Acceptance and forgiveness are two entities that are not interchangeable. Acceptance can occur without forgiveness however, forgiveness seldom happens without acceptance. Somewhere during the feeling of emotions, we accept what has happened, accept how we feel, and accept why we feel the way we do. Well what if, at any point, we choose not to accept, or we feel like there is something hindering acceptance, or if we only accept and forget to truly forgive? Can I bury the emotions under 101 projects I’ve created to keep me so busy that I won’t have time to feel? Can I tell myself, “Time is all I need” because “Time heals all wounds”? Just because the pain hasn’t been thought of, worked through or felt, doesn’t mean it’s magically removed itself from the internal, emotional bondage.
This week we’ve touched on, what forgiveness is, why forgiveness is necessary, how to forgive, and ways of processing emotions to forgive. Today we’re going to look at what happens if we are unable or unwilling to take those steps: leaving our emotions unprocessed and unexpressed.
Process and express or repress and suppress.
Our bodies and minds have an amazing way of utilizing various means of data collection. The mind regulates temperature, controls tissue and organ function, directs chemical production and distribution by interpreting and integrating information from our physical body and sensory body (nervous system). Did you know that there is another body to consider?…a somatic body consisting of concentrated, pools of spinning energy that also influences physical and emotional processes. Our minds and bodies are also good at keeping us safe using instinctual and prompted self-protection mechanisms. Suppressing and repressing emotions are two mechanisms in which we avoid or alleviate undesirable stimuli.
Psychosomatic disorders are a category of conditions created when psychological stressors adversely affect the mind-body way of homeostatic, self-regulation and correction. Simply put, mental and emotional factors manifest physical pain and ailments. When we deprive ourselves of the freedom and right to feel how we feel, we also make ourselves more susceptible to injury and illness. Look up the emotional immune response correlation and compare the infection and recovery rates among emotionally healthy vs emotionally unhealthy individuals/communities. Some relationships are easy to understand. Such as experiencing stress from an upcoming exam, staying up all night to study; not getting adequate rest or nutrition may cause your head to hurt. Compounded by worry over performance on the exam and fear of not passing, you may also experience anxiety and chest pains, an upset stomach, diahrrea…it could be a cascade of issues that proceed.
The emotional contributors of disorders might be more difficult to pinpoint. Since we’ve been discussing forgiveness as a function of emotional processing I will use that to illustrate the affect not feeling through your emotions may hinder forgiveness resulting in physical consequences.
To Forgive or Not
|To Forgive||Not to Forgive|
|Lower heart attack risk||Hypertension|
|Reduce pain, stress and depression||Diabetes|
|Benefits increase with age||Referred pain|
Can’t identify the current feeling? Well, imagine how you would like to feel and “fake it till you make it”. That saying implies that if we act joyful, confident, strong and healthy…then we will be. It is not a replacement for feeling but this way, we aren’t stuck in our own stinking thinking, punishing ourselves or dwelling on what could have been. Focus on what it’s going to be from here on out?
So where do the unfelt emotions go?
Nowhere! They stay inside of us and wreak havoc on our cells, tissues and organs, systems. They manifest in different and unrecognizable ways often seeping out when we least expect them to. Headaches, digestive issues, skin conditions, liver disorders, back pain, emotional instability, anxiety, stress, depression, resentment, distrust, and a slew of other psychosocial conditions are the result of unresolved feelings clogging our subtle body (our energies, vibes, chakras).
Imagine a backed up toilet. There’s flooding (crying), stagnant, toxic, and potentially unprocessed material. Nothing is moving in or out. Nobody wants to be in the room with it; why would anyone want to hold onto it? Waist and unwanted or unnecessary “stuff” take up space that could and should be occupied by beneficial, useful “stuff”.
Please understand that unreleased emotions that have already been processed can resurface if not removed, or continue to take up space better purposed for something else.
Keep the river of emotion flowing. Stagnation is not our friend. Stagnant bowels cause constipation, other GI disorders; stagnant blood – blood clot, tissue death; stagnant mucus – viral and bacterial infection; stagnant thoughts – depression, low self-motivation. Why wouldn’t we deduce that backed up, suppressed, repressed, congested, unprocessed emotions, be contributing factors of poor emotional health?
Where am I going with this?
Emotions, whether expressed or not, processed or ignored, have an effect on our total health and well being. The effects of retaining negative emotions and not processing emotions will probably be negative in nature. There is not usually a beneficial reason or outcome associated with holding on when you need to let go. The question to ask yourself is “Why?” Sometimes you need to do a little minor work and sometimes you have to do a hard, intense reset to attain balance. Releasing toooo much at once could bring about more stress than you can handle right now, so don’t push too hard.
Be kind to yourself, as you would your best friend. Show up and be present for you, like you would a mate. Encourage yourself to be honest, like you would your sister. Love and protect your whole being like you would your child(ren). Be patient with yourself like you would your great-grandmother. And last but not least, be YOU.