How to Embrace All Your Feelings

My daughter started preschool the other week.

I didn’t anticipate how many different feelings I would have about watching her walk off into the school with barely a second thought.

I was so proud of her.
And I am excited to be getting time back to myself. Very much so.
And my heart broke knowing she is going into the world and will experience things I won’t always know about.
And I felt a sense of freedom I haven’t had in a very long time. I was elated about this.
And I felt time being marked by this new chapter so I felt nostalgia.
And I was sad she wasn’t going to school with the special crew of kids that she had grown to love in Brooklyn.
And I was happy she has her cousin by her side.

I could go on.

My point is, there were a plethora of feelings.

Did you notice that many of the feelings I had are in contradiction to each other?

But, they were all swirling at the same time.

We often experience many different feelings at once, particularly as it pertains to a life changing event. And yet, we want to categorize it as one thing.

I am either stressed.
Or I am sad.
Or I am happy.
I am in despair.
I am proud.

What if it were all those things, at once?

Our feelings are layered, complex and multidimensional. (Just like us!)

We must be willing to embrace the fullness of our hearts and all the beautiful textures and layers that it holds.

It takes practice to do so, but there is a tremendous amount of freedom that comes when we notice the depths of our own feelings.

Here is a two-step, short and easy practice to help you do just that.

Step 1: What else?

This week, when you are feeling something intense, uncomfortable or even really good, I invite you to ask yourself, “What else? Is there anything else here?”

You can even get more specific and ask yourself if you might have opposite feelings from the dominant one you are experiencing. This is helpful particularly if the dominant feelings are heavier ones. Is there any joy in there? Is there a sense of gratitude? Relief? Freedom? It’s ok if there’s not, but check.

Pause. Get still for a moment, and just see what comes up. See what else your heart might be holding.

It’s a subtle practice of noticing. You have to really tune in and be honest with yourself.

Step 2: Write it down

I invite you to share in the comments what feelings you noticed. You don’t even have to explain yourself. (Of course, you are welcome to!) You can just say: I feel X, I feel Y, I feel Z.) It’s good for us to record the feelings so we can refer back to them, remembering the many layers.

You must be willing to accept that you, the beautiful, layered, textured human that you are, can hold more than one emotion at once. And it’s ok, if they don’t all go together perfectly.

I promise, they actually go together more beautifully than you realize.

I hope that you are having a beautiful week and that this practice brings you some more ease and flow.

Big love,

P.S. Did you get a chance to do the workout I shared last week? Here is what a few people had to say:

“I really enjoyed this gentle sculpt workout. I love the way you guide us through the movements. Thank you so much Erin.”

“Did this workout today and loved it! Loved the music, the moves and hearing your lovely voice! Made me feel so much better about my day – thank you!”

“This was just the missing puzzle piece in my workout routine right now. Love the core and inner thigh work—I was definitely challenged and sore but not overcooked. Grateful for this offering!” 

If you are needing inspiration in your at-home workout routine that also helps tap into your emotional and spiritual life, I invite you to come check out The Movement.

Each month I share new workouts, meditations, soul strolls and coaching that give you plenty of variety so you don’t get bored and more importantly, encourage you to simply begin exactly where you are.

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8 Responses to How to Embrace All Your Feelings

  1. Chris says:

    I just did the workout!! Glad to be reminded!
    And I am SUCH a summer lover…I live in central NY and they are way too short for me!!!…that when it starts to get cooler and darker too soon at night, and leaves turn colors and fall, and I have to close my beloved pool….I have tremendous mixed emotions!!!💙
    Love heat and sun, but also love seeing spectacular fall colors!
    Love my bathing suit, but also love sweatshirts and leggings!
    Love reading by evening light in my deck, but also love a fire in a fire pit!!
    So…yes…many contradictory emotions at once!!😘

    • erin says:

      This is so GOOD! I am so similar w loving summer but also finding things to love about fall. I loved reading this list. It is helping me to embrace the changing of the seasons right now. Xo

  2. Michelle L says:

    Well, I am all for writing—of course, because I teach writing as a healing art. That comes easy to me. The conscious movement is where I need a motivational boost. I know your workout would be perfect for me. Since I’ve had insomnia, I’m finding it hard to make time get motivated to move. I’m just surviving!

  3. Mary Slagle says:

    Timing is everything! I’m reading your blog and I had just been wrestling with so many emotions. An end to the closeness I have had with my adult children and a freedom of time and space . I made a decision to move up to the mountains and it puts me far from my children and grandkids. The space is spectacular and secluded with just a few neighbors but mostly Sequoia pine trees,(and a few bears). My husband is gone most of the time for work so it is just me. I’m longing for more contact with my family but I am also treasuring the beauty and solitude. I’m okay with both, and as long as I do not let fear and negative self talk linger, my mind is at peace.

    • erin says:

      Mary, I so appreciate what you have shared here. It makes perfect sense to me to be feeling all these things at once. Reading it helps me further embrace my own plethora of feelings. Thank you and yes, enjoy the solitude. Xo

  4. Sherry says:

    I feel worried, I feel relieved
    I feel hesitant, I feel triumphant
    I feel isolated, I feel loved

  5. Charlee says:

    Hi Erin.
    I have found myself, when chatting with friends about doings and emotional happenings, saying “What about the flip side?” or “that would be kinda ….. , on the flip side”.
    Quite often with a flat hand gesture of flipping energy.
    This blog just enlightened me to what i’ve meant by that, well written thanks.

    Previously i thought it was just a bit more real than “look on the bright side”.
    Cheers, Charlee