Feeling All Feelings: Commitment 3 of The Conscious Leader

This is part 3 of a series I’m doing throughout 2017 on the book, “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success.” To learn more, see Commitment 1, 2.

Commitments of The Conscious Leader

I commit to feeling my feelings all the way through to completion. They come, and I locate them in my body then move, breathe, and vocalize them so they release all the way through.

Commitments of the Unconscious Leader

I commit to resisting, judging, and apologizing for my feelings. I repress, avoid, and withhold them.


"Keep your feelings out of it!”

There's a misconception that circulates among leadership circles that "to make the right decisions, you need to use your head and keep your heart out of it!" This falsely-held belief leads us to assume that our heart and our intuition cannot be trusted; that these "soft" approaches to making decisions will leave us behind and keep us from reaching our goals.

Our culture doesn't validate our heart and gut intuition as a reliable means for drawing conclusions. And as a result, leaders miss out on a powerful gift.

There is immense wisdom that is held within this sense of deep knowing--sometimes which cannot be explained intellectually--if we could only learn to trust them and allow ourselves to feel them fully, and excavate and name the feelings that are showing up.

In other words, learning to feel your feelings and incorporate them into your daily decision making can provide a great value to you as a leader and those you lead.

The bottom line is this: leaders must encourage emotion, and they must develop the maturity that allows them to feel their feelings fully so they can put to use the power and insight they provide.

Emotions are a part of the normal function of a human being. When we mistake them as symptoms of disease, we repress and resist them which ultimately wreaks physical, psychological and relational havoc on our lives and leadership.


How to Feel and Release Your Feelings

One of the worst things we can do is resist or repress feelings. We cannot compartmentalize our feelings--meaning we can't repress anger without also repressing joy; we can't repress sadness without also repressing compassion. If you try to resist and deny the so-called bad and negative emotions, you will also resist and deny the good and positive emotions.

But if you allow yourself to feel fully the negative emotions; you will be better equipped to fully experience the positive.

The following 4 step process is laid in the book for feeling your feelings all the way through:

  1. Locate the sensation in your body. Turn your attention to the sensation and describe its precise nature as accurately as possible. Become conscious of what you are experiencing. Don't try to determine the cause, just accept that it's there.
  2. Breathe. Strong emotions tend to disrupt our breathing pattern, locking the emotion in place. Once you locate the sensation, take a few gentle full breaths, deep into the belly.
  3. Allow, accept, or appreciate the sensation. To allow the sensation is opposite of resisting it. If you are able, go beyond just allowing the sensation to be there and choose to accept or appreciate it. At the least, allow it.
  4. Match your experience with your expression. This doesn't mean to express what you are feeling by complaining. This isn't a pass to get stuck in drama-based emotion. Rather, match the experience with an expression that involves moving, breathing and vocalizing what is occurring in your body. "If this sensation could make a sound, what would it be? If it could move, how would it do that?" Don't just hold onto feelings, let them go.

So often, we experience pain and heartache long after their initial occurrence. Why? Because we fail to feel the feelings all the way through. When we don't properly grieve or properly acknowledge the sensations we are experiencing, they cannot be release. So we're left experiencing the pain over and over again. All because of the lie that tells us to keep our feelings out of it.

If you repress or recycle emotion, it can harden into a mood: Anger becomes bitterness. Fear becomes anxiety. Sadness becomes apathy. And these moods can last for years.

As leaders, we must encourage emotion. We must give ourselves and those we lead the space to experience our feelings fully. Not only do they bring life and vibrancy to our lives, they are essential to leading well.


Making the Commitment to Feeling All Feelings

Call out the lie that tells us to keep our feelings out of it for what it is: a lie that is holding us back from being the leaders we were created to be.

Don't let the resistance, denying, or repression of feelings keep you stuck and in a victim-mindset. Tap into the wisdom of the heart center.

Make the commitment:

I commit to feeling my feelings all the way through to completion. They come, and I locate them in my body then move, breathe, and vocalize them so they release all the way through.

Go and encourage!