Denying or shutting down feelings—emotions, pains, etc.—usually blocks people’s energy or blinds them to important warnings. “Working through feelings” has two seemingly opposite meanings: continuing despite feelings and addressing feelings directly and productively. So promote conscious use of both approaches, as needed, to support people’s clear energy and attention.
Related: 25 Feeling Heard, 32 Integrity and Authenticity, 33 Iteration, 44 Power of Listening, 46 Privacy Guarantees, 48 Prudent Use of Power-Over, 57 Story Sharing
Going deeper …
This is an edited version of the video on this page.
Lots of stuff has been written and done with this idea of working through feelings. Feelings are a source of richness in life, they are also a source of problems in life. To the extent we are trying to create orderly environments in organizational settings and communities we tend to want people to keep their feelings under control. Very often that means suppressing them and blocking them.
One issue that particularly arises between men and women is that women are trained and inclined to be more open with their feelings and men are trained and inclined to be more closed down about their feelings, sometimes to the point of not even knowing what they’re feeling or how to talk about their feelings. That shutting down or denying feelings blocks their energy. There is no longer a flow of energy through their lives.
“Emotion” derives from “motion”. The “e” is a Latin prefix meaning “out”. So we can say that “emotion” is what the motions and motivations of life come out of. Emotions and feelings are a primary source of the activities of life. So when you suppress or close down emotions, pains and other feelings – which are often there to communicate that something is very right or very wrong – it blocks the flow of energy and motion.
Since emotions and pains and other forms of feeling are usually telling us something, there is information in them. They contain demands on our attention; it’s like they are saying “pay attention and find out what’s going on!” When we shut them down, when we cut off the symptom, we never a chance to find out what the cause is. Sometimes feelings can be intuitions, too, just like a hunch, a gut feeling. It’s like these things are calls to pay attention and gather our energies in particular ways and to move differently in life.