Feeling safe enough to feel

“I want to go deep in my journalling, but I can’t feel any emotion. Help!”

If this is true for you, stop, breathe and reassure yourself that it’s okay.

You’re not getting it wrong.

Even if your conscious mind is desperate to get on with feeling and healing, your unconscious may still be still fearful and not want those feelings to rise just yet.

Don’t fight too hard because that will only make your unconscious feel more unsafe.

Keep going, but be gentle.

Think of it as an archaeological dig. You don’t go in with earth moving equipment or you’ll cause damage. It’s better to brush the earth away gently and slowly to reveal the secrets that are hiding there.

Resistance to the process of emotional journalling is normal. You’ve spent a long time repressing those feelings, so it makes sense that they won’t always be ready to come out on demand.

Journalling is a trust-building exercise with yourself

Think of journalling as a commitment you’re making to yourself. When you show up for yourself on a regular basis, and sit down with the intention of turning inwards and listening to yourself without judgement, you are building trust in your internal system. 

There are parts of ourselves that have been pushed down and ignored for so long, they’re a bit reluctant to come out and share those feelings. 

Imagine a child who is used to being either ignored or told to shut up by a parent or teacher. Then suddenly the adult wants them to start share their feelings, and is saying they’ll listen now. That child is unlikely to be very trusting in that situation at first.

Journalling is about showing up consistently and proving to those angry/sad/hurting inner child parts of yourself that you mean what you say. You really are going to listen to them and be kind to them now instead of pushing them away. If they take a while to trust you, that’s okay. Try and be patient, because if you get angry and frustrated that will only scare them away again.

For more information on expressive journalling, check out Nicole Sachs and her work on JournalSpeak.

Check out my resources for chronic pain