Your emotions are like a compass. In the same way that a compass tells you where you are located in space and what direction to go, your emotions tell you what vibration you are currently holding and what direction to go to improve that personal frequency so that the circumstances of your life are in alignment with your desires. Your emotions are also the doorway to discovering the subconscious limitations you have which are preventing your happiness in life. Not being in touch with your emotions in life is similar to being stranded in a foreign wilderness without a compass.
Naturally, because people don’t want to feel bad and do want to feel good, if left to their own devices, they would gravitate towards what did feel good. They would unconsciously follow the internal guidance system of their own emotions. But the process of socialization crosses our wires a bit. When we are being socialized as children, we are taught that many things that feel bad are in fact good and that many things that feel good are in fact bad. In order to follow through with things that feel bad, we have to tune out our emotions and learn to ignore them.
To compound things further, because we do not collectively understand what emotions are and what purpose they serve, we are essentially living in an emotional dark age. This means that society has made emotions in and of themselves a bad thing. And that means that during the process of socialization, children are punished for having certain emotions. As a result, they dissociate from, reject, deny and disown those emotions. They then grow up to suppress these emotions and deny the fact that they even have them.
People in general struggle to be in touch with their emotions and do not handle their own emotions well. Consider it a collective epidemic. But there is a percentage of people here on earth who have lost touch with their emotions entirely. It is as if they cannot feel at all. Numbness has taken the place of where emotions should be. The prerequisite of being able to heal yourself and create what you really want in life is to be able to feel, so people who can’t feel end up ‘feeling’ lost and dead in the water. Unless they learn how to feel again, no forward movement in their life can be made. To give you an analogy, they have to learn how to recognize, tune into and follow the compass again. Only then can they move forward in life towards something better.
The first thing you need to understand if you can’t feel is that the emotional system never stops working. So every emotion still exists within every person. Like a compass that cannot break, it keeps on reporting regardless of whether or not anyone is referring to it. This means, you do not need to work on getting your body to feel as if something is broken. What you do need to do is to train your own consciousness to perceive again.
When someone is first learning to ski, they cannot perceive the fluctuations in the ski itself or in the terrain. Something that would feel extreme to an expert (like snow consistency) is barely noticeable to the beginner. Over time, they learn to perceive even the tiniest subtleties. But those unnoticeable subtleties do not seem subtle to them anymore. This is how it works with emotions. Emotional fluctuation that seems subtle or barely noticeable to someone who is cut off from their emotions seem extreme to someone who is in touch with their emotions.
Also, it is really common if you identify yourself as someone who can’t feel that you don’t recognize feeling AS feeling. For example, you feel frustrated that you can’t feel, not realizing that the frustration itself is in fact a feeling that is occurring in your body somewhere, otherwise you wouldn’t even know that you’re frustrated.
So, what should you do to learn how to feel?
The world in general approves of the mind and disapproves of emotions. Therefore, if you were raised in an environment where emotions were bad, they felt like an enemy to you. What do you do when faced with an enemy as a small child? You hide. How do you hide from emotions that are occurring in your own body if you cannot leave your body behind? You dissociate and you escape with your focus instead. You put all of your focus (consciousness) either in the outside world external to you, or into your own thoughts. This is what it means when someone says you are stuck in the mind. Pretty soon, only your subconscious rules over your body and consciously you are dis-embodied so to speak. To reverse this, you have to commit to the practice of bringing your focus back to the body.
Emotions may seem abstract to you when you don’t feel but they are in fact tangible. Emotions occur in the body as sensations. For example, anxiety is experienced as a constriction in the chest and throat and an overwhelming contained ‘racing’ sensation inside your body. When things happen in the external world, we react to those things. We think thoughts about what happens and our emotional system reacts accordingly. If we lose a loved one, most of us think thoughts about being alone and loss and powerlessness. The emotional system translates this as an unbearable ache in our heart, a disconnected sensation that time has stopped, loss of appetite etc. Those are sensations. Long ago, people decided to call the experience of these sensations grief. One of the reasons people can’t feel is that they conceptualize of the idea of grief but do not relate to emotions in terms of sensations that take place in their body.
If you can’t feel, get a small journal. Set the timer on your phone to go off at intervals throughout the day that are manageable to you. For some that may be every 10 minutes, to others, every hour. Each time the timer goes off, take your attention all throughout your body. Experience and write down any sensation you find. You do not need to know what it is. For example, tension in head, warmth in fingers or ache in chest. Do that and only that for a week.
After that week is up, see if some of these sensations you are recognizing may be emotions. It can be helpful to print off a list of emotions and to cross compare the sensations with the names of emotions to see if you can name some of the sensations as emotions. If you experience something that causes stronger sensations in you, like an argument with someone or doing something fun, take advantage of this opportunity and do this exercise as well, regardless of whether your timer has gone off or not. Do that for one week.
After those two weeks are up, see if you can identify WHY you feel those sensations/emotions. For example, if you feel a tight chest and you identify that as anxiety, think back a tiny bit and see if you can identify anything that happened or any thoughts you were thinking that could have caused those sensations and emotions to occur. Some may be as simple as “I was staring too long at a computer”, others may be something like “ I thought about being really poor and how bad that would be and started to feel panic as a result”. Do that for a week.
This three-week process of developing self-awareness is the most critical when it comes to learning how to feel again. I suggest that after the three weeks; if you like it, continue with it. Otherwise, take note of the way you feel throughout the day and in each situation without writing it down.
If you are unable to feel, it is a guarantee that you experienced trauma relative to feeling in and of itself. For example, lets say something bad happens. If it is unresolved, we could call it a trauma. But lets say that whatever happened caused you to get angry. And you were shamed or punished in some way by a parent specifically for getting angry. The trauma may be about feeling angry even more so that the bad thing that happened. It may have caused you to suppress, deny, reject and disown the entire emotion of anger. Some traumas can cause you to disown feeling in general, including any emotion.
In general, people who cannot feel had caregivers in their childhood that were dismissive in their style of attachment. This means they were threatened by intimacy, especially emotional intimacy. As a result, they value independence and even though they may meet the child’s basic needs, they fail to be able to meet the child’s emotional needs and even discourage and dismiss the child’s bids for intimacy and closeness. The child is forced to get their needs met and stay on their parents good sides by not threatening their parent and this means, acting like they have no needs and acting like they have no emotions. They get as self sufficient as possible and dismiss their own emotions to the point that they lose the capacity to feel them. This dismissive attachment style often causes an avoidant attachment style in the child when they grow up.
To resolve those traumas that caused you to disconnect from your own feeling so as to become ok with feeling again, do The Completion Process. I describe exactly how to do this process in my book titles The Completion Process. Use the technique that I offer in the section titled “What To Do When Nothing Works, Including The Completion Process on Page 139.
- When people can’t feel, that usually suggests an extreme fear of losing control. Essentially, you felt so powerless to negative emotions, so incapable of doing anything to feel better (and thus out of control), that the body’s own survival mechanism turned on so you could go numb to all emotion. It is a bit like an emotional version of shock. Even though you say you want to feel, much of you doesn’t actually want to feel. You have subconsciously decided to not feel so as to keep control. The time has come to face this fear. You face it by consciously realizing this is what you are doing and then by consciously choosing either to be in control by being cut off from your emotions or to release your resistance to being out of control. Try to find the core belief behind “I don’t want to feel” by watching my video titled: How to Change a Core Belief. You can also imagine the worst case scenario of being totally out of control as a result of feeling and use the sensation of that fear as your doorway for The Completion Process so as to discover what trauma that fear is coming from and to resolve it.
- The unwillingness to feel often stems from the idea that it's not ok in fact it is bad to feel bad. We live in a society that believes it isn’t ok to feel bad. Feeling feelings is not always fun. Happiness is not the only emotion we have. So we have to seriously question the idea that it isn’t ok to feel bad. Everyone would prefer to feel good instead of bad, but there isn’t anything wrong about feeling negative emotion or about feeling sensations that are not pleasant to feel. There is always a really good reason why you feel the way you feel. It’s natural to feel love, to feel hate, to feel guilt, to feel sadness. Even though you learned it wasn’t ok, it is ok. It’s not just ok to feel those things, it’s right to feel those things. It just so happens that feeling wasn’t ok to do around the people in your life because they didn’t want to feel emotions themselves. So the only way to stop themselves from feeling was to try to stop you from feeling.
- Do things that are radically new. Get way outside your comfort zone. Take on new challenges. You’ve got to shake up your system so as to experience different sensations. You are acclimatized to your current life so you don’t experience noticeable changes in your feelings. Try new activities; try to do different kinds of art and self-expression. Travel to different places. Meet different people. Try activities where you will experience new sensations and pay close attention to the new sensations you experience as a result of doing those things.
- Without realizing it, you subconsciously avoid things that cause emotions to arise. You are unaware of how avoidant you are of things you want to avoid or face, especially those things that cause you to feel strong emotion. You also subconsciously have all kinds of coping techniques to avoid and escape from feeling. So, if you want to feel, do the opposite of avoiding emotions. Seek out movies and people and experiences that cause strong emotion. As you watch them, observe how uncomfortable you get and observe what you try to do to escape from those feelings. For example, rent a really sad movie, watch how when the movie gets emotional, you may get up to use the bathroom in the middle of it or start thinking about something else. And consciously choose to not engage in your coping mechanisms, but to feel instead.
- If you cannot feel, chances are that you are already a very mind based person. You have overcompensated with your mind. But in this case, you can use that to your advantage by using the mind to understand emotions specifically. Emotions and thoughts are like a different language. Your mind can be put to the task of helping you and allowing you to learn this specific language. The more your mind understands emotion, the less afraid it will be of emotion and the less fight it will put up to letting you interact with your own emotion and other people’s emotions. I suggest that you watch four of my videos titled: Emptiness (how to stop feeling empty), The Emotional Wake Up Call, How to Heal The Emotional Body and Happiness is the Purpose of Your Life! Wanna know Why?
Your emotional guidance system cannot be broken. It is always available to you, the minute you want to tune back into it and let it guide you through life. Try these techniques and you will soon find that feeling anything, even if it is unpleasant is better than feeling nothing.