Earlier this year I took part in my first 'Facebook Live' with Ria Elizabeth (here's a recording), an INFP and someone I'd met a few years ago on the Fizzle forums.
We had a really deep and nourishing conversation, and talked about a topic close to both of our hearts (literally)... intuition.
My intuition feels like it is me, it is my soul... it's probably the closest thing to my true self (that I can 'tangibly' have a relationship with - our 'soul' can seem quite vague and inaccessible at times, can't it?).
It feels to me that intuition and soul are one and the same thing, or at least closely intertwined.
It's our deepest self, always there, guiding us with regards to what we should be doing + how we should be living. When it comes to who energises us, and what energises us. And something I try to listen to before making big decisions (sometimes, it's my intuition prompting me to make a change and think about said decision in the first place; it's a balancing act between listening inside and reconciling that with my rational mind, which also needs to be listened to, but with the understanding that it might be afraid/uncertain/anxious... and that (as a general rule), when in doubt, my intuition supercedes my rational mind).
See also: 📺 Fear vs Intuition: How To Tell The Difference (Marie Forleo)
In my conversation with Ria, I also described the relationship between our soul, intuition, emotions/feelings and rational thoughts, using an image of an onion(ish) that springs up for me.
Here's what it looks like for me, personally:
Inner layer = soul/intuition (intertwined)
Middle layer = emotions/feelings = heart/body
Outer layer = logic/rational thinking = head/brain
In the diagram, you'll notice that the closest layer to INTUITION (+ SOUL) is our EMOTIONS and FEELINGS.
These are so important to us... to our sanity, to our wellbeing, to our livelihood. Literally. This is why I feel that it is really, really important to have an outlet for my feelings and emotions, whether it's:
- expressing myself in the moment; not being afraid to speak up and say what's on my mind and how I'm feeling
- journalling to process my thoughts and feelings (yes, one feels more rational and the other more emotional, but they generally come together... though, the emotion/feeling comes first, and it's the thought that leads on from an emotion. At least, that's what it feels like for me)
- sharing my feelings with a trusted friend/loved one (or, if needed - and something I've done myself which helped me get started with this opening up process - opening up in a trusted space with a therapist/coach)
- expressing myself through my art (e.g. writing; for someone else it might be through drawing, or playing music); equally, connecting with music to channel my emotions / help me connect with myself
- dancing; I like this one so much that it gets a mention all on its own. I feel it's an amazing, under-rated way to get in touch with our feelings and emotions and get in touch with our selves. Combined with music, dancing is a killer combo. I'm pretty sure I dance in some way every day (even if it's just bopping a little to background music... I just find myself moving without realising it)
I feel that much of our unhappiness and mental health woes can come from misalignment - where our true selves get so suppressed and distorted that we are not living true to ourselves, expressing who we are, or letting our true emotions and feelings be expressed (remember, I reckon that these are all pretty mucgh the same thing).
Or, we are pushing down our thoughts and feelings, avoiding them, escaping them, not listening to them or letting them out. Not letting them guide us.
The onion analogy is meant to be a simple representation of something more complex and certainly not within my complete comprehension; all of this stuff is wrapped up in one big ball, where it feels like our soul is our intuition* which is our feelings and emotions.
Phew. Are you still with me? 😁
In short, back to the title of this post, for me it boils down to this.
Emotions are the closest expressions of our true selves
I have found it REALLY useful and helpful as I've gone on my own journey to better HONOUR AND EXPRESS my emotions.
A big one for me is through journalling and other writing (e.g articles like this one), through having more honest conversations - and through seeking out those who are more "my people" and with whom are on my wavelength and with whom I feel seen and am able to have conversations of the sort that are nourishing, deep and where expression of my true self is possible, and I can express my emotions and feelings (and thoughts) freely and honestly.
Btw, if you're not used to feeling and expressing your emotions like this, it can feel weird. Many of us somehow learn to suppress ourselves and our emotions from childhood, into teenhood and hen adulthood, during which at some point we reach a breaking point of stress/unhappiness/burnout/unfulfilment... with a whole big part of our true self having been constantly pushed down.
This is what happened to me, when I struggled through university education (I dropped out twice), and fell into working in recruitment in the City. I ended up making decisions and doing things based on wht I saw in the world around me, and not what I truly wanted. My feelings and emotions were pushed down, and I tried to squeeze myself into a box that wasn't me which, eventually, suffocated me and gave way.
Perhaps you can relate. Whether you can or not, you can start developing a better relationship with your emotions right now in a couple of easy ways:
- Talking to someone in a 1:1 setting (a therapist or coach who works with emotions/emotional healing can be a great place to start)
- By starting putting pen to paper, and getting your self out on paper through journalling
What about you?
How do you express your feelings and emotions? Do you do this often enough, or could you make more time for it?
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