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Let Women Feel Their Feelings

Updated: Jan 26

A friend asked what message I would want to share with all men, and this was my response:

Let women feel what they're feeling.

Rageful woman

All humans regardless of gender have the right to feel their feelings, but as a deeply sensitive woman who grew up with her feelings being stifled, especially by men, this is highly valuable to me. To be just as I am, express myself fully, not be told that I'm wrong or too much, and still be loved and appreciated - THAT is the greatest gift I can possibly receive.

To know that I'm beautiful, even in sadness, rage, terror, pain or pleasure.

To know that what I'm feeling is valid, and it's safe to feel and express.

That thought alone brings pleasure.

Although I personally view Polarity frameworks as lenses through which to see the world and tools to play with, and not as the right way to live, for me this is something that makes polarity work appealing and healing. In some workshops I've experienced with Michaela and Keith of the Open Institute, they facilitated a practice where the men held a strong, stable position as a grounding rod, and listened to anything the women had to share. There would be two different practices - first the women would imagine the men as someone who wronged them. They would rage at the men, finally having the opportunity to express what they were unable to in the past when they felt oppressed and stifled. The second practice invoked a softer, more vulnerable side, with phrases like, "when you did this, it had this impact on me, and I felt disconnected / sad / afraid / etc." There were usually more tears, less yelling in the second round. Both practices were deeply clarifying, confronting, revealing and healing for both sides.

When our emotions are stifled for a lifetime (or more), there may be many layers to uncover, express and integrate. Though I've worked through layers of grief and rage, it still takes conscious effort at times to not habitually stuff it down but to let it move through me with grace.

When I'm in a Family Constellation that includes the emotion of rage, I'm usually called to represent it. As long as I'm not in a triggered state, I tend to enjoy when people express anger towards me, because it feels healthy and it shows a boundary.

Enter the work of clarifying boundaries. Some of us didn't grow up with healthy boundaries. Maybe we had an overpowering sibling who we had to share something with against our will. Or a parent who was distraught so we took on the role of taking care of them. Or a parent who tickled us despite our protests. Or a parent who insisted we do this or that for our own bodies instead of letting us discover for ourselves what felt good.

A friend who parents in a way I admire allowed her daughter to walk outside without shoes after it snowed. The child got the pleasure of experiencing nature in direct contact with her own feet in her own way, and got to learn firsthand when it felt good to put on shoes. She let the child feel what she wanted to, and to learn for herself what she needed. I believe this creates more trust between parent and child, and more trust and clear knowing within the child for her own boundaries, needs and desires.

When we spend lifetimes following the rules and hiding our emotions, we have to unlearn these behaviors in order to come alive, realize our truth, and express ourselves in healthy, mature ways that connect and nourish us. Practices of disinhibition, boundary work, and healing the inner child, which are facilitated in the Somatica method, can be greatly supportive in giving us safety to simply to feel and express our emotions. Feeling and expressing our whole range of emotions will help us feel more alive, get clear on what's important to us, learn and grow, and feel more pleasure and joy. I felt WAY more joyful, open-hearted and connected after a day-long grief ritual. I've never grieved and raged so much in my life. It was incredibly freeing.

It's also important to recognize your own boundaries when it comes to being with someone who's feeling a lot - we may not have the capacity on any given day to hold space for someone else in their emotions. You may need the strength of a well-held grief ceremony or masterful therapist to hold the power of your emotions. Or perhaps any listening ear will do to help you vent a little irritation. Usually the more integrated we are in our own system - that is, the more able we are to be present and embodied with our own emotions, to hold our ground and feel the discomfort or pleasure of them moving through, and to express in a clear, healthy way - the more we'll be able to be present with another person's emotions.

Reach out if you want support in being present with emotions.

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