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How to Fully Process a Feeling

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Do you know how to fully process your emotions?

I sure didn’t, for most of my life.  I grew up in a family where emotions were never talked about. (I now know it’s called Childhood Emotional Neglect.) Sometimes people were angry or sad (hardly anything else), but I never saw anyone work through any of it, not even when something really tragic happened. I got the sense that feelings were a great inconvenience to other people. So I just stuffed them.

Making things worse, for me, was that I was born with the trait of High Sensitivity Processing, shared by 15-20% of the population. One of the four main aspects of the trait is “emotional responsiveness.” As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I was literally wired to be emotional. Yet it was a language that wasn’t spoken. No wonder I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere!

It wasn’t until I met April, in my twenties, that I got a clue that emotions might actually be useful. April was the first truly emotionally healthy person I had ever met up to that point. 

I got to know April really well from being in a small group at my church with her and her husband Bob, among others, for many years. She would regularly ask, “How do you feel about that?” or “How are you really?” And you knew she really cared, so you opened up to her. No surprise that she went on to become a licensed social worker, and a very successful therapist.

I recently saw April, and she spoke openly about what it’s been like to grieve the loss of her wonderful husband, Bob, with whom she had been in love since they were both 13. Bob was very special to my husband and me, as well.

Talking to April again, seeing how thoroughly she was processing her grief, reminded me how important it is to know how to feel and work through emotions so that they are fully processed. I hope what follows will help you in your own healing work. Read More→

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