When we’re going through a tough time, many of us feel pressure to put on a brave face, keep a stiff upper lip, and otherwise brace ourselves to hide our emotions. Sometimes in life, unexpected and even tragic, painful experiences happen. When these moments occur, it’s natural to feel bad.

Allowing yourself to fully experience and express your emotions is a bit frightening at first but take a cue from young children. When a child feels sadness, hurt, frustration, or disappointment, what do they do? They may cry, rage, throw themselves on the floor, and sob. While this may seem dramatic to adults, what happens when the tantrum is over? The child typically picks themselves up and moves forward. Most of the time, they don’t dwell in regret, sadness, and despair. Instead, they fully allow themselves to experience the depth of their emotions and express them.

As adults, we may tamp down our emotions and hold them in until we’re ready to implode or explode. Suddenly we’re yelling at the dog, another car on the road, or our spouse, not because of anything he or she did, but because we’ve displaced our emotions and haven’t allowed ourselves to really dig in and let them wash over us.

As we’ve learned, there’re no emotions that are bad or wrong. This is especially true when something upsetting happens in our life. All of our emotions are part of our humanity—the full range of our human experience. Allowing ourselves to really feel our feelings is powerful. It’s also power-generating.

So, allow yourself to really feel your emotions. Examine the learning opportunity presented by each of life’s challenges, and when you find yourself saying, “I don’t know if I can do this,” instead shift to your inner cheerleader to that age old – “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

As we start to tap into our personal power, finding our inner strength becomes less challenging. The power to deal with life’s situations and frustrations is within each of us. We are far more powerful than we may give ourselves credit for and in our tough moments we can see them as lessons to be experienced and knowledge to be gained. That perspective alone has the power to shine a little light on the darkest of moments.

Peace and Love, Jim

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