You Are Free To Feel. Emotional Freedom.

I should feel happy.

Norma Talmadge

Image via Wikipedia

In Mona’s efforts to process what it meant for her to claim her emotional freedom, she tripped over this,

I should feel happy.

I almost tripped too, with, “No you shouldn’t!” But wouldn’t that have been weird?

Freedom to feel how we feel is not the same as picking and choosing our feelings from the great many genetic options we have all been given.

“No. I’m going to a meeting today. I’m going to feel powerful, confident, secure and somber. I’ll save ‘happy,’ for later when I come home.”

Ahem. That sounds like another indenture; some other short sugared path to being controlled.

The first part of emotional freedom is simply unwrapping the gift.

“I have this collection of shiny and not so shiny gifts that are accumulating in the attic. Nope. Never opened them.”

Open the gift of emotional freedom or not, it’s still ours. It’s ownership isn’t about what we’ve done to get it or keep it. That’s what a gift is. Free. There’s no negotiation; no exchange. It’s a one way path to our home, attic or living space as it may be.

I hoped for Mona that she would grow in her awareness of her freedom. No other goals at the moment; no happiness quest. No scavenger hunt for emotions she wanted and house-cleaning for those she didn’t want; just an awareness that what she felt was hers. She was free.

Questions: Have you felt free to feel? Or do you believe that you feel the way you do because of what others do to you? Is this a useful thought-paradigm to you? Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Open up your gift and check out your emotional freedom. Be a friend to yourself.

29 thoughts on “You Are Free To Feel. Emotional Freedom.

  1. We are so often told by others that we shouldn’t feel a certain way about something over and over that we begin to stifle how we really feel. It’s a long and (at times difficult) process to begin to own our feeling and know that it’s ok.


  2. I was thinking of the ways I make myself feel free and the areas in which I am free. Then the opposite floods in as I feel trapped and constrained . Is freedom like the active verb where the subject does the action and feeling imprisoned like the passive verb wherein the subject receives the action? Can we have one without aspects of the other?


  3. Although a single mother, sister, daughter, retired teacher, good friend to others, friendly neighbour type i tend to do stuff on my own often and for the most part enjoy doing so…sometimes I’d like someone along for the ride but usually don’t have the influences of others dictating how I should feel about things. I have had a difficult marriage, worse divorce and relied on the support of friends and family. I’ve lost my brother in a drowning accident and again family and friends have been there for me. So, I’ve been through the wars and survived and sorted things out emotionally. sometimes i just wonder why things turn out the way they do and then I get it together, get busy in work, creative pursuits, caring for others, tending to my pets etc. I love reading a great deal, theatre, some writing, gardening, antiquing etc and it makes me feel good. Whenever I’m down, I rest, make homemade soup, cry a bit if tears are there on the edge, touch base with my sister and hug my son. Seems to work for me.


    • wow. i luv your signature, “single mother, sister, daughter, retired teacher, good friend to others, friendly neighbor type.” i’m glad about it. shows us your legs so to speak. being a tall poppy. luv it.
      we mourn your tragedies w u too. keep on ms. courage.


  4. After many years, I’ve come to realize that there is no right or wrong way to feel about anything. And, by the grace of God, I have the support of peers who have learned the same thing. When one of us begins to beat ourself up, thinking, “I should feel this way or that way, I should be doing this or not be doing that,” the rest of the group is there to gently remind that person not to ‘should’ on themself. I am no longer held prisoner by what others think is an appropriate emotion or feeling to circumstances. I’m aware that there are times where my feelings or emotions vary from the ‘mainstream’, so I may choose to keep them to myself for a little bit in order to avoid offending or conflict. But that doesn’t rob me of the freedom of feeling them and owning them.


  5. I grew up in a family where you never ever ever ever showed emotion—any emotion. Never cry, don’t laugh too hard, don’t be angry—you get the drift. So, being the good girl I was I followed the rules straight to being miserable.

    Took hard work and time but I can now do all the things I was told not to. Sometimes it is difficult and I have to have a good talk with myself about telling myself the truth. I know feelings are meant to be felt and expressed. Although, I still hate it when I cry in front of someone and nearly choke on my tears trying to avoid it. Thankfully, there are not that many tears these days.


  6. This one can be hard. I think that one of the most difficult things I had to learn was simply that no one else is responsible for my happiness except me. It doesn’t matter what my life was like before. It doesn’t matter what mistakes I have made in the past, or even what was done to me as a child. At some point, I had to decide that the past wasn’t going to influence me any more. I had to take responsibility for my own feelings and emotions. When I realized that I was free to choose my own happiness, it really became a way of life. If I am having a bad day, it is my choice how I let it affect me. If I am having a good day, it is still my choice. It actually has been very liberating to discover that I hold all the keys to my own happiness.


  7. I, too, grew up being told how to feel. When my grandmother (whome I adored and who was my saving grace during my childhood and early adulthood) and my father-in-law (whom I adored, also, but only knew for seven years) were both dying at the same time (within two weeks of each other), my mother told me I couldn’t show grief for either because I had a responsibility to be strong for my husband and children. It was a terribly painful summer!!!! Everything I have done and everything I have felt for most of my life I have done and felt because I was told it was the right thing to do and the right way to feel. Only recently have I realized that I have the freedom to do and feel as I wish, but I am absolutely not comfortale with it. Freedom to be me has been the most difficult thing to learn to accept as mine and I am not convinced that I will ever get that far. And, yes, this has been a helpful thought-paradigm. Now to learn from it.


  8. I grew with parents who didn’t show their emotions. I don’t ever remember my father being sad at all, nor happy. Never once saw him crying. My mother was kind of the same. I remember her being very emotional when I was around 5. My brothers and sister were all teenagers and causing her grief. But I grew up void of emotions. I have a right to express my emotions, but my face is stock in a serious frown. It’s hard work, but I’m getting better.


  9. Hi, Doc: I’m just going through new realisations that feeling all sorts of things is ok. “Should” has played quite a large part in my life until now. Knowing one’s feelings are one’s own, with full accountability, is liberating.


    • my husband was telling our kids the other day about how to speak w the elderly, how they are ignored and my daughter asked “why?” he answered because we r all afraid to die and they tell us that we r dying. we don’t know what to say to that. i think it goes for why we stuff emotions in any context as well. what causes us fear is capped reactively for “survival.” hm. food for thought. let us know what u puzzle out.


  10. Acknowledging how you feel is a great liberator. Doesn’t necessarily bring happiness just like that – but the clarity can be an important step.


  11. Using my freedom of feeling to say “Missing you and your posts. Hoping you are okay. Hoping that you are taking care of you. :-)”


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