Podcast: Feel It and Express It

Tova with a guest therapist discuss how to get over bad things that happen to you by following the 6 Steps of Loving Truth. Steps 2 & 3 are to "Feel it and Express it."


Host: Tova Kreps, LCSW
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Nicole Velez, LMHC


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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Welcome to wellspring on the air where professional Christian counselors share practical life and Bible insights. Why? Because hearts and minds matter. We're glad you joined our show today to hear from our host Tova craps president of wellspring counseling in Miami. Tova is a licensed therapist with many years of experience as a Christian counselor. Tova teaches rights and consults and life. FM is pleased to have wellspring counseling, restoring hearts and minds in our community. Welcome to wellspring on the air. And I'm Tova craps. And with me today is Nicole Lez. Alfonzo. Hi Nicole. Hi Tova. Nicole is a therapist who specializes in trauma and is working with us. And so Nicole, tell us about yourself.

Speaker 2: (00:41)
So I'm a mental health counselor. I've been a mental health counselor now for 11 years and I've been working with wellspring for two and a half years and I just, I enjoy working with teenagers and young adults and adults and a, we work with mood disorders, anxiety, depression and trauma. And I'm also trained in EMDR therapy and I work with horses. I'm one of the equine therapist, which is a lot of fun. I love that. And that club. We do work with horses at wellspring. That's awesome. Love it. So Nicole, I didn't ask you this last show you were on, but why did you become a therapist? So I'm, when I was young, I was in high school, I went to boarding school, Massachusetts away from my family and I was 16 and we had a group of kids, about eight kids that were called the peer leadership group.

Speaker 2: (01:24)
And we would gather in a classroom and other kids would come to us and talk to us about what they were struggling with. So I already had a passion for helping others when I was in high school. It was a lot of fun. And that's where it started. And we're so glad you're with us. So tell us what our show's about today. So today we're going to talk about feelings. Last show we talked about facing our feelings and today we're going to talk about feeling our feelings and expressing them. Okay, so this for you listeners, this is our loving truth curriculum and it's how to get over bad things that happened to you. It kind of is part of what we use for our trauma work with our balance camp and other clients who come in for trauma of recovery. But it applies to any bad thing that happens.

Speaker 2: (02:08)
And so it's a curriculum. This has, there are six steps on how to get over bad things that happen last week. If you miss that show, you can find it on our website at wellspring, Miami. Dot. O. R. G. Um, and the first step in getting over things that happened to us is we have to face them. We have to admit it's true before we can get over it. And the faster we admit the truth, even if it's painful, the faster we get past it. So after we admit, this is true, this hurt, I did this, somebody did this to me, this is something I lost. Then the next step is to actually feel the feelings and express them. So let's ask our audience some questions about what do they do? So how do you face painful truth? Do you face them? Do avoid them? How well do you handle your feelings?

Speaker 2: (02:55)
Do you avoid your feelings? Do you get overwhelmed by them? Are you afraid of them? Do you get stuck in them? So yeah. How well do you express your feelings to others? If that's you and triggered some thought in your mind, stay tuned with us and we're going to just die right in on. Feel it and express it. The second and third steps of the loving truth curriculum. So let's start Nicole. What's a feeling? It's just a final. There's all kinds of feelings. We have positive and negative feelings. We have anger and we have sadness and we have happy feelings. And sometimes we are freeing, afraid. Sometimes we feel peaceful and joyful and thankful. So we have all kinds of feelings or some positive feelings and net negative feelings. Okay. And they also, we can have two opposite at the same time. Yes, absolutely. You could feel sad and happy at the same time.

Speaker 2: (03:44)
Yes, it's true though. I think it's important to realize sometimes we think without a trick question, I felt like that was yes. But I mean sometimes you, you might be at a funeral and be sad that you've lost a loved one and yet relieved that they're no longer suffering. You might feel those opposite kind of feelings at the same time. And it feels confusing. So it's good to know that we can have many feelings. We can have even opposite or contradictory ones at the same time. So my point is about this is that feelings are actually giving us information. I do not believe that feelings are right or wrong in themselves. And people will judge us and say, don't feel that way. Or just be happy or don't be angry or never. And and the truth is, our feelings are symptoms of what we believe.

Speaker 2: (04:39)
They are our bodies and our hearts telling us what we believe to be true. So if I believe that something is dangerous, the feeling I have is fear. If I believe I've lost something that mattered to me, the feeling is sadness. If I believe somebody committed an injustice to me, then I'm going to be angry. The feelings are not right or wrong. Now what we believe could be right or wrong, we could believe it's dangerous when it's not. Or we can believe there's an injustice against us when really there wasn't, but the feelings aren't. So we need to see our feelings as a guide to what we believe is happening. And then we test the truth of that. We say, well, is that really true? And then if we see that the truth is different and our feelings don't match them, our feelings will change.

Speaker 2: (05:25)
You know, if we think somebody did an injustice, we find out they didn't mean it, or that's not what really happened. Then later we're no longer angry. The feelings will change because they're just symptoms of what we think about what is happening. That's right. So feelings should also be proportionate and appropriate to the event. So if someone has lost a loved one and they're not expressing it, or they're very quiet and you know, someone is saying to them, oh, you know, they're handling it really well. It seems like you know they're okay. That's not necessarily true. It may be that they're not yet ready to express the, that it's too hard for them or it's just not appropriate at that moment. Um, and proportionate to what they're going through. Yeah. So it really healthy people should sooner or later feel the appropriate and proportionate feelings to the event that's happening.

Speaker 2: (06:15)
And I think that's confusing because sometimes that's very delayed. Sometimes it's 2030 years later before we actually let ourselves feel what happened and, and look at it, I'd met it and then face it and feel it and express it. And so I think that's true, but do we really have to always do it or can we just avoid it hour? What do you think that is a trick question. Well, you could avoid it for a little bit, but feelings always want to come out. They will always need to be felt. Yeah, I think they do. And when they're not, they go into our bodies, they go into ulcers or they go into stress things that we have, but they sit around and they wait to be felt. Our feelings are waiting for us to be acknowledged because truth is waiting to be acknowledged. And I think that's an important point.

Speaker 2: (07:00)
Yeah. We need to bring our feelings to the light in order for us to really resolve and work through them and heal. So what's the purpose of our, of our feelings? So, um, the purpose of our feelings is to take action. We need to do something. So if we're angry about something that's happened to us, we need to fix that problem. We need to confront someone, we need to do something about it. If we think we're losing something that we love, maybe we want to spend more time with that person and you know, enjoy them the last bit we can. Yeah. So like if I'm in denial that a friend is moving and I'm sad about it, um, if I don't let myself admit that, then I don't feel my sad feelings, then I might miss the opportunity to visit with them. Whereas if I let those feelings come and say, wow, I really am sad, I might make sure I get one more visit in.

Speaker 2: (07:46)
That's right. Yes. Yeah. You know, that brings me to that. One of my other favorite sayings, and I know you know this Nicole, cause I teach it at our bounce trauma camps, but is let them come and they will go. And this is my little, same for feelings. You know, we try to avoid them. But the feelings if you think about it, is they're just messengers showing up to tell us what we believe and to help us take an action. Then we need to let the messenger come and we need to hear the message, take the action, and then the feelings will go away. So I have an image for this, Nicole, I think I've shared this before and I'm going to say it. So I think of, I picture feelings like a visitor knocking at our door. So you're in your house as visitor comes, sadness comes and knocks at your door and you're like, oh, I don't want to feel sadness.

Speaker 2: (08:32)
I'm not gonna let sadness in. You know, but then maybe anger comes and then we all know. Now I've got two feelings there. I've got to avoid them all. But, but the problem is sooner or later, if I don't let any feelings come in, I may have 10 feelings all confused there. They're all pounding my door. I'm, it's very confusing of all those feelings at once. So I said, well, I don't like feelings whenever let him in puts. Eventually what happens is I'm living in an ass. I can't walk out my front door. I got to go in and out of the window, can we? Because all those feelings are there, they're jumbled. They don't make sense. Whereas if we let the visitors calm, so I let sadness in and I hear the message and the message is, hey, you lost something important. And I say, okay, I'll do something about that.

Speaker 2: (09:08)
I'll honor this person and I'll do something. And then they'll that given their message, I took my action, they leave or, or anger comes in and the messages, hey, something needs fixing here. And so I confront somebody or I take an action to set boundaries or I take an action to maybe even eventually forgive somebody. So I'm no longer angry. Once that message has been delivered and received and we take an action than anger leaves. What happens is I have a house with a door that opens and shuts all the time and feelings come and go. And that's why saying let them come and they will go. Just if we just let those feelings come in and we entertain them like a guest there, they're given a message, we entertain them a little bit and then we take an action and then they leave us.

Speaker 2: (09:49)
And then our doors wide open for feelings like joy or happiness. So it was going to say that because if we block the door from all feelings, we're also blocking from good feelings. That's right. And we walk around Numb, but we can't bear to dull the door and don't enjoy life because we are just, our time is going to blocking that door, right? So we need to let those feelings come. Trust that they'll come, you know, you won't cry forever. We think, oh my gosh, if I start, if I let myself feel it, I'm just going to cry so much. I'll just cry forever. But the truth is there'll come a day that you'll stop crying and I'll actually just fall asleep because you just can't cry forever. That's right. You know, you're eventually going to find yourself laughing again. Yes. And I have a, just a personal example of that.

Speaker 2: (10:29)
I mean, in boarding school I was away from my family and there was nights where I did, you know, kind of fall asleep crying, but next day was a better day and I was okay, you know, I allowed those feelings to come and be felt and then the sunrises and sunsets. That's right. Right. And then we will get past them, our anger, our sadness, our fear, all of those things they'll, they'll pass. And the more we attend to them, the faster they come and the faster they go. Um, so let's talk about how the, what are some of the ways we can handle our feelings, Nicole? So, um, some, most of the time we ignore feelings or, uh, we, you know, but remember what they just kind of wait around to be noticed. So other ways that we work through our feelings as we need them.

Speaker 2: (11:13)
We can stuff them, we avoid them, we medicate them or we dump them on other people that really have nothing to do with what's going on with us. So what do you mean by medicate them? So, um, you know, sometimes you can drink alcohol and just kind of, you know, self self medicate with alcohol or any drugs or um, yeah, things like that that are really destructive thinking you're, you know, you're fine, you're working through it and it's really not, you're creating another problem for yourself. A lot of our addictions are really about avoiding feelings. They're ways of numbing them out. Um, well what about avoiding them? What are some of the other ways we avoid them? So a ways of avoiding feelings is just to keeping yourself really busy and you know, always being with people and not being alone and never having quiet, never being a, never be with yourself on your own.

Speaker 2: (12:01)
That's right. Okay. So those are, we just distract ourselves. Email is good things. Yeah. It looks kind of functional. We're doing so many good things. Yes, but really we might be just avoiding feelings that if we were to, so the key is that we should be still and see if we can sit with ourselves in the silence a little bit. Um, so instead of ignoring and dumping them on other people and [inaudible] them and stuffing them, what are the ways we can attend to their, our feelings? So noticing them actually just kind of paying attention. What am I feeling right now? What's going on with me right now? And choosing how do I want to respond to this? And you have many ways and you still can stay controlled with your feelings, but you have ways that you can express yourself. Um, you can call me yourself down.

Speaker 2: (12:43)
You can do some breathing exercises. You know, you can rock, you can talk to someone, you can talk to yourself about it, some distractions maybe. So the key really here is noticing them. Yes. Absolutely. Say, Huh, I'm kinda jealous over that person. Or Huh, I'm really, really angry. What's that about? And it doesn't mean we have to do something right then with it. We can just notice it. And knowledge it knowledge. It say, okay, you know, I'm letting you in the front door, go sit over there for a minute and when I have a moment I'm going to come back to you and your jealousy and say, what's that about? What do I believe that's making me feel that way? You know? So noticing our fears, what am I afraid of? And instead of just avoiding being afraid, maybe just kinda like, I really am afraid. So later at night when we have time we could think about what am I afraid of?

Speaker 2: (13:34)
And is that real? Is that true? Yes. So just attending to that message, right? So we can handle our feelings by noticing them and then we could figure out when and how and if we we handle them or do we have a choice on how we do that? And that's right. I mean sometimes we're afraid of all these feelings coming, coming at us and, and coming out and, and we don't know what it's going to look like. And it's painful and it's, you know, in front of people. But we can say, you know what? I acknowledge you there. Hold on, let me, you know, get in the right space. Let me be in my home. Let me be in a safe place for me to feel those feelings. Yeah. I think if we budget our feelings, like we set a budget, okay, I'll, I'll think about this.

Speaker 2: (14:13)
Um, next week when I'm with my therapist are I, I had a big issue in my life last week and it really stirred me off, got me all worked up and so I gave myself from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM and I just like stewed on it and journaled on it and just let myself feel kind of blubbery and bad about it. And then at seven I was like, okay, time to exercise, time to get dressed and go to work. And then I'll think about it again. And I did a couple of days later, it took another round, express it to some friends, you know, and then another round, you know, week later announced, Kinda dumb, but I budgeted it at my time frame. You know, it doesn't have to control you. You can control how you do. You know how you do the feeling, feeling thing.

Speaker 2: (14:56)
I feel in control. My feelings. Yes, so and I think we can use our bodies to stay in control too. I think that's important because deep breathing as you talked about it, those were things that we can do to kind of calm our bodies down so that we can delay or budget our feelings to the right time and place a function in between. Yes and the right people. We want to wait for safe people. Sometimes we've where we just let it all come and express it too fast. We might express it with people who are not safe and then we just want to stuff it all again because they judged us or we have other feelings that come up because of it told us not to feel that way, let we just feel like we're something wrong with us. So. All right. I think we've introduced this whole concept of feeling our feelings and letting them come and they will go, we're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back. Are you or someone you know,

Speaker 2: (16:09)
Welcome back to wellspring on the air. This is Tova Kreps and with me is Nicole Valez Alfonzo. And today we are talking about feeling and expressing ourselves. And this is the second in a series of talks on how to get over bad things that happen to us when bad things happen. How do we get past them as quickly as possible so we can get on with the rest of our lives? And the first step is to face it. And we talked about that last week. If you miss that show, you can find it on wellspring, Miami dot o r g on face it. And that means you can't fix a problem. You haven't admitted. And so the second and third steps are feel it and express it. And Nicole, how about you review that? Yes. We've just been talking about feelings and what feelings are. We have all kinds of feelings.

Speaker 2: (16:53)
There's positive and negative feelings. And really feelings are not right or wrong. They're messages for us to take an action and to respond to them. They're kind of, they have a job for us and we need to Kinda do what they're asking us to do to resolve the feelings. And so feelings always go somewhere. Okay. There they wait to be felt. So, uh, even if we ignore or avoid for a little bit, the will come back and they want to be felt and they help us to take the action. So we should let them come and they will go. And that's my saying, let them come and they will go. Just trust your feelings. They're telling you what you believe and telling you to take some actions to solve them. And once you do that, they'll leave you alone and go away. And that opens the door for happy feelings to come into.

Speaker 2: (17:37)
So that's about feeling. And now we're wanting to talk about expression. So how do we express ourselves in ways that are helpful to get us over bad things that happen to us? So I know some people just feel like they just express everything, dump it everywhere on everyone. And I don't think that's what we're talking about here. We're talking about acknowledging what's true, what's true that we faced what's true about our feelings. And so just the need to kind of put it out there. So Nicole, what are some of the ways we can express ourselves in healthy ways? So the first way we can express ourselves is through words we expressed to people, to someone that's safe, who can witness and acknowledge what we've gone through that can understand our feelings. And that's really the healing part where we can actually, somebody can witness our feelings with us.

Speaker 2: (18:24)
You know, we bring them out to the light and someone can be with us and, and really understand what's going on with us. There's great power and having another human being acknowledge that what we went through was painful. That these are our feelings and it makes us feel validated, right? We want to know that what we feel is okay and it's true and it's part of the human experience and we can survive them and we can survive them. The thing about words Jesus and all scripture is God expressing himself in words. It's interesting. The whole Bible is made of stories and it's the word of God, the expression and words, and Jesus is the word who came among us. And so we see this modeled for us in God and in the Bible that there is a need to express in words. I was struck by the psalms, psalm 69 in particular, we know that it's really Jesus expressing himself as he was before he's crucified and on his way to the cross and at the time of his crucifixion, he was silent.

Speaker 2: (19:26)
Scripture tells us he was like a lamb to the slaughter and that he stayed silent through all that and pilot and Marel. Aren't you going to say anything? He didn't use any words during that. But it's interesting that that hundreds of years before God himself had been made. Jesus himself had the need to put words to what was happening to him and did sell by putting it in the psalms, you know, God's outside of time. So he did get to express it in that psalm talks about his anguish and it talks about, he complains about his suffering and he asked God for help and he asked God to intervene and he complains. And so Jesus didn't complain at the time, but at some point he needed to. And so maybe it's okay for us to put to words because words are powerful and make it real and make it true.

Speaker 2: (20:10)
And they let people be in his witnesses. But we need to put to words somewhere. It doesn't have to be always to a person. It could be in prayer, right. It could be the words in a journal. It could be the words written somewhere. It could be the words of a poem or a song. But we have a need to express our humanity and our experiences. Yes. So the second way we can express things is through tears. So even Jesus cried and he's God. You know, he wept when he came to the tomb of Lazarus. You know, John 1132 through 38 says, Jesus wept when he looked over Jerusalem and saw the stubbornness of his people. Yeah. And you know, here he is. God, he could do anything you wanted about it. When he raised Lazarus, when he came on the scene, he knew he was about to raise him from the dead.

Speaker 2: (20:52)
So why cry? But something about that common shared human experience. May Jesus himself weep at the suffering of people, of humanity, of death. And so we're allowed to express in words, we're allowed to express in tears. Um, and then the third way that we had that we were going to talk about together is expressing through symbolic actions. So we humans, we think in pictures and symbols, and especially for deep emotional and spiritual issues, taking action to express ourselves through the arts, through symbols. And it can be very powerful to draw an image of what was bothering you and see, you know, there's so much insight that you can receive from expressing through images, especially for those visual people. You know, um, you know this, but we do special therapists using drawing, um, and using what's called EMDR for trauma work. And I have been struck over the years of doing therapy at the power of both of those models for expressing things that we didn't even know were there. Somehow when we get a picture of it, we can see ourselves in it and we can, we, we represent it somehow. And I think there are many ways we express is we put flowers on a tomb. We put memorials up. Those are ways of expressing, honoring those who've lost pictures. And pictures are so many ways we can express. I kinda like it when my husband expresses himself through the symbol of jewelry. Yes, I like that one too.

Speaker 2: (22:20)
That's one of the ways we express ourselves. So again, to kind of recap, we can face what's true, acknowledge it, then feel our feelings that go with it. Let those feelings come and they will go and then we can express it in words, in tears and in symbolic actions. You know, I want to make another point here and that is that we express things differently than each other and we feel things differently. So there's not a right or wrong, right. There's a uniqueness to each one of us and how we deal and, and feel our feelings. I think more men are action feelers. They might express themselves through actions. Symbolically. They may, you know, bringing flowers or they may do an action that shows their feelings. That's meaningful. I know what my husband's best friend will just grab his shoulder and take them and they don't hardly ever say we're between them, but somehow they've communicated like words and words and words by just, yes, this, the shoulder touch and, and that's that on these, this guy communication.

Speaker 2: (23:13)
And they, they know exactly what they mean. They express themselves and their loyalty to each other. And so guys might be different. Different personalities are different in, in how introvert versus extrovert of course, how much we talk. Yeah. Those introverts don't like me. Express it privately or in prayer and some other way. And I think feelings can look really different from person to person. Sometimes people whale in huge ways and cry and we're like, okay, you know, that's too much. Um, and others just are very quiet about it and we think all that's too little, but it's just right for that person. Yeah. As long as it's really acknowledging proportionately inappropriately what they went through, it's okay to look different. Right? But we do need to proportionately, inappropriately acknowledge the truths of our lives. Well, I think that brings us to a close. Next week we will talk about our fourth staff, which is fix what you can and that'll be a fun step because that's like what are you in control of and what are you not in control of?

Speaker 2: (24:13)
So that's step number four on how to get over bad things that happen, which is our loving truth curriculum. And as we begin to wrap up, did well, you tova once again, okay. People don't attend to their painful stories until they're safe enough and loved enough to face them. And until someone is willing to listen. And thank you for that. It's obviously a great quote but the point is let's not judge each other. Yes. But let's do push each other and ourselves mostly to go ahead and acknowledge what's happening in our lives, feel it, express it and then you can fix things. Then you can get over it and then you move on with your life because we really do want to get to where bad things as quickly as possible. So I just want you to know out there that we at Wellspring, a counseling center, we're around town, we're there for you if you want to find us or at wellspring, mind me.org and one of the things we do there is a lot of trauma recovery work.

Speaker 2: (25:06)
We have a special program for teenagers who've had really bad things that have happened to them. Um, violence, abuse, things like that, loss of a family. And so we have a special camp for them. We're running three of them this year and we are looking for two things for our summer camps. Our spring camp is already full and funded, but for our summer camp we are looking for sponsors. For kids. We have 20 more youth we'd like to sponsor to be able to come and we're looking for youth. If you know someone, a teenager who is really stuck over something major that happened in your lives, you just let us know. Find us@wellspringmiami.org send us an email, give us a phone call and we'll talk you through whether the person you know isn't a good candidate for our bounce camp coming up this summer. So that's a wrap on this show. Thank you Nicole, for joining me today. Thank you. Encourage us and let us know you're listening. Send us an email to on the air@wellspringmiami.org and we'd love to hear how you're facing feeling and expressing yourself. Tell us a story. We'd like to hear it. It's time to wrap up. This is Tova crafts with wellspring on the air because hearts and minds matter.

Speaker 1: (26:13)
Wellspring on the air as a production of wellspring counseling, a nonprofit professional counseling center with multiple locations in Miami Dade County. While spring therapists are licensed by the state of Florida and Christian in their worldviews. They have wide ranges of clinical expertise including marriage, family, anxiety, depression, and trauma. They're diverse. Group of therapists includes several who speak Spanish or Portuguese. If you would like to know more about wellspring services of counseling and education, go to their website@wellspringmiamidotorgorgivethemacallatseveneightsixfiveseventhreesevenzeroonezerooremailthemoutontheairatwellspringmiami.org again, you can find a way to contact them@wellspringmiami.org.

PodcastAlexandra Delgado