can only guess that my friend was punting – they were uncomfortable talking about those feelings. Lessons learned. It’s wonderful to have people who you can be totally open and honest with. It helps you process those events and mirror back to yourself when needed.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Bryce Warden says:

    I am pretty good about allowing myself to feel all the feelings. Sometimes I take a more detached approach if it is an intense situation. I’ve been known to write out pros and cons list for decisions and at times get analytical about why a feeling comes up in a specific situation. One thing I have observed in myself is that I am quick to anger (luckily it passes just as quickly for the most part). I have identified this anger as a shield to ward of extreme sadness at times. Self preservation is an interesting creature. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Quote Banq says:

    “It is important that we allow ourselves to express our feelings without judgment. Otherwise, the suppressed emotions may manifest themselves in an unhealthy manner.”

    A great reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Cecilia B. says:

    “Feelings enrich our lives and add depth to our existence. We are not one-dimensional entities who are capable of only feeling one emotional response”- well said Dr. Perry! Great post. I never noticed it before but I do tend to judge myself for certain “bad” feelings. For example, I have a great life but sometimes I feel unsatisfied and sad. I know that it’s ok to feel this way and I’m just going to allow myself to just be. Thank you for this post🙌🏽

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      You’re welcome! I’m happy that this post was a reminder to allow yourself to feel your feelings✨

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I feel that your post has been most helpful. Lately I have tried to sit with my feelings more rather than trying to erase them. I’m learning slowly how to accept how I feel. And that it’s okay to feel all types of feeling. Your post has helped me to acknowledge this more. Thank-you 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  23. I resonated with the simple truth you shared here. It is something I try to communicate through my writing as well: an honest acknowledgement that seeks to avoid dissonance and the consequences of emotional suppression. I am happy you shared this. It is one of the those perspectives that I feel would heal many contemporary ailments of our society.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Karen says:

    It takes time to accept that feelings are just feelings, they don’t make you a good or bad person and beating yourself up over it makes everything worse. I’m much more accepting of my feelings now which means they have less power over me. Great article, thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Mrs.J says:

    I appreciate this post so much. It’s true as a society we are conditioned to only seek pleasure and we avoid pain at all costs. Wonderful point.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Kate says:

    The paragraph in which you talked about couples and trying to get through the argument to get back to the happy state resonated in my heart. I’ve been there so many times. This concept is new to me and believe it would help me in the future. (Also wish I would have understood it in the past… but I try to look forward not back.) So thank you for explaining this to us. I am grateful.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. I really appreciate and value this post. As a society, we tend to suppress what we feel then try to deal with it in private, or when it decides to surface. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this as I think it will make many, including myself, embrace the emotion that we are feeling in the moment.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      It makes me happy to hear this post resonated with you Lisa. Thank you for your comment!✨

      Liked by 2 people

  28. I like how you describe a way to enter into your feelings–and give examples of how to let yourself “feel” them, instead of analyzing them, (or just blowing our lid–not that any of us ever do that…). So helpful!

    Liked by 6 people

  29. I’ve recently taken up yoga and find the deliberate breathing you need to do while practising very helpful. Also, this resonates in terms of mindfulness in action. Breathe it in and breathe it out 😊

    Liked by 5 people

  30. What you said about feeling unexpressed is absolutely correct, especially with couple. Yes , we will be in hurry to go back to happy state. Thank you ! I will try the way you mentioned above 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  31. newstart777 says:

    Thank you Dr. Perry. Being born a Libra, being diplomatic is essential. I try to avoid arguments, but also I have tried to avoid the uncomfortable moments, which as you stated:

    ‘The couple will be in a hurry to return to their happy state. ‘

    The couple or the individual, and every time we do l, it is inevitable that what is avoided will resurface. What is not properly buried, will not stay buried. It must rise because Truth rises, and once the Truth of the matter is evident, then and only then can we bury it successfully. Any premature burials and our issues will float up like a Louisiana swamp.

    God Bless You Dr. Perry.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. NeoPhious says:

    That was great Sir, it helped me a lot and made me feel less guilty about the feelings or thoughts I get when I am upset or angry. Really useful

    Liked by 5 people

  33. DorothyMarie says:

    This is a great post! I spend time with my feelings regularly. My therapist believes it is a big part of what has helped get me through this horrible year and stay out of the hospital. I think it’s very important. Lately most of my feelings have been hurt and a bit of anger but it is so very important to acknowledge and feel them. Side note: did the FB group get removed?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dr. Perry says:

      Thank you Dottie. It’s nice to hear from you. I am sorry you are having a difficult time right now. The Facebook group was closed about 2 months ago as Isabel is too busy to moderate it. You must have missed the announcement✨

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Max says:

    I think of unexpressed feelings as a pressure cooker. If you don’t let them out they are going to explode at one point. Great post. Thank you Dr. Perry.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Wonderful article. I used to just throw a smile and suck it up over the years. It’s more beautiful and free when you can be you .
    Ty . I hope many more, like myself can know to Feel

    Liked by 2 people

  36. My daughter is almost 7 and it can be hard for her to articulate her feelings, as I imagine it can be hard for most children her age. However, I oftentimes feel like she has a hard time expressing herself moreso then other kids her age. I’m not sure why this is and it worries me some. I am always telling her “it’s ok to feel your feelings.” We were watching a movie together the other day, which I could tell was evoking her to feel sad. I could tell she was holding back her tears. Again, I told her…”Oh sweetie, if you are sad, it’s ok to cry.” The tears started to flow when I said this to her. I really hope she gets to the point where she gives herself permission to feel whatever it is she is feeling and without fear of what others will think of her.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Dainelle A. says:

    Today, I got angry when a taxi driver didn’t take me to my destination, which is clearly written as a route he takes on his vehicle. Later, I felt guilty for getting angry and wondered if the people around thought I was tyrannical (although I did nothing but wear an angry expression). So thank you. I really needed this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Maryanne says:

    Thanks! I needed to read this. We had to put down our cat almost a month ago and I’m still mourning. Meanwhile I’m trying so hard to be perfect and not let stupid things bother me but they do! So, from today onward, I’m letting myself be a little cranky. I was the same way when my grandmother died. Eventually I got over it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  39. George M says:

    Great post. We need to validate how we feel and not seek the approval from others! Thank you❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Tim & Maria says:

    I love this post. I read it with my partner. I think is important that we both feel safe expressing our emotions. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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