I have this tendency to laugh or giggle in moments that are not necessarily happy, moments that should be serious. For example, I may be in a serious conversation, but giggle at the end of my phrases. For the first time ever I became aware of this when I was doing my coaching certification. The other day I had a chance to become even more deeply aware of this trait and to discover what was underneath.
Many people suppress emotions without realizing it and as a result wear the face of many masks, but rarely allow their actions and expressions to match up their true and deepest emotions.
The result of doing this can lead to an endless list of issues. It could mean never learning how to open up and truly experience joy. It can create marital discord as one spouse or both are never able to articulate all of their deepest emotions leading to either a lack of intimacy or built up resentment. No matter which way you put it, not allowing ourselves to feel, truly feel, is cutting off an opportunity to be fully present in our moment. The message we send to ourselves internally is “Whatever I am feeling is wrong, and it must be stopped.” How we got that message is a different story, but through the years we have trained ourselves to force a response different then the real emotions present.
As I sat across from a teacher who teaches and heals in this amazing combination of holistic practice within the Sunnah, he asked me to slow down, to get in touch with the different physical sensations in my body, like my breathing and the placement of my hands.
I kept giggling quietly, feeling I could not stop. I apologized, telling him “I’m sorry, I can’t stop.”
With the same directness I usually dish out on my own coaching calls, he said “Yes you can. What would happen if you did not laugh?”
I paused, and said I am not sure. At that moment, almost at the same time his question came out of his mouth, I began to formulate the answer.
“You would cry.” he said confidently, yet softly.
And at that moment, I did indeed feel like crying. Crying because I had come to explore something, to search for answers, and there was a sense of relief, of being understood and validated.
But I would not and could not cry. Because then I would be vulnerable.
I have coached countless sisters who have been in my shoes exactly. I have realized in my own self and hundreds of others that being vulnerable is one of the greatest risks we will ever take, and one of the most essential to living fully authentic and present in each moment.
Yet we are afraid to be vulnerable because somewhere in our lives we were hurt for “wearing our heart on our sleeves,” and as a result we changed.
Choosing to keep our feelings hidden, though, will bring about far greater consequences. Not just in our relationships, but even in our connection with Allah, ‘azawjel.
Allah knows, sees, and hears everything, and even with Him, we are afraid to share the contents of our heart, and make du’a from the deepest corners of our hearts.
How to Create Awareness of Your Emotions
1) If you happen to giggle and laugh to in strange moments – focus inwards and ask yourself “If I wasn’t laughing right now, what would I feel?”
2) When you are in a happy moment, ask yourself “Am I truly expressing my joy and happiness to its fullest level right now?”
3) When sad or hurt ask yourself “Am I letting someone close to me know exactly how I am feeling with no extra layers in between ?” so that you provide for them an opportunity to fix, support, love, or change.
No doubt, there is a balance that must be discovered between ourselves and people of what we will share of our innermost emotions. Yet at the same time we must learn that if any of our relationships are not where we want them to be, whether its with our children, spouses, parents, or friends, the very people we hold dear and the very people who should be a safe place to be vulnerable, then we must first look to ourselves to see how many masks we are wearing.