TALK | Holding Both: the Complexity of Conflicting Emotions

The past two weeks we’ve discussed some of our SFT thoughts on combinations in skincare and diet through food combining. This week, we’d like to touch on the combinations that are experienced and not seen: the combination of conflicting emotions.

At SFT, we believe that as complex and unique individuals, it’s only natural that we experience complex and unique thoughts, feelings and emotions throughout each day. Sometimes, this means that our thoughts, feelings, and emotions appear in opposition to each other, or that “rationally” our emotions aren’t justified. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that you’re somehow not in alignment, judging yourself, or “should-ing” yourself out of your feelings, we believe that you can compassionately hold both sides of conflicting emotions.

Have you ever had an emotion arise and then promptly tried to talk yourself out of it? When uncomfortable emotions occur, like sadness, jealousy or anger, it’s common to become very critical of ourselves.

Picture this: a close friend or partner has exciting news. Let’s say you and your best friend have been confiding in and supporting each other through your respective struggles with infertility and she has finally gotten pregnant! Or you and your partner are both aspiring writers and your partner is offered a book deal. Of course, you are overjoyed for them, but you may also notice some background feelings of sadness for yourself or even anger at their success. Instead of shaming yourself for being a bad friend or partner, know that it is ok and valid that you experience both emotions at once.

In Susan Campbell’s book Getting Real, she outlines that sharing mixed emotions is a key tenet of honest and open communication. As Dr. Campbell writes:

“You may be pulled equally in two or more directions. Or you may feel primarily one way (in your “foreground”) but have a background feeling that’s different… It’s okay to be both angry and afraid, both resentful and appreciative, both eager and reluctant. This skill teaches you to let go of your ideas and shoulds about being consistent so that you can express whatever shows up in your awareness.”

The key to holding both sides of a combination of emotions is to allow yourself to fully feel and experience those emotions and their accompanying sensations. This is what allows us to move through and release those emotions. While this can be scary, vulnerable, and uncomfortable, holding our emotions in is how resentments build and it can even make us sick.  Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite ways to work with emotions when things get tough:

  • Work with a pro: A therapist or counselor whose practice is rooted in mindfulness can be a wonderful way to explore your emotions in a supportive and guided environment. If you’re in LA, we love the folks at Compassion LA and Dana the Good Enough Therapist.

  • Meditate: Tuning in through meditation is a great tool to connect with your emotions and your body. A Guided Body Scan Meditation or moving meditation like Kundalini yoga can help you to notice and experience the sensations of your emotions more fully, allowing you to release and move through them.

  • Journal: Detailing your emotions and experiences through writing can support your process and help you to see different perspectives. These journal prompts can help you tap in and get clear on your journey.

  • Dive in: With so many resources at our fingertips, we have more support than ever in navigating our complex emotional lives. Some of our favorite resources for learning more and doing the work include Lacy Phillip's Unblocked sessions, Honesty Lab workshops, and authors like Susan Campbell, Brene Brown, Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks, Brad Blanton and Byron Katie.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on how you have balanced conflicting emotions. Comment below with any feedback or questions on if any of our suggestions resonate with you. We will dive a little deeper on how certain organ pairings energetically can hold specific emotions as well in an upcoming TALK piece. Stay tuned for that! Next week we will shift gears into one of our SFT categories of health, the GUT! Can't wait to share our insights on how gut health is crucial to your skin health.