I sometimes find it challenging to honor (and actually feel) my own emotions – especially if what I feel seems at odds with other people or my emotions don’t seem “appropriate” for the situation.
I’m not someone who tends to hold back from sharing my honest thoughts, opinions, and some feelings.
However, I have noticed that certain feelings can be challenging for me to feel and express, and sometimes I find myself worrying, for a variety of reasons, that my emotions aren’t as important as those of others.
It has been humbling to come to this realization about myself in recent years. But, it has also been incredibly liberating to see this pattern and to remind myself that my feelings are just as important as anyone else’s.
When You Honor Your Emotions, You Are True to Yourself
When we honor our emotions, it isn’t about being self-absorbed, arrogant, or better than anyone—it’s really about being true to ourselves, honest with how we feel and what we want, and willing to engage in authentic conversations with other people.
Feeling our feelings, authentically, is essential to our mental, emotional, and even physical well being.
So why can it be so challenging to truly feel our emotions? Some of the primary reasons for this are:
- We worry that people won’t like or approve of us
- We don’t authentically value ourselves or give ourselves permission to feel
- We’ve learned to put other people’s needs, desires, and feelings ahead of our own
- We’re not comfortable feeling and expressing certain emotions
- We don’t want to take up too much space and fear we might be considered “intense” or “high maintenance.”
- We have not learned healthy ways to feel and express our true emotions
- We worry that people will see us as selfish or overly emotional
When we don’t honor our emotions, we sell ourselves short in a painful and damaging way. By not being real, we can create unhealthy separation from the most important people in our lives, including ourselves..
How to Honor Your Emotions
Here are a few things you can do to enhance your capacity to honor and fee your own emotions in a healthy and productive way.
1. Be Real About How You Truly Feel
The first step of any process is always about being real with ourselves. The more willing we are to be honest about what we truly feel and want, the more ability we’ll have to honor ourselves and be authentic with others.
One way I get in touch with my feelings is through journaling. It’s not about justifying how we feel to anyone else; it’s about being real with ourselves and our emotions.
2. Stop Judging Yourself
One of the biggest things that can get in your way in life is self-judgment. Critical thoughts actually suppress your true feelings. Be real with yourself, honor what’s true for you…don’t judge it.
3. Give Yourself Permission to Feel
Because of our self-judgment, we sometimes don’t give ourselves permission to feel—especially certain emotions.
Remember: all human emotions have value and can benefit us if we’re willing to feel them in an authentic and healthy way.
To honor your emotions, you must give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling. Doing so allows you to move through your emotions in ways that can serve you, your relationships, and your life.
4. Let Go of Your “Story”
We all have a story.
Many of us, myself included, feel attached to our “story.” We love all of the drama and details that make up the relationships, situations, and circumstances in our lives (both past and present).
Your life story is important, but you want to be careful not to get too caught up in it.
Where we have real power is in feeling our emotions authentically, not just talking about them, rationalizing them, or explaining them – but in simply feeling them.
Human emotions are not sustainable – especially if they are felt honestly. It only takes about a minute or two to feel and move through an emotion genuinely. However, when we attach an emotion to a story, we don’t allow ourselves to truly feel it and thus keep it stuck in place.
5. Get Emotional Support
As important as our emotions are to our lives, well-being, and relationships, sadly, we don’t get a lot of emotional training in life.
We may not have built-in, healthy emotional support mechanisms in our daily lives.
There are, however, many ways we can find or enhance our emotional support. The key is for us to utilize these consistently and authentically and make sure they are empowering us to honor ourselves and our emotional experiences in life.
It is so important to honor your emotions. By honoring your emotions, you can create inner peace, be true to yourself, and build better relationships.
What do you do to honor your emotions in a healthy way? What makes this challenging for you?
Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more on my blog below.
I have written five books about the importance of trust, authenticity, appreciation, and more. In addition, I deliver keynotes and seminars (both in-person and virtually) to empower people, leaders, and teams to grow, connect, and perform their best. Finally, as an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence, I teach techniques that allow people and organizations to be more authentic and effective. Find out more about how I can help you and your team achieve your goals today. You can also listen to my podcast here.
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This article was published on September 16, 2015, and has been updated for 2021.