HOW TO WELCOME YOUR EMOTIONS:
A PRACTICE FOR UNDERSTANDING YOUR INTERNAL WORLD
RAIN is an acronym to describe a 4-step process for approaching emotion that we might experience as difficult or uncomfortable. The typical response when an emotion shows up that we do not like is to ignore it, push it away, attempt to shift it immediately, or berate ourselves for feeling it. Many of us engage in various behaviors to avoid feeling it (i.e., overworking, running away, fighting with a loved one, binge eating, emotional overeating, people-pleasing, fawning, withdrawing, passive-aggressiveness, etc.).
The body is a vast resource of information, and emotions are but one way in which it speaks to us. We need emotions, they serve an essential function in helping us to make sense of our experiences, our needs, and our desires. However, many of us grew up in environments in which we learned that emotions were bad. They were to be put away lest we receive criticism, judgment, punishment, or neglect. We learned that we can’t say no when we don’t want something or if we don’t like it, we can’t show that we’re angry or hurt when we feel it, and sometimes, we can’t even demonstrate joy or excitement, because the people we are being raised by cannot tolerate it.
If this is you, and you find yourself now, as an adult, often abandoning your own feelings to keep the peace, make others happy, avoid potential conflict, etc., please know that a part of you adopted these strategies at an early age to STAY SAFE! What a brilliant system we have inside of us, to ensure our survival, right?
Though I know that you may be suffering now, because you feel stuck and like your emotions or concerning behaviors are controlling you, healing is possible. That healing can begin by meeting your emotions, when they arise, in a different way—a gentle, welcoming, tender way that demonstrates to the younger parts of you that weren’t allowed to feel them, that you are now safe to do so.
To begin, you might choose to implement this practice when you’re not activated and feeling an intense emotion. This would be a gentle way to familiarize yourself with the process.
Please approach this exercise with care, curiosity, and compassion. Note what it is like to let whatever energy is in your system be there, within a container that you have created that is full of safe energy.
Note: this is one important step toward learning how to get to know your internal world. If you notice significant resistance in your system, it’s okay.
This is a process that oftentimes needs support from a professional. If you feel you could benefit from more tailored, intensive support, I’d love to help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your complimentary discovery meeting.