28 thoughts on “3 Reasons You Must Accept Your Feelings No Matter What They Are

  • June 28, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Accepting these feelings and being curious about the messages they are sending is a game-changing distinction! I have spent so many years, and so much emotional energy, trying to correct those feelings into more acceptable ones. It didn’t help me feel better. Instead, I ended up dragging those feelings through life. Another “unacceptable” feeling equaled another anchor I am dragging under the water. Like the anchors on a ship, they can’t be seen under the water, but they are there, making it that much harder and slower moving through the water and through life. The irony is, it’s harder either way. Stuffing these feelings is not pain avoided. It’s trading short-term pain for long-term pain. The only way to be free is by facing those feelings and dealing with them directly.

    Your books have been a game changer for me and provided a different lens through which to view my childhood and my parents. I realized that CEN is present through multiple generations on both sides of my family tree and on my husband’s as well. So, I’m telling friends and family about your books and working to address the related challenges in my own family, in my marriage, and with my 20 & 22 year old kids.

    Thanks so much for your work and the CEN framework, Jonice!! You are helping to heal the world one person and one family at a time.

    • June 28, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      Dear Diane, I love to read your comment and hear how you are healing yourself and your family. Thank you for putting my work to such good use! And keep it up.

  • June 28, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    It’s currently summer and very hot in my country. Momentarily I have felt dizzy, weak, exhausted, simply too much heat. Then a friend said: so many people are complaining, let’s just enjoy the summer. That irritated me, “triggered” me. One healer wisely said, we become triggered, if there is some unfinished business, unhealed trauma from the past. For me the trauma is, it deeply irritates me whenever someone tells me what is “should” feel. Super annoying!! One of the most important things I have learned from you Jonice is that we can’t choose what we feel, we can only choose how to manage that feeling and how we (re)act, right? I became so upset with this friend that I hardly want to talk with her anymore, at least for the time being.

    I have cen, I think in one of the most nasty versions. Not only feelings ignored as a child, but physically punished, for example having a temper tantrum or crying (both very normal to children and teenagers, right?). Would have been easier, if emotions would have been “just” ignored, my feelings were almost too much observed, controlled. So it’s no wonder it upsets me so much even now in my fourties, when someone tells me what I “should” feel. I just hate that! :/

    I recently did an online “self development” course. There was an online forum and one of rules was, no venting allowed. That also annoyed me. I don’t know what I was then supposed to share, some “fake positivity”? I think there is a difference between productive and unproductive venting 🙂 Sometimes I vent, just in my mind, and that for me is actually processing the energy of the emotions and unpleasant thoughts, so doing that I feel I’m actually empowering myself and proceeding.
    It’s become clear to me, that this is a very painful trauma for me, a trigger almost like the colour red to a bull, whenever someone says or even just hints that I shouldn’t…feel, express and just be the authentic me.

    I think I have learned to listen to the emotions, treat them as messengers. Like this example with summer. If I feel cranky and want to vent, maybe it’s a signal that I need to go to shadow, drink more water etc. I think it is the same with babies, if they have some need or physical discomfort, they don’t doubt voice it very loud and clear (crying) 🙂
    And I think nothing is so black and white and we can have many even conflicting feelings simultaneously. Is this normal or common? Like some aspects of summer I love, other aspects I don’t really like. So that comment “let’s just enjoy everything” I think was actually quite naiive.

    • June 28, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      Dear Anna, you’re doing some great work on accepting your emotions! Your next step might be working on advocating for your feelings instead of shutting down. Like saying to your friend, “I do love some aspects of summer but this heat is still killing me.” Replying back can help you feel protected and also, perhaps preserve your relationship with someone. I hope this makes sense and I encourage you to keep paying attention to your feelings and honoring them.

      • June 29, 2020 at 7:03 pm

        Thank you Jonice! You have helped me so much. This is a good advice “Your next step might be working on advocating for your feelings instead of shutting down.” I also had this aha-moment, I don’t need to over react, become verbally defensive and “attack” people (or shut down, say nothing and become upset).
        I realised for the first time ever, that I need to start to make distinction between is the “trigger” something that is actually happening in present time, or am I (over)reacting because of past trauma and “past programming”. Then I might be able to take it easy and I realised, I don’t need to take everything that people say so personally 🙂
        Your other blog post actually answered my other question too! I have felt is this normal, am I “becoming crazy”, when I can have simultaneously clashing, contradicting, totally opposite feelings about many things, like my childhood, father, summer..? I had never known that the ability to do (feel) this (many feelings at once) is actually a sign of emotional health. Wow! 🙂
        I was relieved and surprised to hear that!

      • June 29, 2020 at 7:51 pm

        That’s awesome, Anna! Everything you said is so very valuable. This will make a difference for you. Keep up the good work!

  • June 28, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you Jonice. This is a really helpful article. It’s interesting to know that we don’t choose to have a feeling and we don’t need to feel guilty or feel like we’re a bad person for having them. I think this is what I learned to do but can see how it’s really unhelpful to do this. I think this is what is the cause of a lot of guilt and shame I have been living with. I now realise we need to love ourselves for feeling the way we do, even if we don’t like those feelings. It’ll take some practice but I’m excited to find out what a difference this is going to make.

    • June 28, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      That’s great, Ros! I’m excited for you too!

  • June 28, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    I would also like to share this painful stuff. By punishing me about my emotions as a child, using physical violence and threatening with it, my father did enormous damage to me. Sometimes I think, did he, does he, even realise the effect and extent of all this? Today I’m 44 years old, “seemingly” independent, adult woman, but it’s only just recently (past couple of months-years) that I have finally started to find the “true me” and get rid of this baggage. I’ve been living with this “trauma identity” and thought that that is the “real me”, but it isn’t!!
    I’m not bitter, feel no grudge etc. towards my father, but sometimes I just think “I wonder…” how my life would have been so far, how much different, maybe easier without this “excess baggage”, if that bad childhood stuff wouldn’t ever have happened. It feels wrong, undue, unfair. He has never apologised his physical violence, afterwards showed no regret etc. But nowadays our relationship is different, good, calm, adult.
    I feel sad/frustrated when I think how much time, years, energy I have used to fight this battle, that actually wasn’t “my” battle to begin with! I think my father acted out his own childhood abuse, generational wounds. It’s interesting that even when childhood and abuse ended, it continued to replay and reincarnate. I for example attracted abusive men as partners.
    It was like I was lost in never-ending jungle, going round in circles and getting nowhere, when other people at my age were proceeding and going forward with their life (career, marriage, children etc.). This is what I meant with damage 🙁
    I feel I have used my time to clean other people’s mess! I wasn’t able to go forward, because I lost my way and was taken to this stupid “detour” 🙁
    But I’m quite fine these days. I helps me to be little bit philosophical…that maybe none of us has 100% “drama free” life, maybe we all have some baggage to deal with, whatever that might be.
    By the way: I have read so much self development materials. Like we should always think positive, be grateful etc. I agree. Then I feel quilty when I don’t feel that 100% of the time! I can easily feel quilt re. my father too. He was wealthy, we could easily afford many material things and experiences. So I feel I shouldn’t be “ungrateful”. But it’s difficult, because simultaneously this abuse also happened. Abuse is abuse. Sometimes I feel all these well-meaning self development advices like only focusing on the positive…in that moment I’m actually emotionally neglecting myself!! I can focus on positive things and be grateful about many things (and I am), but I think it shouldn’t be used as a “mental anesthesia” for example re. childhood trauma. What are your thoughts about this Jonice?

    I was almost about to write “sorry to write so long message and share all this”. Interestingly, this is also my childhood cen stuff “my inner experience and feelings are a burden to other people and they are also “wrong”…therefore I should just shut up”. But maybe I managed to share something that might actually help other people, I really hope so!

    • June 28, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      Dear Anna, it is true that abuse begets abuse and neglect begets neglect. I’m glad you decided to share your story with us.

  • June 28, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Do you really recommend that a person reads your first book from 2012 first or can you read the second book without the reading the first?

    • June 29, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Good question, Kari. I wrote book #2, Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships so that you can read it first. But if you want to have a really good understanding of CEN before you learn about relationships, I recommend you read book #1, Running On Empty, first.

  • June 28, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    Cannot find comments

  • June 29, 2020 at 1:21 am

    Honestly, Fantastic Article.

  • June 29, 2020 at 5:20 am

    Another great post. My life is becoming better form reading all your posts. Learning to accept my feelings, sitting with them & finding the lesson in them, has been a life-changer! Thank you so much Dr. Jonice

  • June 29, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Very helpful article, Jonice. I grew up with my feelings invalidated much of the time. This led to adult relationships that lacked in validation. My feelings didn’t count, as I had learned in childhood. The other person was more important than I was. What a horrible fallacy! CEN had done it’s damage!

    I’ve cleaned up most of the mess, though sadly adult relationships remain very problematic. It’s always been very hard for me to accept validation. Very difficult to differentiate self-reliance from a self-protective emotional wall. Still can’t find the balance.

    • June 29, 2020 at 7:49 pm

      Dear Frank, just don’t stop trying to represent your own needs in relationships and accept care and help from others. The key lies in your own feelings and accepting that they (and you) matter. If you have not yet read my second book, it’s all about relationships and you may find it very helpful!

  • June 29, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    I don’t know if this makes sense but for me, it works most of the time. Before I adopted this strategy I would get lost in the feeling it would overwhelm me I have felt feelings like anger, guilt because of a particular feeling.
    Now I try to remember to breathe and acknowledge that this feeling is just a feeling that they come and go all the time. I ask myself two questions Is this a “tide” that will crash against the beach and rocks and then go gently back to the ocean? Meaning I am triggered by the feeling but I can start the process of awareness and work through it, at times the process can be painful

    Can I keep this from becoming a tsunami? By not working through the feeling I know this will bring chaotic thinking the resistance will overpower me, I will spend my time…days, weeks,… trying to stop the feeling I can never win this battle and I know it.
    Now I know I can make an informed choice about what to do, my feeling can become like the tide when I work through it or a tsunami by not dealing with it.

    • June 29, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Dear Gigi, I love your description of the tide vs. a tsunami. You clearly understand your feelings and what to do with them. Keep it up!

  • June 30, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Thankyou for this article Jonice. This is very relevant to me at the moment. I started withdrawing from my sister over the last few years, we haven’t spoken since January. The trouble is, it bothers me so much that things have come to this, and I don’t know what I should do. I feel like I’m the bad person. At family gatherings, mainly birthdays and Christmas (before lockdown) I still tried to be pleasant, yet she just basically ignores me. I’m so exhausted to sort anything out due to caring for my 19 year daughter with Mental Health PTSD etc. The last 9 years have been horrendous. I feel angry and sad as I just wish I could sort things out and discuss things with her, but don’t know how. I really do not know how to deal with her. She has an ora of authority about her (older sister) and intimidates me, not physically. She has been making me angry for years but I used to put up with her passive aggressive remarks, walking on eggshells around her, being anxious when ever I went round , her always disagreeing with me, invalidating me, and not showing support and care for me and my daughter. Its all too consuming and keeps me awake at night, I just go over things trying to work them out. Although I know how I feel I still feel conflicted as I’m not doing anything to solve the situation. We both have CEN but are very different. She seems to have no emotions and doest show love and compassion.
    Thanks for reading.

    • July 1, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Dear Marion, it sounds like you would benefit from building some boundaries to protect yourself in your relationship with your sister. You are looking for things from her that she cannot give you. It’s natural for you to want this, but it’s hurting you.

      • July 1, 2020 at 12:46 pm

        Thankyou so much Jonice for your reply. I’m not sure how I’m meant to do this when we’re not talking. Also I feel she’s never listened to me anyway and that I’m not allowed to do this, (that sounds very CEN I know). It just scares me and makes me angry for being scared.

  • July 1, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Dear Jonice,
    Since finding you, I have become so aware of what’s gone wrong with me. It is very difficult to love myself all of the time and try to make up for what I didn’t have. However, the work I need to do daily continues.
    My mother, has been the highlight of why I am the way I am mostly, and although the picture is clearer to me, the challenges are greater, especially in the acceptance of what will never be.
    My CEN, has effected my life entirely, so much so, I spent 17 or so years with a narcissistic husband and have children together, and although I have very little contact, I still feel he gets the better of me. This article has given me great validation towards my feelings of hate, and resentment, and honestly I do, talk my feelings through with myself automatically now, and it’s amazing how the heaviness of that feeling dissipates. I love having my new best friend around all the time.. ME!

    • July 2, 2020 at 9:05 am

      Dear Marilena, congratulations for taking such great strides in listening to yourself and valuing your emotions! I encourage you to talk with a CEN therapist near you about your marriage. You deserve help and support with this.

  • July 2, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for your article and your research. I discovered your first book Running On Empty and bought both the audio and the paperback. Through it I found your term (CEN) for what my counselor had uncovered back in 2014 during a session. Her response to my casual comment was “something went terribly wrong” and it was the first time a whole part of my childhood pain was validated. I had completely dismissed how I felt as just my problem. She didn’t know the term at the time but led me through healing. I told her about your book after I read it and I’m still learning from you, as well as sharing with others.
    Thank you again – you’re helping so many people.

    • July 2, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Dear Danielle, that is a remarkable story. Thank you for sharing your powerful experience of finally being validated. Keep on moving forward and healing!


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