The Life Coaching Series is a series of posts where I will explore and address issues or problems you may have in your life. Please use these freely as suggestions. They are not truth, but possible ways of looking at your life. New lenses. Like glasses. To view you – and your life – in a constructive and healthy manner. Enjoy.
Are you afraid of your emotions? Are you angry at them?
Do you try to rid yourself of your emotions? Do you push them away or ignore them?
Do you fully experience your emotions? On a daily basis, or every now and again?
Look, I know emotions can be difficult. And in our society we honor joy and happiness often to our own detriment, because we leave the rest of our emotions in the dirt. Except…
We are emotional beings.
Yes, human beings are emotional beings. Not some of us. All of us. As a species. All. Of. Us. And with any truth, you can always find a way to love what you have feared, abhorred, or defended against. It’s all context.
This is what I know…
An emotion is like an experience. In fact, it is an experience. And just like any experience in your life, once you’ve experienced it, you cannot un-experience it.
You can forget it. It can recede to the background of your memory, but it is yours. Forever. Forever coloring and influencing your thoughts, feelings, and behavior to whatever intensity it has moved you as you experienced it.
And when you are experiencing an emotion you don’t want, you may try getting rid of it — moving away from it, getting it away, resisting it, ignoring it, or avoiding it. Or your habit/brain pattern may be an automatic SMUSH-DOWN, aka suppression.
Let me tell you something: What you resist persists.
New behavior suggestion:
My coaching: Instead of working the “get rid of” technique, try going toward the emotion. Rather than going away from it, move straight into it. Experience its fullness.
Yes, that includes pain, hurt and heartache – especially those.
Look, this is what happens unbeknownst to you when you don’t experience your emotions, they get BIGGER, and DEEPER, and MORE FULL and they can end up a terrifying size or boomerang back when you least expect them. Because unbeknownst to you, you’re actually feeding them more and more energy by your resistance.
Instead, when you go toward the emotion, you allow it to play itself out and peter out. Emotions are like the tide, they ebb and flow like the water line on the beach. Wait for the ebb and you can ride the flow.
This can be painful, and if it is too painful in the moment, do not do it then. Wait for a time when you can handle this exercise better. Trying to “make something happen” when you aren’t ready can be just as damaging as allowing the pain to remain because you won’t deal with it.
In the end, however, this can be an exercise that can become second-nature and therefore easier and easier to practice each time you do.
Try it and see.
Now when you do, it’s not a practice of cry more, harder, and louder, or be angry or otherwise. In other words, this is not a matter of “feeding” the drama, or melodrama. This is an act of authenticity. It’s a feel your way into the core of the emotion, thereby allowing it to express itself and tell you what it’s about.
When you’re willing to listen to your feelings and hear what they have to say, they will tell you novels about you.