by: Dawn Allen
Have you noticed when you’re feeling happy and at ease, your relationships flow easily along? You feel open to life, loving, and generous… expansive.
But how about when you’re not feeling so great. When you’re feeling frustrated or tense, worried or angry… you feel contracted, shut down.
And what do we usually do when we’re feeling contracted? We start judging ourselves and thinking, “I shouldn’t feel this way,” because most of us were brought up to believe that there were good feelings and bad feelings, and we should definitely avoid the ‘bad’ ones at all cost.
But then what happens? What we resist persists. We try to force ourselves into feeling better, or jump to the nearest distraction to avoid the feeling altogether or just beat up on ourselves for even feeling that way to begin with.
The biggest challenge is letting go of the judgment about what we’re feeling.
What if… when we felt contracted, we simply took it as a sign from the Universe that it’s a time to go within, to take care of ourselves, to not make any big decisions (other than what type of bubble bath to take or which tree to go sit under), and to just allow ourselves to ‘be’.
What if… we accepted what we’re feeling and didn’t judge it to be good or bad, right or wrong, but just what ‘is’ for the moment.
When we give ourselves permission to feel what we’re feeling and “to just let that be okay” (my favorite motto!), the emotional relief is amazing.
Until we learn to allow and accept our feelings for whatever they are, we never really get the chance to move beyond them, or to allow them to move through us.
We might be able to force them into hiding for a certain period of time, but eventually they’ll start popping up in one form or another… physical ailments, relationship problems, emotional reactions, anxiety, depression, insomnia. Sound familiar?
The next time you’re feeling contracted, instead of judging it to be good or bad, or resisting it, or acting out impulsively, as we so often do… allow it just to be and accept it for what it is there to show you. Go within and take some time for yourself before you start interacting with others… take a walk, listen to some music, nurture yourself.
Then as the feeling of contraction subsides, and expansiveness returns little by little, you can communicate your needs, desires, thoughts, and feelings from a much more resourceful place, without shutting down or exploding!
Contraction is a normal part of life and all relationships. Learning to accept it is the first step in allowing it to move through us. Like the waves in the ocean, our emotions ebb, and flow, it’s just part of life.
Without resistance to what we’re feeling, we can experience contraction and allow healing to occur and move beyond it. Just as important, when we see someone else experiencing contraction, like our partner or our children, we can let go of taking it personally, and allow them the space to do what they need to do to take care of themselves, so they can come back to the relationship with love in their hearts again.
In the past, I often took my partner’s contraction, their drawing into themselves, as a judgment of me, or a statement of how my partner felt about me. Once I learned to accept and understand my own feelings of contraction, it helped me understand when my partner or my daughter was experiencing those same feelings. And to not take it personally.
What if we taught our children how to take care of themselves when they’re feeling contracted so they wouldn’t have to struggle in their relationships later on? What a wonderful world that would be.
As Janet & Chris Attwood say in their book, “From Sad to Glad,” “When I can be okay with the contraction in myself, I can accept the contraction in people around me. When I’m okay with both, then my life is simply a life lived in love.”
When was the last time you felt contracted and what did you do? What worked and what didn’t work?
Start noticing how you feel, so you can really participate in a loving relationship with a partner without the constraints of judgment. Then you will both be free to express your emotions lovingly and freely because you’ll have acceptance of yourselves and each other.
© 2008 Dawn Allen
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