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Our Beliefs About Emotions

Updated: Jul 2

One of the reasons we may experience chronic dissociation is that we unconsciously or consciously view our inner world as threatening, dangerous, or shameful. Our aversion to our inner world is often learned through our relational experiences - an accumulation of interactions that shape how we feel about our emotions, needs, body sensations, and more. We've often carried these internalized beliefs for so long, that we may not consciously recognize how they are impacting the ways we feel in our bodies and with ourselves. When these negative core beliefs operate deep within, they can be driving our chronic dissociation as we don't feel safe to connect to ourselves, our bodies, and our inner worlds.


Here are a few possible negative core beliefs we could have internalized due to complex trauma:

A graphic of possible negative core beliefs about emotions, including: emotions are relational burdens; emotions are dangerous, like anger; emotions are shameful, like grief; emotions make me weak + unlovable; emotions hurt other people.

Do any of these beliefs resonate with you?


If we have internalized beliefs like these, it makes sense that connecting to our bodies and emotions would feel REALLY difficult.


The hopeful news is that these beliefs can be unlearned. I want to be real and acknowledge that the unlearning process is TOUGH! These beliefs often run very, very deep. Still, we can begin to experience spaces and relationships that embody positive core beliefs about emotions, and slowly we can begin to internalize a new way of viewing our emotions. We often need those positive emotional models to show us what it is like to be curious and compassionate with our emotional experience.


Here are a few possible positive core beliefs about emotions that we can learn:

A graphic of possible positive core beliefs about emotions, including: emotions are relational connectors; emotions are messages and information; emotions are part of being alive; emotions make me human + relatable; emotions help others get to know me.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Which of these beliefs would you like to practice with yourself?

  2. Which of these beliefs would you like to work on in therapy?

  3. Is there anyone in your life that practices these beliefs? What are you learning from them?

  4. How would it feel to hold these beliefs about your emotions? How would it change how you feel when you approach them?


Resources That Could Be Helpful:

  1. FREE Resource: Tuning In Guide - I created a free guide that uses this format to help you create a daily or every couple of days check in practice. This guide introduces self-discovery and how we can practice healing curiosity.

  2. Ready to deepen your check in practice? I'd suggest Name It to Tame It - a guide that teaches you how to navigate and understand your inner landscape. This guide helps you understand your emotions and the messages they are bringing. ($4)

  3. The Emotion Regulation Bundle - This bundle includes Name It to Tame It, but also includes the Emotions Life Raft, for navigating trauma triggers, and Befriending the Body Written Somatic Guide, which includes 20 somatic practices for nervous systems regulation. ($15)

  4. Befriending Your Body Somatic Self Care Video Guide - In this guide, we use 16 somatic practices to begin developing a gentle relationship with our bodies and emotions.

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Loving this content. Thank you!

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Sara Aird
Sara Aird
Jun 19
Replying to

💛💛💛

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Thank you, this is so relevant to my experience today. Helpful.

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Sara Aird
Sara Aird
Jun 19
Replying to

I’m so glad it’s helpful! 💛💛💛

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I feel like I’ve been working on #2 . I read #1 and #5 and almost scoff at them like “No. That can’t be true.” Which doesn’t mean I don’t believe it but rather that it seems impossible for me to accept.

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Sara Aird
Sara Aird
Jun 17
Replying to

Totally! Those positive relational + emotional beliefs are HARD ones!! And tricky too because they’re dependent on another person also believing that to be true and acting from those beliefs. I relate to those parts who scoff, like “On what planet!?!” It’s okay to start where we can, like emotions as messages.💛

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