Honor Your Feelings. Don't Eat Them.

You hear the phrase “Honor your feelings.” But what does that really mean? Honor. It’s a huge deal. It has a magnificent definition. To honor means to highly respect or to fulfill an obligation to. But do we really do that with our feelings? How many of us are taught that as adults we don’t need to feel?  Or we suppress our feelings and end up running for the junk food to fill the void?

No matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully instead of mindlessly, regain control of your weight, and finally put a stop to emotional eating.  But first, let’s talk about feelings in general.

Throughout childhood we’re told to “stop crying” or “don’t be angry.” We’re told how to think as well by our parents or by our educational system. Our own unique individual human thoughts and feelings aren’t always validated. We are told to stuff them away. We’re taught that our feelings don’t matter and that we have to put them aside for our kids or husband, wife or partner. Or we have to be a certain somebody at our job and to have feelings would just not fit that role.

Everybody has feelings. Whether we are a little baby, a full grown adult, or an elderly person. Throughout life, being a human being, we are going to feel. And it’s important to honor our feelings, to respect them and to process them. It is our obligation to acknowledge them and to learn from them. Every single feeling that comes up for us has something in it for us to learn.

Some of us tend to pick up on the feelings of those people that we are around and it can be difficult to discern what is ours and what is theirs. Perhaps I’m feeling sad and it’s really because I’m sad for somebody else. Or I’m frustrated but it’s really the frustration that I’ve picked up from a friend or family member. Depending on where we go and what we are picking up off of others, we may really need to cleanse our minds and write out and sort out what is ours and what is not. Some energy is tough to be around and we may need to take a walk afterwards or have a warm bath to soak and let go of harsher energies that we pick up.

But feeling other people’s feelings is also a great honor. It is compassion. Compassion is birthed from feeling and empathy. Rather than running from feeling and trying to put ourselves in a bubble so that we don’t have to feel what others feel and we don’t have to feel even what we feel; rather than running from ourselves and not wanting to face what’s deep inside of us, we should honor those feelings.

Many of us take care of our physical health and well-being. We want to eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise and sunshine. We drink enough water and we want to stay healthy. But part of being healthy is also taking care of our mental and spiritual health. It is important to check in with ourselves, to acknowledge what’s going on and to make changes at times. Our feelings will let us know whether we are holding on to the past or worrying too much about the future. Our feelings will let us know that we are afraid or that we are sad and we can learn from those feelings and make changes for the better when those feelings do arise. We just need to ask ourselves what do they mean, what are they teaching us?

I’ve decided that I am going to begin to honor my feelings even more. For me, that happens in writing. I sit and I write in my journal, or perhaps I’ll write a blog.  Writing helps me to discern between what is mine and what is somebody else’s. Perhaps I will come to a realization that a belief that I’ve been carrying for a long time really is not my own. It could be something that I learned from my upbringing or something that I picked up off of somebody else. It is important to take this time to do this for ourselves.

I hope that you will also take time out of your day or your week to honor your feelings.