Why It’s Worth the Temporary Discomfort of Sitting with Intense Emotions

“Whatever you’re feeling, it will eventually pass.”  ~Lori Deschene

You can feel an extreme emotion like anger without reacting or trying to control it.

Can you feel such an intense emotion without needing to justify or explain it—or needing to find someone or something to blame it on?

It was something I had avoided for over two years. However, it finally caught me. It was a complete debilitating experience. I did however experience something more while I was not well.

It brought out intense emotions. I felt rage over something that was not related to the virus.

I felt completely irritated during those few days when my symptoms became severe. While it was understandable that I felt angry at being sick and that my work was delayed on a project that I loved, I also realized that the anger stemmed from a deep-rooted sense of blame.

Growing up, I was part of a religion that had an impact on my life. This religious denomination taught me how to overcome fear, divide, and confuse. I was enslaved by black-and white rights and wrongs in living, thinking and being. These were not clear enough to me and could not be explained.

It has been an amazing experience. I’ve used shadow work and inner child healing to help me. All of these methods helped me tremendously in healing various layers.

But the emotion of deep anger I harbored clearly hadn’t gone away, and it simply needed to be felt.

The more we learn to observe and witness our emotions, the more acutely aware we become of where they’re stemming from, and the more we’re able to notice and catch ourselves when we’re associating our emotions with narratives and situations that are not in fact to blame for how we’re feeling.

Although I’d initially managed to fashion some connection between being unwell and the church I still harbored so much anger toward, I became increasingly aware that there was none. I was a part of a continuing pattern that tempted me to blame the church. It was now time to end this cycle.

At the same time, I’d recently become very aware that whenever I’d hear mention of the church or any of its associated beliefs, a brief surge of anger would leap up in me. It was still triggering.

This was a time when I felt ready to let go of the anger and blame. This meant that we had to deal with it on an emotional level in order to find inner peace. It was time to really sit down with my feelings and allow them to flow through me.

You are the only one responsible for your emotions. You are the only person responsible for your emotions. You can see them for either one or two reasons.

Either they’re unresolved past emotions that are surfacing because they’re ready to be acknowledged and felt now, or they’re feelings that demonstrate how a situation is resonating for you—in other words, they’re your own inner compass.

Sadly, although traditions like Buddhism have been teaching us how to develop emotional awareness for thousands of years, we’ve somehow landed on two dominant, ineffective responses.

Reacting to our emotions, or trying not to notice them.

It is best to not let an emotion go. It will come back to haunt you until you address it.

This category includes the toxic positive practices. They suggest that you create a gratitude list, and then search for the highest feeling thoughts. In other words, avoid the “negative” emotion for now and let it fester under the surface a little while longer.

Newsflash: No emotion is negative unless it’s fueling a negative action or reaction. It’s simply feedback pointing you toward growth or clarity.

This brings us to our next dominating response. Acting on the emotion (by yelling at someone, for example) will at least give it an opportunity to release, but will most likely create consequences that won’t serve you. We’ve all been there and done that, so no judgment here.

As I emphasised earlier, the only person who’s ever responsible for your emotions is you. We tend to deflect responsibility for our emotions. They help us learn, understand and lose nothing.

And so, I let the anger take over. I was fully present with it—by itself, separate from any experience or event that I could possibly associate it with.

It came up, I recognized it and felt the full force of it. Then, I breathed in it. With compassion, I allowed myself to be present with those parts of my body that were feeling this emotion. I allowed it to move through me.

Even though I had felt intense feelings of anger for only a few days it eased off quickly once I started to lean in. It was clear that I had been ill and this anger caused me to feel it.

I’ve also noticed that since this whole experience, the little surges of anger I’d previously felt have gone away. So far I haven’t felt those triggers since, which is a relief.

Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that many of us are carrying deep trauma that’s often too painful to even fathom triggering. So have compassion for yourself in whatever you feel, and don’t put off seeking the right support to work through your emotions if you feel you need this.

Now, this might sound counterintuitive, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable to do at first. But real emotional awareness—and maturity—means sitting with the emotion and feeling its fullness.

It’s identifying what this emotion is and how it feels. It’s also important to identify where it can be felt physically.

It’s giving yourself some time and space to focus on really leaning into the emotion, and separating it from any narrative or incident it may be associated with. The best way to deal with emotion is by focusing on it alone. Without guilt, self-pity or justification.

You can feel and recognize it. And when it’s released you’re able to understand what it represented for you. Through it, you grow.

It may take some time but the feeling can only be felt. It’ll try harder to catch your attention until then, but it won’t stop trying.

This can require a lot of courage, especially because too many of us have been conditioned to fear feeling our emotions and believe that we can’t handle them.

You can cry if necessary. If you feel it is intense, then this could be the time when deep-buried things are being released.

You let emotions move through your body, and it will move out.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel another “negative” emotion ever again.

But it does mean that you’ll understand how to respond to these emotions, and allow them be felt and understood with a lot more compassion.

And that’s more than worth the temporary discomfort.

About Nadine Saad

Nadine is a certified coach and Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT®) practitioner. To help leaders become more purpose-driven and intuitive in their lives and work, she combines coaching and deeper inner work. She helps leaders connect to their subconscious and find the answers they need. You can find her on Nadine-Saad.com and Instagram.

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