The Tides advance the Tides recede: Emotions
I was taught at a young age that emotions were to be controlled. I will “never show my emotions,” was my battle cry for the majority of my life. Why do men, especially feel it is unwarranted to display emotion? These are some of the basic ways in which people deal or handle emotions.
1. Avoidance, 2. Denial, 3. Competition, 4. Learning and Using.
- Avoidance. I tend to always want to avoid painful emotions. As a result, I try to avoid any situation that could lead to the emotions that could cause me fear—or worse, try not to feel any emotions at all. I used to avoid any situation that could lead to rejection. I shied away from relationships. Dealing with emotions this way was the ultimate trap; because it is only a short term solution which really blocks me from feeling the very love, connection, and intimacy I desire most. Ultimately, I can’t avoid feeling. It doesn’t matter how much I drink, or use drugs, or overeat to escape.
- Denial. Ignoring the message that my feelings are trying to give me will not make things better. Often when denying feelings, I’m disassociating by saying “It doesn’t feel that bad.” Or worse, “Why does this always happen to me?” Until I change my focus, (Asking better or empowering questions), or change my physiology, I will succumb to negative emotions. In order to understand the messages my emotions are trying to give me they must be dealt with, otherwise they will intensify. That was why I drank; not only for pleasure but to deny feeling the negative messages. When I became sober, it took me a several months to really feel again. I began to associate with others who were alcoholic and discovered a third way people deal with emotions.
- Competition. Many stop fighting their emotions and begin to indulge in them. Rather than learn the positive message the emotion is trying to give me, I began to intensify the emotion by competing with others as a “badge of courage.” I would hear people say, “You think you’ve got it bad? Let me tell you how bad Ive got it!” It starts to become an identity, a way of being unique, and I began to pride myself on being worse off than anyone else. This approach must be avoided at all costs because it leads to a self fulfilling prophecy where I end up having an investment to feeling bad on a regular basis—and then I am truly trapped. A better, more powerful, and healthy approach is to realize that emotions serve a positive purpose, and that is..
- Learning and Using. If I want my life to work, I use emotions to work for me. I can’t run from them, I can’t trivialize them or delude myself about what they could mean. Emotions, even those that seem painful in the short term, are truly like an internal compass that points me toward the actions I must take to arrive at my goals. Without knowing how to use this compass, I’ll be forever at the mercy of any psychic temptation that blows my way. Emotions can be viewed as Action Signals. Even the deepest perceived negative emotion can serve me. Today I realize that the emotions I am feeling at this very moment are a gift, a guideline, a support system, a call to action. If I suppress my emotions and try to drive them out of my life, or if I magnify them and allow them to take over everything, then I am squandering one of life’s most precious resources. Today, I cooperate with them.
I am the source of all my emotions. I am the one who creates them. For such a long time I felt that I had to wait for certain experiences to happen in order to feel the emotions I desire. For instance, I didn’t give myself permission to feel loved or happy or confident unless a particular set of expectations was met. Today, I’m here to tell you that I can feel any way I decide at any moment in time. Remember, I bring my weather (attitude) wherever I go. Bring the sunshine and feel the cloudy days as well. Emotions are here to serve me not limit me.
When I can live in alignment and harmony with the source of all things, I can view my emotions like the ocean. Vast, full of life and necessary for my existence. They rise and fall; Im still here.