Emotional Health

woman looking sad bent over desk

“Emotional pain cannot kill you, but running from it can. Allow. Embrace. Let yourself feel. Let yourself heal.” —Unknown

A Comatose Heart

Suppress, repress, hide, mask, avoid, numb, bottle up, explode – these are words that describe what we do with our emotional pain more often than not. Tears and vulnerability are confused with and mistaken for weakness. Strength is viewed as appearing like everything is manageable for us.

We receive messages throughout our lives that we’re either too much or not enough of one thing or another. For some of us, it is a rare occasion that we can trust another with our hearts. As a result, we have mastered veiling how we feel. We muscle through the day, week, month, year(s) without recognizing something is wrong until we have physical ailments, depression, severe anxiety, just to name a few.

Far too often, the true authenticity of a woman’s heart is not celebrated; it is abused, hurt, and left shattered into pieces. What was once a vibrant, vital organ has become a shell of what it once was; it is dying. As a result, whether we realize it or not, fear and anxiety are heightened because we’re constantly considering how what we say or do will be interpreted or judged; we’re not free to simply be (who we are), we have to do, prove, and show that we have everything together while the pressure intensifies, and the weight of our circumstances and the world around us press down and cripple us.

Oh, what heaviness; and it leads me to wonder if it would be less of a burden to just be ourselves and feel what we feel. If you have never thought about this, could you take a moment now to think about what your awakened heart could look like—a heart thriving and beating in all of its splendor?…Here’s how I envision the beauty and essence of a woman’s heart (our hearts):

woman in sunset gazing toward mountains.

The Awakened Heart

  • Inviting – our eyes, walk, talk, body language, and demeanor say you are welcome to me. We foster a safe and secure environment that bleeds and beckons authenticity, vulnerability, transparency, love, and healing.
  • Alluring–we’re fascinating; there is something about us that is like a magnetic force that draws people in.
  • Captivating– that magnet within us attracts and holds others’ attention.
  • Lovely–we beam with internal exquisite beauty and grace.
  • Generous– we give our time, kindness, and compassion to/for others and ourselves.
  • Confident– we are secure in who we are, comfortable in our own skin, and have the able to trust what our gut and intuition are telling us.
  • Assertive– saying enough is enough in love and respect—knowing when to draw the line with people who have no regard/respect for who we are and what we say, and not feeling guilty for saying no.
  • Honest– truthful with ourselves and others about who we are and where we are at and not being ashamed of it.
  • Warm– we glow and our presence is like a kiss of sunshine. We walk in the room, and immediately, all heads turn, stare and inquiring minds ask, “Who is she?”
  • Nurturing– helping, caring for, encouraging growth or development.
  • Content– we’re in a state of being satisfied and patient while greater is on its way.
  • Peaceful– we’re calm, relaxed, and steady.
  • Courageous– we try again, we are persistent to press on regardless of what adversity comes our way.

Are you with me? Can you see it? I certainly hope so! Now let’s take a look at how to get to here or wherever you envision. 

Woman with colorful afro smiling and pointing upwards

How to awaken the heart:

1)   Choosing to accept that we and everything are not always okay.

2)   Learning and understanding feeling words and what they mean.

3)   Identifying what we are feeling and getting to know what activates these emotions. In other

words, self-awareness.

4)   Giving ourselves permission to…

  • Take time to ourselves to feel/experience a wide range of emotions (positive and negative). In other words, sit with our emotions without distracting ourselves with busyness to escape the discomfort that emotions can bring. NOT running from our emotions or covering them up with, food, entertainment, social media, relationships, alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, a smile when we’re hurting, aggression towards innocent bystanders, projection and/or deflection.
  • Admit and communicate (to safe people) our happiness, excitement, surprise, confusion, anger, sadness, grief, loss, hurt, anxiety, fear, nervousness, discomfort, feeling overwhelmed, pressure, inadequate, lonely, disappointed, in need of help, and that we miss a friend/loved one. Note: To feel these things are absolutely normal. However, what we do with these feelings is key in determining how healthy we are (we’ll get into this piece more in upcoming weeks so stay tuned).
  • Laugh and smile freely because something is funny or reminds us of something/someone, or even because we are uncomfortable and nervous.

5)   Learning who to entrust our hearts with.

6)   Understanding we do not have to do everything, be everything to everyone, and be the glue

that holds everything together all the time.

7)   Being gentle with ourselves, giving ourselves grace and remembering we are human, we

are not, and never will be perfect.

8)   Understanding we cannot control everything/everyone and learning how to set boundaries

surrounding who/what to let go of and how to do it for our peace of mind, stability, and sanity.

9)    Believing we don’t have to strive to reach our destiny of greatness.

10)  Developing confidence to know we are enough, valuable and oh so precious.

11)  Silencing the voices that have lied to us all these years about our identity and worth.

12)  Knowing that emotions are temporary feelings, neither positive or negative ones are everlasting, they come and go but are equally meaningful to experience regardless of how long they last.

13)  Developing the ability not to self-sabotage ourselves in fear of how long any emotion will last, just be present with how you feel while recognizing that these feeling will pass and we will be okay.

Young woman in t-shirt smiling at camera

Connecting the Awakened Heart and Emotional Health

Some may be wondering, what is the connection between an awakened heart and emotional health. This is how they come together in my opinion. An awakened heart is self-aware and allows itself to feel emotions. Emotional health has to do with knowing what to do with our emotions—having healthy coping skills to manage what we feel that are non-destructive, self-harming or harmful to others. We have to be able to identify and feel our emotions (an awakened heart) to realize that something healthy needs to be done with them (emotional health). I like the following definition of emotional health, 

“Being emotionally healthy does not mean you are happy all the time. It means you are aware of your emotions. You can deal with them, whether they are positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to manage their negative feelings. They can tell when a problem is more than they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help…” (“Mental Health,” 2017).

We have to be able to recognize how we feel and allow ourselves to feel these emotions in order to face them and do something healthy with them.

Over the next few weeks, I would like to take you on a journey to 1) help you discover your value and worth, 2) help you learn and develop healthy coping skills and ways of dealing with various emotions 3) explore the detrimental/harmful/damaging effects of not dealing with your emotions, 4) accept who you are – we are all different but equally amazing 5) living a life of freedom—freedom from abuse, freedom from fear, and freedom from being controlled by anything or anyone.

By the end of our journey, my hope is that the beauty of a woman’s heart–your heart–wakes up and starts to unveil itself! I must warn you that this is not an easy process, the work may be accompanied with difficult realities to face (about ourselves and others) and possibly some tears but on the other end of it will be you, a healed and/or healing you, a healthy you, standing in all your beauty. I’m excited about our time together! I look forward to walking with you for the next few weeks!

Korisma Grant, LLMSW

Source: Mental Health. (2017, May). Mental Health: Keeping Your Emotional Health. Retrieved from https://familydoctor.org/mental-health-keeping-your-emotional-health/