Most of us have no idea why our feelings matter.  Without any pretext feelings can be confusing at best and painful and overwhelming at worst.  This can lead to us trying to avoid our feelings, especially uncomfortable ones,  at all costs.  We can only try to “not think about” or “get over” our feelings for so long before we realize, that those tactics only lead to disconnection, depression and avoidance behaviors like addiction.

In my hypnosis and life coaching work I am an advocate for feelings and help my clients reconnect to themselves on an emotional level.  If we want to connect more authentically with ourselves, create better relationships and generally experience a happier, healthier life then what we feel matters very much.

Why are feelings so frightening?

Part of the answer is that we can’t consciously control our feelings because they are governed by the unconscious mind (UCM). Feelings are one way the UCM attempts to communicate and send vital information to our conscious mind.  If we don’t have the tools to process the information these feelings carry then they can end up simply being frightening and overwhelming.

The second reason that feelings are frightening to us is that no one explains why they are important. Since feelings are not connected to a function they can seem pointless.

Imagine that you were given a car but never told what the gauges and lights on your car dashboard mean or how they are connected to the wellbeing of your car.  Now imagine that the check engine light starts flashing but you don’t know what it means or even what an engine is.  Perhaps the car starts acting strangely. If you didn’t know that the check engine light and the car engine are connected you wouldn’t have any idea what was happening. At some point you might guess that there seems to be a connection between the engine light and the car trouble you’re experiencing but you’re still left without any real understanding of what to do.  In this scenario, instead of being helpful and informational, the check engine light is useless, threatening, confusing and frightening all because it isn’t connected to it’s function.  

This is exactly what has happened with feelings.  Feelings are meant to give us insightful information about the health of our Being-ness and what we need to be well.  Just like the check engine light cannot be understood without it’s connection to the engine, feelings cannot be understood without their connection to needs.  Feelings are informing us about our needs. We have fundamental needs that must be fulfilled for us to live full and happy lives.  These needs are: to feel safe, connected (belonging), loved, empowered, and valuable.  Ignoring or denying our feelings is as helpful as ignoring or denying the engine light on the car.  There is only so long you can drive with a compromised engine before you have a full breakdown. Denial of our feelings is a from of self-rejection and self-harm that will build up and eventually lead to some kind of health crisis; an emotional, mental or physical break down.

Take a look below to see how the primary feelings are connected to a primary need:
Sad: Lost something important....Need to grieve
Lonely: Isolated, unconnected...Need to connect, belong
Anger: Something unjust, boundary violation, unmet need(s)...Need for justice, communication, better boundary
Pain: Something isn’t right...Need to stop and pay attention
Joy: Connected to your Being-ness...Need to share
Fear: Unsafe...Need for security
Shame: The lie that tells us we are less than...Need to know that we are enough

Our feelings are a guidance system, a line of communication from our unconscious minds to our conscious minds.  Armed with this new understanding we can treat feelings with a new appreciation.  Suddenly we can understand that all feelings are good because they are informational.  Those “bad” or uncomfortable feelings are simply trying to let you know what you need to return to a place of well-being.

What can we do to start treating our feelings like they matter?
  • We can stop avoiding our feelings and start feeling and listening to them. We have a right to feel what we feel and need what we need.
  • Start a practice of asking yourself “What am I feeling?” throughout the day and pay attention to the messages you receive. Give yourself permission to care about how you feel.
  • Boil the feeling down to one of the primary 7 feelings or a combination of them. Those 7 are listed in the table above. Eg: jealousy may be a combination of fear, anger and loneliness. 
  • Connect the feeling with the need.  And if you cannot fulfill the need, because sometimes you can’t, then be present with how you feel about that. The point is to not abandon yourself so stay with the feelings and allow them to evolve.
  • Treat your feelings as healing partners instead of something to “get past” or “get over”. Realize that feelings are vital information being sent to you from your inner self.
  • Remember that although we cannot control what we feel we are responsible for what we do with out feelings so take time to process the feeling and need before taking any action.
Need help reconnecting to your feelings? Contact me or visit