After months of self-reflection and self-observation, I have come to realize that emotions are messengers. I have even started referring to certain feelings as an “emotional itch”. To me, an emotional itch is this nagging feeling telling you, “hey! hey! listen to me! hey!”. Much like a loving child, puppy or friend. Much like an itch that wants to be scratched. It just want to be heard. Often times, these emotions have useful messages to share. Other times, they just want to be nurtured. Acknowledged, then released.

I will say this. It took months of practicing meditation, loving kindness, and nonjudgmental observation of my thoughts and emotions before they became “gentle itches”. If you suppress your emotions, they likely come on suddenly, knock loud and hard, trying to break down the walls and doors you’ve built around yourself to shut them out. If you have anxiety, you know deep down this rings true. No doubt, the more you ignore them, the louder they get over time. So I invite you to listen to what they say. As scary as that may seem, simply listening and practicing nonjudgemental observation of them as they come by, acknowledging them, and letting them go if you can, will transform how your feelings affect you – and what you do with them. If we look at every discomfort in life as a challenge for growth, whether that’s a physical or emotional discomfort, can you imagine how much we’d grow?

So today…. this itch was frustration for me. Driving back home from work, I felt it creeping up. Once I decided to sit down with it and listen, it told me… “I am frustration. And I am potential unrealized”. What a fascinating revelation. Potential unrealized? How, I asked… then I thought…..If energy is not created nor destroyed, but merely transformed, where does creative energy go? Does it turn into a sense of longing, of what-if, or a sense of bitterness? Does it become stagnant? Or does it create this itch, this nudge – to get us to move towards realizing our potential?

If I am being honest with myself, I had been wanting to write more, to create more, and to reach more eyes and ears for a very long time. Even early on in medical school, I knew I wanted to write, to speak, and to bridge the gap between conventional medicine and holistic medicine. I knew I wanted to be a healer, not just a physician. And when I embarked on becoming a health & wellness coach, I knew writing was going to be a creative outlet. It had to be. I was this child that wrote so much and read so much. It healed me. I believe the written (or spoken!) word is so, so powerful. I know that in times of need, I was soothed by words written by extraordinary ordinary people in blogs, articles, and books. And yet. Why am I not writing as much as I’d like to? Was I not realizing my potential, stifling this creative energy within? Was my lack of realizing my potential the cause of my frustration?

In Eastern traditions, it is believed that the body is made up of chakras. Each chakra is a wheel of energy that serves a purpose. The sacral chakra, Svadhishthana, is the seat of creative energy. When out of balance, one experiences anxiety, fear of change, depression, and addictions (the list goes on). But isn’t an addiction to negative thoughts, self-deprication, etc., still an addiction nonetheless? So why do so many of us stifle our creative energy? Fear of change? Fear of failure? Fear of disappointment? Does the story we tell ourselves become our addiction?

“I am not smart enough. I am not talented enough. I don’t have enough money. I am not young enough. I can’t make it. I will fail.”

We’ve heard those excuses so many times, from others, and from ourselves. The worst enemy lies within and it is that critical voice in your head that makes you doubt. To doubt, is to not have faith. And to not have faith, is to sin (to commit a wrongdoing). Or so most religions believe anyway. So why do we doubt ourselves? 

Frustration is potential unrealized.

Ask yourself. Am I living up to my full potential? Am I creating the life I want to live, or merely standing by and watching it pass? Am I seizing every opportunity that comes my way, and using it for my growth, expansion, and to realize my potential? Be honest with yourself. If your answer was no, well, then…. maybe this itch is a blessing in disguise.