I have been actively working on myself for over ten years now and one of the first realizations I came to was that the thoughts in my head, and the emotions I feel are not always true.
So I then started to reject them. I think thats kind of common in the beginning of a spiritual awakening because you will understand you are not your ego, and maybe at times want to "kill it" or experience ego death.
What we resist, persists though.
So I kept shoving down emotions, and at times became a sort of disassociated robot which ironically was a defense mechanism I experienced in childhood. When in danger, shut down so you don't have to feel the pain.
And I got exponentially better at that when I thought there was a lot of positives to it instead of doing it unconsciously. I welcomed it and deemed myself better at handling my emotions because of it.
Fast forward a few years and the self help & spiritual community has boomed. Now i'm not the weird girl talking about woo woo stuff. Well, sometimes I am, but people are way more open to it now. But another movement has come forward: the feel your feelings movement.
I'm a CIS white woman and I can only speak from experience and privilege, but in my household it was a common phrase: "there's no crying in baseball" but then I would see intense & at times, frightening rage followed by extreme remorse. I would see the consequences of what would happen when my parents would react disproportionately to a situation, as well as feel immense shame for when I was emotional. So for me, emotions were not safe to feel. And they were definitely not valid. I can only imagine what others feel with societies conditioning on top of it.
Anyway, when the idea of feeling your feelings became more popular, I rejected it at first. I thought that it was weak to show emotion. It meant you couldn't handle yourself. But I had so many emotions that needed to be felt & expressed, and instead, they got repressed. And I am finally allowing myself to feel them without guilt BUT! I see the tendency to hold onto them as truth instead of letting them pass through me.
So another layer gets added: feel your feelings, they are all valid, and honor that there is both healthy & unhealthy ways to express them. And that can be really hard to decipher and comes with years and years of intentional practice. The key is to start recognizing your feelings, letting them out in healthy ways, and not using everyone and everything in your path as a way to project & avoid what is actually coming to the surface.
I felt extremely triggered yesterday by a situation. A lot of emotions came and up most of them did not have to do with what was going on. And I see the tendency to talk about them with others who are not involved as a way to escape my own emotions. I also saw the desire to react quickly without processing. So I wrote and wrote over and over again how I felt. I allowed myself space & time to reflect instead of react. I probably responded imperfectly but I knew the importance of speaking my truth about how I felt while also recognizing the other person probably felt a lot of the same things I was feeling and we just never allowed ourselves space to communicate them.
You don't have to "manage" how you feel, but you do need to take responsibility for how you act in response to the way you feel. And thats a learning process.
I used to allow my feelings to take over all of the time. Then I shut them off. Then I turned them on again and identified so deeply with them. Now I am at another point where I am aware of all of this and doing my best to respond instead of react, to allow for the emotions and channel them healthily, to speak my truth without projecting or being so identified with my own feelings that I can actually hear the other person and honor myself in the process too.
Sometimes I don't do so great. Sometimes I do. And I know this is a forever journey but I am super grateful I made the decision to do better for myself and those around me so I can connect more intimately & experience more joy and love along the way. And it truly is a choice.