Holding Space for Big Emotions

Emotions Are Messengers

They carry important information about things that we value, things that are sacred to us, and things that matter. In many cases, they carry information about things within us that need to be healed.

When we’re connected to our emotions, we gain the power to fully show up in the world as our authentic selves and as the person we are meant to be. When we are not connected to these, we lose this power. 

Let’s Explore This

We’ll use anger as an example. Think of the last time you were angry. Take a moment to reflect. What was the triggering event of your anger? Perhaps it was a rude person on the road or in the grocery store or perhaps somebody close to you said or did something hurtful. Perhaps it was something in the news. 

As you consider the circumstances, I invite you to take a step back and consider at the underlying message. At first glance, it may seem as though the event was the trigger. However, if you look deeper you are likely to discover that your emotions are speaking for something deeper.

I’ll share something personal. There is someone in my life who is passive-aggressive in various ways among some people who matter to me. It’s created some difficult dynamics in some important relationships and I feel robbed of what has been lost because of it. The fuel for my frustration is authenticity. I yearn for it – crave it – want to bring it and I want everyone to be able to bring it and I want spaces and environments that support it. From my point of view, the patterns of communication have made it difficult for people to show up authentically. It’s a significant loss. I feel sadness and grief. However, since those emotions can feel very vulnerable, at times anger and frustration show up to protect me and advocate for what I believe in. It’s aiming to voice my sadness and grief and also speak for my yearning for authenticity. It’s fighting for connection, yet it generally doesn’t invite people to come closer. 

Looking Inside

Consider the last moment you felt some powerful emotions. What was underneath it for you? It could have been a fight for justice, or mercy, integrity, or equity. It could also be a fight for love and connection and in many cases, fear of the loss of love and connection.

Unfortunately, we are often taught to “control” our feelings. When we don’t have effective means of speaking for these deeper desires and values, we experience inner conflict. To manage this we numb, distract, and find ways to get space from our emotions – especially when we feel we have no control. We might take a drink or scroll on our phones. We might sit silently in a social situation when we really want to speak up or work endless hours. Often, we’ll do whatever it takes to protect ourselves from being overwhelmed by our emotions. The problem is, that the things that are important to us are sacred and constant inside of us. Eventually, those will find a way to break through our blocks. They will break through the barriers we have set up and truthfully when we aren’t – we’ve lost control – the thing we all fear anyway. 

An IFS (Internal Family Systems) or EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) therapist can help you gain clarity. Mindfulness is also a powerful tool that can help you give the time and space for big emotions.

“The inspiration you seek is already inside you. Be silent and listen.”


Our phenomenal yoga teacher, Jennifer O’Sullivan, shares a 6-minute mindful exploration here. 

Attunement is power. It allows us to share our core message and values. The authenticity of who we are with the world.

Practice With Us

Join us for our upcoming workshop Saturday, April 27 from 1-4 pm at our Arlington VA office to learn how to calm your nervous system using yoga and mindfulness practices, and explore big feelings with an Internal Family Systems approach to compassionate witnessing. Learn more below! 

Heartswell is Different

Many therapy services address only your thinking and often miss the breadth of your pain and the fullness of your being. At Heartswell, our practice integrates yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to heal the mind, body, heart, and soul. We are accepting new clients for virtual appointments or in-person at our offices in the Arlington, Virginia area. Schedule your free consultation today.

from the journal...

yoga nidra group
Yoga Nidra at Heartswell: A Holistic Approach
Expanding Mindfulness with Yoga Nidra About 5 years ago I was looking for training to improve my mindfulness. When I put feelers out someone mentioned ...
Keep Reading
Holding Space for Big Emotions
Emotions Are Messengers They carry important information about things that we value, things that are sacred to us, and things that matter. In many cases, ...
Keep Reading
What is Self-Led Decision-Making?
In a nutshell, Self-led decision-making involves making decisions from within our core (values, dreams, strengths, wisdom) rather than external influences (social pressures, family expectations, putting ...
Keep Reading

Ready to Get Started?

Couples & Individual Therapy - Virtually or In-person in Arlington, VA

We are glad you are taking this next step to see what Heartswell can do for you.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation here:

We typically respond within 1-2 business days.