I feel tender after a good therapeutic session whatever form the therapy may take – it could be a 1:1, singing in a local choir or dancing to a favourite tune. Sometimes when I feel tender I am love. I am expansive from within adoring life and everything it has to offer. Sometimes tender shows up as feeling raw as if I’ve been skinned alive. Needless to say, I much prefer feeling the first version of ‘tender’ when I am one with the world. Occasionally I get attached to this spaciousness and love, willing it to stay longer. That’s when it disappears faster.
The truth is whatever form ‘tender’ takes it’s just an emotion. It will pass.
What can stay though is the inner sense of tenderness towards myself and everything I feel. If I can be equally welcoming of anger and love, they would pass through me as the clouds in the sky. No one says, oh, what a pretty cloud, let’s keep this one in the sky permanently. I remember walking in Tenerife and welcoming clouds – it was such a relief from the scorching sun! And occasionally, seeing blue sky without a hint of a cloud can make my heart sing with joy. One is not better than the other.
Similarly, our perception of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions is relative. At times, anger can be the best emotion in a given situation: it can set a boundary, it can be cathartic and release a lot of energy, it can fire our passion. If a ‘nice’ emotion as love is expressed inappropriately, it could suffocate and smother us, it could impact our growth, it can prevent us from claiming our power.
Welcoming all emotions without judgment is the key to staying true and authentic to ourselves. If we don’t judge what we feel and let the emotions pass through, chances are they would be expressed in a much healthier way. In a way, what can be harmful is not what we feel but our stories around particular feelings.
The world would be a much nicer place if we allowed ourselves to feel each feeling fully. That does not mean always acting on our feelings. The important part is to stay open and tender within to every passing cloud inside.