November 20, 2012

Why Not Just Welcome Our Emotions?

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We don’t have to be unemotional beings.

I have done a great deal of reading on this topic and since I’ve been open to a literature pool of evidence supporting this idea, I realize how prevalent it is in my daily life.

There are so many people in my life and in this world who are not in relationship with their emotions. Not only are they not in relationship with them, but they aren’t even aware of their personal existence. There are people who I know who have gone through their entire lives being “emotionally mainstream.”  I feel as though there are a few reasons for this fact, one is that some people are just unwilling to tap into that element of their being. But why be unwilling to tap into something so beautiful?

The ability to be emotionally aware and expressive, I feel, is one of the most attractive qualities to a human. We were meant to ride the roller coaster of life, not sit on the sidelines. This also goes along with the question I have regarding people who can find themselves 20 years later in the same job that they hate, coming home to the same marriage that they don’t have a connection with, and having raised the three children that they hardly know. We were meant to feel so how do some people never dive into it?

Maybe people feel intimidated by the power and strength of emotion. But this brings me into a good point. This is just people’s perception of emotion. I feel that a lot of the reason emotions are perceived to be uncontrollable is that people are unable or unwilling to acknowledge or accept them. Yes, it’s a difficult thing to admit to someone else of being lonely, but it is amazingly gratifying when I can sit there with someone, and name my emotions. Instead of being afraid of them, I embrace them. Free of judgment, free of bias.

Here’s a story that goes along with this whole mentality of the importance of naming emotion:

There was a man who was a professional and heavily influential meditator and teacher within the area. He was loved by all within this particular society and as he grew older really created a following. As he aged, he started to show signs of early Alzheimer’s. As the years passed, his condition worsened and he decided to give one last lecture. People traveled in from all over to hear him speak, for they realized that this was probably going to be one of the last times he would be seen in good health. People in the auditorium took up all of the chairs and tons of people were standing.

So the man walked onto the stage, and suddenly the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s came to a head. All of a sudden he didn’t know where he was or what he was doing there. All he knew was to sit in the chair on the middle of the stage. And he sat there with tons of people watching, and did what he knew best. He started naming his emotion. “Lonely, scared, depressed, afraid, anxious, tired, frustrated, etc…” And he went on doing this for a good while. Just naming his emotions.

All of a sudden, his memory came back and he remembered what he was doing there! He knew that he was there to conduct this lecture and saw all of these faces that were so familiar to him. He looked out onto the audience with excitement and said “I am so sorry, because of my condition, I just had a memory loss. I want to apologize to you for this, and now I am ready to start.” There were tears in the eyes of most of the audience, and one person said, “Do not apologize. You have given us the greatest gift by naming your emotion.”

So there it is. We were meant to be emotional creatures. When you are feeling emotion, whether it be sadness, anger, hurt, excitement, fear, exuberance, name it. Be welcoming of it. When you do, immense liberation follows.


Ed: Lynn H.

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