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Learning From Our Changing Emotions 

When we struggle with addictions and other self-destructive patterns, our emotions can become quite problematic. We experience intense fluctuations in our moods. In the span of an hour, we can go from feeling incredible to feeling like the world is caving in on us. It can be hard to go with the flow and accept these shifting emotions. That’s where emotional acceptance comes in. Rather than resisting our emotions, we have to learn to move through them, learn from them, and find peace with them. 

Emotional Resistance

The emotions we feel that are most difficult – sadness, grief, anger, fear, shame – often cause severe responses in us. We tend to panic at the onset of them because we’re afraid of feeling them. The discomfort and uneasiness that accompanies them are often unbearable to contemplate. When they arise, our instinct is to avoid them at all costs. We use our drugs of choice to suppress them or escape from them altogether. Our addictions are a form of emotional resistance. We’re resisting feeling our emotions rather than being open to experiencing them. The fear is that if we let ourselves feel our emotions, they’ll overtake us, and we won’t be able to recover. We come to believe that we aren’t strong enough to handle them.

Unhealed Pain

Allowing ourselves to feel our emotions can have a powerful healing effect. Acceptance allows us to move through our feelings more quickly rather than staying stuck with them. We let our energy flow after a long period of stagnancy. Our emotional blockages melt away, and we begin to face our emotions head on. No longer are we trying to hide from them or block them out. When we confront our emotions, we empower ourselves to learn from them. What are our feelings trying to tell us? Often, our difficult emotions are pointing us to the parts of ourselves that still need healing. Pain is a symptom of unresolved issues, drawing attention to those elements of ourselves we’ve been neglecting. There may be a traumatic experience we haven’t wanted to address because it was too painful. We may still be grieving a particularly painful loss. We might not understand the cause of our emotional triggers, and these triggers can feel irrational. In almost all cases, however, they are directly linked to the unhealed pain inside of us.

Unmet Needs

What can we learn from our changing emotions? Aside from helping us discover our unhealed issues, our feelings can also show us which needs aren’t being met. When we feel overwhelmed, we may need to make more time for self-care, spiritual practice, and personal development. Maybe we’ve been neglecting our inner selves, and in turn, we feel burned out and stressed. Perhaps we need to take a break from our hectic schedules to spend some quality time with loved ones. When we’re feeling defeated in our attempts to get sober after countless relapses, professional help can be an invaluable resource. If we’re afraid of judgment by others for being addicts, we should look at what that tells us about ourselves. Perhaps we need to look at why we lack compassion or why we’re judging ourselves so harshly. When we feel down on ourselves, it’s time to practice self-love. Paying attention to our emotions helps us to listen to ourselves more and remain mindful of our needs. When we look at our emotions honestly, we begin to repair our relationship with our inner selves.  

Ourselves as People

Our emotions tell us so much, not only about our issues and needs but also about who we are as people. Our feelings of compassion for other people tell us we have deep levels of empathy. Empathy can feel burdensome, but it can also help us to be effective leaders and excellent friends. Even our most difficult feelings show us that we have a conscience and that we address our wrongdoings rather than avoiding them. Our feelings of regret and remorse show us that we strive to be good people who learn from our mistakes.

Honoring Our Emotions

While we usually try to dismiss our changing emotions, we can actually embrace them and honor them for what they are trying to show us. We have a great deal to learn about ourselves, our unresolved issues, our unhealed pain, and our unmet needs. When we allow ourselves to feel our emotions rather than suppressing them, we can grow. Our mental, emotional, and spiritual development can finally progress as we find ourselves empowered. 

Even at the best of times, our emotions can be challenging. Navigating the ever-changing landscape of our emotions is a tricky proposition, but you don’t have to do it alone. At The Guest House Ocala, our experience with addiction and recovery makes us uniquely equipped to be able to understand the struggles you’re experiencing. We’re here to help. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.