This is one of my yoga course questions that came up in Bali. I thought – gees, that’s a hard question! For so long I have been trying to not be sensitive and not to feel. Society does not necessarily value feeling the feelings. Particularly if you are working in the corporate space where it is about the numbers! And you know what? It is challenging for men in particular because we teach men to be “manly” and not show any emotion. Lifeline Australia research indicates:
- The most recent Australian data (ABS, Causes of Death, 2015) reports deaths due to suicide in 2015 at 3,027
- This equates to more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day
- Deaths by suicide in Australia occur among males at a rate three times greater than that for females. However, during the past decade, there has been an increase in suicide deaths by females
- The suicide rate amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is more than double the national rate. In 2015, suicide accounted for 5.2% of all Indigenous deaths compared to 1.8% for non-Indigenous people
Holy heck. In my mind, we socialising people into not being human and not being comfortable with sharing how they feel or reaching out for support. The data makes me so sad to read. They are not just random numbers but real people. There is a lack of discussion about mental health. Particularly in Indigenous cultures. Being an islander woman from a Melanesian PNG background, this astounds me as I think of my brothers and my sisters and my friends in the islands who don’t have immediate access to the same mental health support as what I have. Something I really want to change.
Harden up, Princess
Working in advertising for many years felt very much like “harden the fuck up. Get the job done or get out.”…an Advertising Managing Director mocked me when I was crying at my desk once. I thought I had to hold my thoughts, feelings and emotions in and never let out who I was and what I really thought and felt. I was told not to “overreact”. Basically, put a band-aid over my feelings. A guy I dated said “I don’t do feelings.” Needless to say, I have left that particular advertising agency and never saw Romeo again.
Fast forward to my 30s
Well, life has certainly has changed in my 30s! Lol. I am writing and creating videos and doing a whole lot of public speaking over the past few years and now teaching yoga and it’s like years of keeping my feelings in are pouring out now.
The picture above was taken New Year’s Eve 2018 and I feel at a point now where I can put my hand on my hip and own my feelings fully. The good, the bad and the ugly. And be OK with #allthefeelings. I encourage you to put your hand on your hip and own who you are fully, warts and all.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Being sensitive does not mean that you are a push-over, or that you have no backbone. Showing emotion is not a weakness. It takes resilience to be honest and show strength and courage without being aggressive. Being sensitive is not a bad thing and to me it means an ability to empathise and walk in someone else’s shoes and see life from a different perspective.
Yoga and meditation does not mean that I feel less or that I don’t feel angry or upset. Life does happen, is happening and will continue to happen, the good, bad and the ugly. Yoga helps me to accept my feelings and emotions fully and process life in a healthier than what I did once. I used to pretend I didn’t feel something or “be cool”, “yeah, no worries, all good”…when actually I meant the opposite.
I really want to raise this in regards to depression and anxiety. Denial and pretending you are not upset or sad can prolong the healing process. Words of experience here! Certainly not me lecturing, but acceptance of feelings and emotions and being sensitive to where you are now, helps to heal. Once I accepted where I was and yeah I was pissed off about a whole lot of things in my life and not releasing what was inside, then life began to twist and change and so started the healing process to manage my depression and anxiety.
My wish for you
And I want to leave you with this thought….My wish is for you to be you! All of you. Do you. Show all your emotions, heart on your sleeve, feelings and all and own who you are. God forbid you actually show emotion and that you are what you are – a human being. 😉