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Lawrence E. Kincade, Ph.D., LCSW > How Feelings Can Cause Trouble

Once you have accepted that feelings just are, that they are neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong, then you are ready to take the next step in the process.  The next step is more of a "staying put" - that is to stay with the feeling, just feel it.  Be aware of it; acknowledge it.

Now it's one thing to do this when you're feeling eager or peaceful.  It's quite another when you're feeling infuriated or lonely - who wants to acknowledge or stay with those feelings?!?  The answer is, no one wants to, but those who are successful with dealing with their feelings do so.  Feel lonely.  Feel infuriated.  It's a paradox, but the truth is that if you stay with the negative feeling, at least for a while, you are more likely to effectively move on to another feeling or perception.  What gets you into trouble is denying or minimizing the feeling.  Why does this lead to trouble?

It's troublesome because if you do not stay with the feeling, if you deny it, or if you don't really feel it, then the feeling will not be able to lead you.  The feeling won't have a chance to tell you how to express it, how to "get it out."  And, if it doesn't "get out" it's buried. 

When the feeling is buried it never gets resolved; it never finds it own life.  Rather, it's stuffed away and ignored before it has a chance to be expressed.  It remains still a feeling, but a frustrated one; wanting its natural and desired end:  to be expressed.  That energy has to do something or go somewhere, and because the feeling is frustrated the energy it generates is strong.

What happens to feelings that are not expressed in a healthy way?  One possibility is that these feelings will be expressed in ways that you have limited understanding of as they "come out."  This most commonly takes the form of addictive behavior, like problem-drinking or problem-eating.  Another possibility is that those feelings can "turn on" their owner bodily; thereby, leading to gastrointestinal distress, or even cancer or heart disease.