Befriending Your Feelings

September 29th, 2022

What if you weren’t afraid of your feelings? Not a question we are asked very often; perhaps never. But maybe it’s one worth considering.

I think about this often, both for myself as well as with clients. There are many emotions we welcome, often without thinking about it. Joy, happiness, transcendence are just a few examples. They feel great! We actually crave the experience of some emotions.

But it’s the other ones that we try to avoid. Longing, loneliness grief, shame. Clearly these are not fun to experience. In fact, they can be awful. So we will do what we can to avoid them. That may be going on Instagram, hooking up with someone, having a drink, smoking a joint, playing video games…the options to avoid are endless. 

But we can make other choices. Consider my question again – What if you weren’t afraid of your feelings?

What if you welcomed whatever emotion is there. “Hi grief! How’re you doing?”  Sounds odd, I’m sure. But this can be a very helpful and healing approach. By welcoming, you’re shifting your relationship a little bit to these feeling states. Here’s an example:

“Hi shame. I see you.”

“You’re feeling pretty bad about yourself aren’t you? Maybe even angry.”

“I know it’s hard. I’m here for you. I love you (or at least am trying to).”

“Do you need to cry? Go for it. We usually feel a little better after letting it out.”

It’s a little different when we welcome our emotions.  We have a little distance. This allows us to get less caught up in the spiral of thoughts. And this allows us to care for ourselves in a different manner. We can then begin to practice understanding and self-compassion.

Give it a try sometime. You’ll likely need to practice it as it’s not an easy thing to do. But with persistence, I think you’ll see some change, some ease, and perhaps a little more love for yourself. 

If you’re looking for a therapist, feel free to contact Mike Giordano at 202-460-6384 or

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