Feelings are between you and you

What you’re feeling is between you and you

(I facilitate a wonderful group called the Life Alignment Program. An excellent question came up from one of the members and I decided to share my response here.) 

The question: “Isn’t the point to express feelings, whenever and wherever, in order to be transparent and authentic?”

Communicating about your emotional world to those around you is a powerful step towards living a more authentic life. However, I think people get confused as to the goal of that communication. Specifically, it’s easy to get caught up in telling you what I’m feeling so you’ll DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Maybe you’ll remember to be on time, or you’ll be nicer, or you’ll understand me better, or see the conflict from my perspective, or…or…(just fill in the blank).

This is a pivot-point in relationship entanglement, an eddy people get caught in and have trouble jumping out of. If I say something and your body gets triggered, it’s pretty challenging to not see that as cause and effect. And–IT ISN’T.

What you’re feeling is between you and you.

Here’s how that works:

Emotions are simple physiological events. The only meaning they have is between you and you. What they communicate is important for you, but quite irrelevant for everyone else (besides those who are interested in understanding you better). Just like you might want someone to know you have indigestion or a headache, you may want to tell them about your anger/fear/sadness/joy/sexual feelings.

For example, sensations that you read as “anger” are telling you that you’re perceiving an intrusion on, or you’re currently creating resistance with the world as it is (anger as perception of intrusion or obstacle). Those sensations don’t mean there IS an intrusion or obstacle, just that you’re interacting with the world that way. They are feedback between you and you and so potentially are cues to for you to change something (take an action or change your perception about the intrusion/obstacle/resistance).

Similarly, sensations of:

• Throat/chest heaviness (aka sadness) tell you you’re perceiving that some sort of loss.

• Clenched stomach/solar plexus/body, or pounding heart and shaking body (aka fear) communicate that you’re perceiving a threat.

• Expansion through your body, including tingles, warmth, big energy (glad/sexual) tell you that you’re tuned in to your own aliveness, passion, and connection to life energy.

If I tell you that my chest is tight and my jaw clenched, it’s a moment when I’m tuning into me and simply updating you on my inner world and how I’m currently experiencing reality. It isn’t, IN ANY WAY, to imply that you have any responsibility about causing my sensations, fixing them, or doing anything at all about them. (Going back to the indigestion analogy, it’s my body to take care of.) When those emotions are Below the Line (mad/sad/scared) the ONLY THING FOR ME TO DO is to focus on supporting them in moving through my body. (Of course, I could stay in them if I want, though they also are signals that my body is in a stress response.) Then, when I’m back Above the Line (in Creative Brain) I’m available again for connection and to discover new solutions.

So, sure–tell me about your sensations/emotions if you want to. Getting weather reports on other people’s inner worlds is always fascinating to me. I’m especially interested if you’re stuck Below the Line, as knowing your sensations/emotions will give me a reflection of how you’re perceiving reality. And talking about what’s going on in your body will likely bring you into the present, where you can breathe and move and come back Above the Line.


My new book, The Relationship Skills Workbook: A Do-it-Yourself Guide to a Thriving Relationship, comes out on October 1! Preorder a copy here and have relationship tools and skills at your fingertip.

11 thoughts on “What you’re feeling is between you and you”

  1. Julie, I love this explanation! I went out into the world today and had lots of conversations between me and me about my anger and fear. Nothing like shopping for groceries and driving around town while below the line to get those conversations started!

    Your new site is beautiful, wonderful, easy to follow, impressive, and I like it. Great job!

    love you,

  2. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for this explanation and re-frame. I certainly have spent too much time expressing my feelings out loud to another person (especially my partner) and entering the triangle because of it. This expression has typically been accompanied by an overt or covert element of blame. I too, have found it more effective to sink into my body and my feelings with attention and breath so that those feelings can integrate and then I can mine the beautiful wisdom, requests, and information behind them.

    Love your new website and resources. I appreciate your ability to simplify and make accessible the tools and concepts.

    You are a spark of Divine Light and I love you. Thanks for sharing your Essence with the world.

    With deep love and respect,

  3. Hi Julie,
    I just listened to your conversation with Tami Simon on Soundstrue. Thank you! I agree with you that there is so much pain and suffering in relationships, which of course impacts everything else in life. I think your work is so important.
    Many years ago when working on my own relationship struggles I had an ‘expert’ tell me that without struggle and conflict relationships would be boring(!) I was quite upset about this – fortunately I didn’t believe her. I went on to make a magical co-creative relationship happen!
    Amazing what we can create together when we stop reacting to each other, and when we realize that our relationship is not just about us, the 2 people involved. There is a third entity – the relationship, a saced space – which 2 individuals create together when they take responsibility for their own feelings.
    very best wishes and gratitude

  4. What goes when you rarely express your emotions anyway? When there’s no partner? And typically it’s a mix of lightness and heaviness; former being for very less period whereas there’s heaviness of head or head is just muddled.

    One can sense when the Creative Brain is in action, as you consciously step-back, but more often than not, you are in auto pilot of numbness and just going by and through.

    So..what’s the way forward for the relationship with one self? I realize that one ought to be able to get out and see the self but…it ain’t easy.

    Thanks a lot for all the information. Hope to read more of your blogs, Julia.


    1. Oh, brilliant question, Meta. I think you’ve spoken for so many people who don’t know how to have more of a relationship with themselves.

      I’d suggest starting with basic body sensations. Can you tell if you’re thirsty or hungry? Do you notice what’s happening with your jaw or your throat? Tuning into your body is a first giant step towards connecting with your real self. And–those sensations will guide you to sorting through the emotions they’re trying to communicate to you (and what those emotions are trying to tell you).

      Keep me posted as to how these steps go for you!



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