“I don’t want to feel better, I want to get better at feeling”

Tracy Miles

Why It’s Not Just About Feeling Better But Getting Better At Feeling

In our pursuit of happiness and well-being, it’s common to aim for a state where we feel good, positive, and content. However, this quest often leads us to a superficial understanding of emotional health. This blog explores the nuances of emotional intelligence and why it’s crucial to develop a deeper, more holistic approach to our emotions.


The Limitations of Just Feeling Better

Attempting to feel better by avoiding or suppressing negative emotions is a temporary solution. It’s akin to applying a bandage to a wound without treating the underlying cause. While it’s natural to seek relief from pain and discomfort, this approach can lead to a cycle of emotional avoidance and repression. Over time, this can result in:

  • Reduced emotional awareness: By constantly seeking to feel better, we may lose touch with our deeper emotional states and needs. Some of my growth has come out of the depths of sadness or depression.
  • Dependency on external sources of happiness: This can lead us to rely on material possessions, relationships, or achievements to maintain our emotional well-being, which are often outside our control. We all know that the joy of a material possession just doesn’t last.
  • Increased vulnerability to mental health issues: Avoiding negative emotions can exacerbate issues like anxiety and depression, as we’re not addressing the root of our emotional distress. Anxiety is telling me something and if I’m not listening, I am going to miss the message.


The Power of Getting Better At Feeling

Getting better at feeling means developing a profound awareness and understanding of all our emotions, not just the pleasant ones. It involves cultivating emotional intelligence, which includes:

  • Emotional acceptance: Acknowledging and accepting all emotions as natural and informative, rather than judging them as good or bad. For many years I referred to my emotions as good and bad. I called anger a negative emotion, I tried to “get away” for it. When I changed my mindset about anger, I discovered my anger was a signal that I needed to set boundaries, it is a very helpful emotion……”who knew”!
  • Mindfulness: Being fully present with our emotions, observing them without attachment or aversion. This helps us respond to our feelings with wisdom rather than react impulsively.
  • Self-compassion: Treating ourselves with kindness and understanding, especially when we experience hard emotions. This approach fosters resilience and a gentler emotional recovery.
  • Emotional regulation: Learning strategies to manage intense emotions without suppressing or being overwhelmed by them. This includes techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and cognitive restructuring. It also includes the use of movement and sound. Our emotions are not cognitive, they are to be experienced. 

The Benefits of a Holistic Emotional Approach

Adopting a holistic approach to our emotions has several benefits:

  • Enhanced emotional resilience: By getting better at feeling, we develop the ability to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and stability.
  • Deeper self-understanding: This approach fosters a deeper connection with ourselves, enhancing our self-knowledge and personal growth.
  • Improved relationships: Emotional intelligence allows us to communicate more effectively, empathize with others, and build stronger, more meaningful connections.
  • Greater overall well-being: When we embrace the full spectrum of our emotions, we experience a more authentic and fulfilling life.

While the desire to feel better is understandable, true emotional health requires a deeper engagement with all our feelings. By getting better at feeling, we cultivate a robust emotional intelligence that enhances our resilience, deepens our self-awareness, and enriches our relationships. It’s not just about seeking temporary relief but about developing a profound and lasting well-being that encompasses the entire range of human emotions. It also contributes to a vibrant life, being willing to FEEL it all means that we agree to live life to its fullest expression.

Tracy Miles
RP, Rssw, Author

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