Be Your Full Self

Ink on sketch paper – Words: Robert Henry

It has been three months since my Father passed away. For everyone in my family various emotions are bouncing around our houses, everything from acceptance to depression, joy to numbness. And all of that is okay. It truly is! Being able to have your emotions in reaction to what is happening in your world is a tremendous part of living a full and healthy life. If we do not deal with our emotions, acknowledge them and value what they bring to our lives we will end up cold, unfeeling and inevitably empty.

It is so much easier to simply hide our emotions, stuff them down deep and ignore all the pain or tears. Keep everything we are feeling tucked into a safe corner of our soul, which works for a bit until we no longer feel anything – joy, happiness, excitement, contentment because we have forgotten how to feel at all. We may not like it, yet we have to cherish our emotions when we feel them bubbling up inside us. For without them we are a hollow shell. Flesh and bones without anything behind it. Cold, uncaring, hard which eventually drives people away.

It sure would be easier if we could pick a date and time on our calendars to feel things, get it over with, then move on to the things we really want to do. Simply keep our emotions in check everyday, all day, never dealing with them because it gets too messy. Then pull them out, for a very short stint – do whatever it is they are making us feel – then tuck them right back into that dark hole and leave them until that next quick appointment. Yeah…oh well. We are not really built that way. We CAN do that, not sure we want to be the person who lives their life that way or build relationships without sharing or showing any emotion.

Our best path forward is to deal with our emotions, let them out, feel them fully. Which gets messy. Crying, laughing, screaming, being angry, frustrated, sad or even numb. Living with emotions is a smorgasbord everyday. We may be able to guess, and yet can never exactly tell how we will feel until we let ourselves feel our emotions to their full extent. Whew! And some days – boy howdy! Our emotions take over and nothing seems to go the way we planned. And that’s okay! It really is. Ups and downs, or feeling sideways is part of being human, real, and knowing ourselves. It also means letting people know us…and our emotions are a huge part of who we are.

Whatever happens today, cherish the emotions that arise and deal with them. Think about the why and how and who involved, get through it, and keep going. Living a life without emotions is like sitting on the outside watching other people enjoy life because we are too afraid to go inside and deal with everything that may come our way. And if you need help, ask for help. There is no shame in needing to talk to someone, so go talk. Go feel, and be your full self.

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