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Many of us grew up learning one of two responses to our feelings:

1. You learned to hide or suppress your difficult emotions, forcing yourself to feel (or appear to feel) positive, optimistic and happy.


2. You learned to intellectualize your feelings, using your brain to avoid experiencing them.

But there is another way: we can learn to accept our emotions and allow ourselves to fully experience them. This is a choice that can transform our well-being. First, recognize that there are no good or bad emotions—they all have a purpose and they all matter. Then, allow yourself to fully experience them. If the idea of doing so intimidates you, start small: the next time you’re a bit disappointed, or a little frustrated, or a tiny bit annoyed, try not to suppress the emotion or rationalize it away. Say to yourself, “I am experiencing this feeling right now. That’s okay.” As you do, you might want to treat your body with gentleness, taking deep breaths or giving yourself a little hug. Try your best to stay with the emotion until it passes. Finally, you can look at that emotion for the information contained within it. Is there something you need to do, say, or ask for? What is the most compassionate response you can find within you, to yourself and to the situation?


Emotions and feelings are not the same thing, despite people using the words interchangeably.

Emotions are real-time data sparked by sensations in the body. Feelings are how we interpret our emotions.

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