In my last blog post I started to discuss the fascinating topic of emotional mastery. Here is the link to that article in case you missed it. The fact is that we all have emotions but most of us feel like we’re at the mercy of our feelings. This is because few of us have learned how to master them. In the last blog I discussed how to manage the emotions that arise from our negative thoughts. Now let’s discuss the emotions that arise from human experience.
The fact is that nobody seeks to experience so-called negative emotions but we will all feel them at one time or another. Besides our negative thinking, the other source of all our emotions is our life circumstances and experiences. Negative emotions usually arise from circumstances which we did not expect such as the loss of a job, the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. We may not have control over everything that we go through in our lives but we do have control over our emotions.
What we need to understand is that emotions are not meant to be resisted, no matter how painful they feel in the moment. Our emotions are meant to be fully felt because if we resist or suppress them they will become trapped in our bodies. Have you ever heard someone describe their anxiety as a tightness in the chest or their sorrow as a heavy heart? This is because they have suppressed their emotions and this is how they experience them in the body.
Although negative emotions do cause pain in the moment, they will cause suffering if they are not given a voice and are allowed to express fully and completely. They way to do this is to be fully aware of what you are feeling at all times, especially when things in your life situation go wrong or don’t proceed as planned. Allow yourself to be fully aware of what you are feeling and do not resist.
If you are feeling sadness or grief, you may need to shed some tears. If you are feeling anger, you may need to express it, in a respectful manner, to those who are involved or unleash it with a scream or yell when you are alone. Whatever the case may be, do not resist what you are feeling because resistance will only lead to suffering.
The beauty of expressing your feelings fully and allowing them to take their course is that once you’ve burned through them you will discover something. What you will discover is that treasure that lies at the core of every emotion which is inner peace. A metaphor to explain this is a hurricane. No matter how destructive and tumultuous a hurricane is, the eye of the hurricane is always calm. The fact is that all emotions, whether negative or positive, eventually will lead you to inner peace if they are allowed to run their course.
It is especially important to teach this to your children who are closer to their true nature and usually express what they feel freely. We often tell our children to not be emotional in public, especially when they are crying uncontrollably or having a temper tantrum. Although it may not be convenient for us and even embarrassing, children should be allowed to express their emotions freely if they are to grow up to be healthy, grounded and emotionally intelligent adults.
In the next blog I will discuss how to release emotional blocks from past traumas.
Nauman Naeem MD