I work with many people who feel deeply flawed for not being able to “be regulated” with strong emotions.
They can be relentlessly hard on themselves for eating, drinking, working, shopping, and sexting their feelings away.
Today I asked someone: “What’s right about running away from your emotions?”
As they answered and reflected on the ways their defended self protected them from feeling emotionally annihilated as a child, understanding and softness started to emerge. Their body softened, and a beautiful downward wave invited a breath of fresh air.
This is the real gift of somatic healing: it’s a lot harder on the body to live with pressure, perfectionism and shame than to live with understanding, softness and compassion.
The bottom line is that there is always a physiological cost to the way we feel – compassion is simply less costly than shame.
I know this to be true, not because of a double blind placebo controlled study, but because of how my students hold their bodies when they are filled with kindness and understanding and how they look and feel when they are in the grip of shame.