How to Honor Our Feelings to Honor Ourselves

July 30, 2013 tneely

Honor your feelings even if others invalidate or dismiss them. It may sound hard, but dishonoring our feelings hurts our mental health. Learn more here.

It's important to honor our feelings, to treat them with respect and to not judge ourselves for having them. Even embarrassing feelings, or hateful ones, or angry ones. We can honor our feelings without acting on them immediately because when you own your feelings, you have self-discipline and can allow feelings to pass in and out of you until you feel ready to act on them. Or not. Learning to honor our feelings teaches us to honor ourselves.

How Do We Honor Our Feelings?

The first way that we honor our feelings is to acknowledge that they exist. While this may sound simple, I know from experience that it can be very hard to look your fear, anger, grief, loneliness, insecurities, sexuality and unrequited love in the face and own them. A mindfulness practice like yoga, meditation or deep breathing can help you slow the mind and emotions so that you are capable of isolating exactly what it is that you are feeling and hold it to the light.

The second way that we honor our feelings is by not judging how we feel as “right” or “wrong”. This can lead to feeling bad about feeling bad, a vicious cycle that does not have to be. Honor your right to feel whatever comes. Hold it and let what is, be, knowing this too shall pass.

In Rumi’s poem The Guest House, he likens humans to a house and our feelings as visitors in our house. If you live with bipolar moods like I do, then you probably get more than your fair share of unexpected emotional “visitors”, some just stopping by to say hi and others coming through to totally trash the place. Still, Rumi encourages us to “...treat each guest honorably” and to “Welcome and entertain them all!”

Sometimes We're the Only Ones Who Honor Our Feelings

Few things bother me more than having my feelings invalidated or dismissed. Especially after I’ve done the work of opening up to talk about something that I previously thought too difficult to discuss. While I don’t expect the people in my life to necessarily agree with how I feel, I do expect that when I talk with them about my feelings, they honor them by listening and acknowledging that my feelings exist.

When talking to others about how we feel (especially those of us who live with anxiety and/or other stress related issues), there may be well-meaning people reassuring us that our anxiety is “ridiculous” or “all in your head”. They may even encourage us to “snap out” of our depression or “calm down” when expressing our anger or frustration about something.

I’ve come to understand that this invalidation or dismissal usually isn’t intentional or malicious, however it can be harmful to our mental health by reinforcing the idea that certain feelings are unacceptable and should not be expressed or acknowledged.

I was told by someone long ago that “we teach people how to treat us”. So it is important for us to practice honoring ourselves by honoring our feelings. If we do not honor our own feelings, it’s unrealistic to expect others to honor them.

APA Reference
tneely (2013, July 30). How to Honor Our Feelings to Honor Ourselves, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: tneely

September, 21 2013 at 8:50 am

I am a young woman and my friend (who is also a woman) recently kissed me. I am straight and interested solely in men, but I was curious. I had never kissed a girl before and she had, many a time. I made out with her for another minute very intensely but now I feel very guilty and bad. Do you have any advice?

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