4 Steps To Practicing Self-Love Through Facing Your Emotions

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4 Steps To Practicing Self-Love Through Facing Your Emotions
Self

The key to self-love is emotional intelligence, but how do you get in touch with your emotions without sacrificing your mental health?

In Western culture, we unfortunately often have little-to-no developed ability to just be with our feelings.

All mental-health issues involve a lack of capacity for emotional regulation. Too much unmanaged and avoided emotion overpowers our brain's ability to make mindful, rational decisions.

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When our strong waves of emotions are not captained, we feel like we are living on an emotional rollercoaster that goes upside-down and backward.

In the morning, we felt fine. But then we turn sad by mid-morning, irritable in the afternoon, and numbed out at night.

Shaming, denying, or judging our feelings cause them to manifest as anxiety, depression, and fear of intimacy.

However, choosing to face your emotions and learning to regulate them is a necessary skill for wellness and personal growth.

Here are 4 steps to practice self-love by facing your emotions.

1. Develop the skill to connect to your core self by learning the craft of self-referencing.

Your core self is in your body, not the programmed thoughts of your ego.

Self-referencing is done by sensing your inner experience. So, focus on the physical feelings in the core of your body: your heart, chest, and stomach, in the present moment.

When you can't nail down exactly how you're feeling, this is the place to put your attention. Pause and internally name what you are feeling.

2. Learn to distinguish between your authentic and default emotions.

All emotions are not created equal. Different emotions are different for everyone, so it's time to examine yours.

Authentic emotions are the genuine, spontaneous expression of your inner experience.

Default emotions are ones that take you to your familiar reactive, blaming, passive-aggressive, and shame-filled territory.

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3. Regulate your emotions.

Regulating your emotions is a two-part process that involves mindfulness and experiencing.​

First, check-in with your emotions. Are you experiencing default emotions? Pause and notice them, and don't let them impulsively dictate your behavior or reactions.

If they are your authentic emotions, build your capacity to tolerate and track the physical sensations you feel in your body. Do not judge them.

Connect to your inner emotional world with neutrality and curiosity. Primary emotions have vital information for you.

From this embodied adult perspective, you can respond. Being with your feelings allows them to integrate, and this feels liberating and empowering!

4. Integrate anger by identifying it, feeling it, and containing it.

Separate the fear of having anger with merely experiencing it in the body. Once anger is identified and felt, it can be informative.

Constructive anger is a healthy assertion. Owning and integrating anger also heals anxiety.

You don't have to spend your entire life running away from your primary emotions. Using all sorts of strategies that engineer smallness in your life and constrain your joy and vitality.

By learning these skills of emotional regulation, you can become increasingly present to your best self. And most importantly, you'll learn the art of loving yourself!

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Nadine Macaluso is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a mindful communicator, and master connector. For more information, visit her website.

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Expert