One of the things that I have noticed in my clients lately is how close to the surface their emotions are. This takes them by surprise, and they are often overwhelmed by unexpected tears. Sometimes the feelings are familiar, and sometimes not at all.
There seems to be a pattern: we start a conversation with a particular direction, then a nerve is hit, and something completely different comes to the front. Though this is not where the client originally wanted to go, it is in fact the place that needs attention.
Quite often, there is also an accompanying sense of exhaustion that comes up with the expression of these strong emotions. The feelings have been set aside or suppressed for a long time, and keeping them down has take its toll. Keeping strong emotions under control takes a lot of energy, even if it all happens subconsciously via our well-honed coping mechanisms!
Many of my clients are feeling pretty depleted at the moment, resulting in their emotions coming to the surface more than usual. This can be an uncomfortable place to be, and often they don’t know what to do with these feelings. But it also provides a wonderful opportunity to become familiar with their driving forces and examine which ones are still useful to them, and which ones they might be ready to let go of.
All the while we don’t acknowledge our emotions and recognize them as a partial but strong driver of everything that we do, we will be at their mercy without fully comprehending some of our reactions or interactions. Once we become familiar with them, we are in charge again and reclaim our agency.
Perhaps next time you feel overcome by strong emotions or tears spring to your eyes, consider welcoming them and spending some time examining what they are about rather than shutting them away immediately. They might just give you a glimpse of yourself that you haven’t seen before. You can then make a choice about what is useful, and what emotions you would like to de-clutter because they don’t serve you anymore.
If you would like some help in creating emotional space, get in touch and let’s talk.