Navigating Emotions

In my experience, I have been conditioned to negate my emotions. I was taught that if I expressed my feelings, specifically uncomfortable ones, or if I did not react in a certain way, I was criticized and punished, often unpredictably. So soon it was safer to not react at all. I began to disconnect from my emotions because they could not be trusted anymore. As a defense mechanism, to cope in my social setting, I denied my negative emotions as best I could, displaying only the emotions I knew beyond a doubt would be favored upon by my loved ones. Happy, positive emotions were easy, but pretty soon the pressure to act happy in certain cases was also a strain, it became a chore to show any emotion at all.

I admired Mr Spock on the then popular TV series Star Trek, I wanted to be logical and in control, so nothing could hurt me. Emotions were too messy and risky. If only I were Vulcan, then I would be perfect and my loved ones would be happy with me & I would have love, acceptance & peace. Emotions were illogical. Anyone relate to this view?

Nothing could be further from the truth. It took me years to reconnect to the only reliable compass, my emotions. Go figure, huh? Why are emotions the only reliable compass? Because they are connected to our intuition & higher knowing, often our emotions speak to us first before we become consciously aware of what thought is causing the emotion. Our subconscious and soul picks up on clues and pieces them together before our consciousness does, yet it can register as gut feelings…a higher knowing.

Well all of my formative years practicing non-reactivity were a blessing in disguise. In my line of work it is an invaluable asset, I can stay calm & be there to help those in need when most people would react. Yet I had to spend years reconnecting and finding myself again, through honoring my emotions, noticing them, allowing them & investigating what was causing the emotions.

What causes emotions? I used to feel angry or sad, but could not connect to why because of denying “negative” emotions in my youth. As an adult there was a disconnect with my negative emotions, I denied them and there was often a delayed realization of why I was feeling sad, angry, etc. I lived unconscious of what was causing my negative emotions….I would cope by distraction, compulsive eating, binge drinking & rationalization, blaming fatigue or hormones or my erroneous thinking. Ignoring and avoiding painful issues in my relationships, especially my relationship with self.

Thoughts lead to feelings, emotions, I eventually determined. I had to simplify my life & spend much alone time & self reflection & reconnection with my inner self. I did The Artist’s Way book and inadvertently meditated, which helped me discover what I liked, what I wanted, instead of what others wanted, instead of trying to please everyone else. I employed lots of readily available tools, educated myself, took responsibility for myself,  to break free of codependency and discover the real me. All of this led to healing and forgiveness and a reconnection with my soul which spoke it’s higher knowledge to me through my emotions and intuition. So now when I feel something I usually know exactly why, the thoughts I am thinking line up with the emotions I am feeling, they are connected, not free floating, not denied though I still resist the negative ones.

Why is it important to honor even the negative emotions, they feel so bad, why not just hurry up and feel better? Well because you might stay in an unhealthy situation when if you stay connected to even the scary feelings you would end up feeling better much sooner because then you can make the necessary changes to correct whatever is causing the suffering. Purely common sense and absolutely logical right?

Yet one must prioritize and discern what is worth reacting over. It would be nonproductive to act upon every fleeting irritation. So I have become mindful & conscious of my thoughts and resulting feelings until I have a habit of refocusing my awareness on positive thoughts. I prioritize what I allow to upset me because now I am conscious of the connection between thoughts and emotions and how valuable & intelligent & logical it is to feel them so I can know what is true for me. I alone am in control of my thoughts & feelings and actions. Liberating yet also no one else to blame but me. I take action over important issues, working upon what is within my control and do my best to let the rest go. This requires good boundaries. Which I will examine in my next post.

So what about all this LOA….find the best feeling thought? Well yes, that’s after you have done common sense things within your control and changing the externals within your power first. For example, if you are in an abusive relationship, or if it’s just not a good fit and beneficial for you, do you stay and try to think good thoughts about it hoping that will stop the bad feelings or that things will magically improve so you won’t have to go through the discomfort of change, not to mention the displeasure of others? Really?

Being positive and practicing LOA does not mean you deny negative emotions. It does mean though that in your daily goings about you try to focus on enjoyment. And if you become adept at listening to your emotional guidance system, negative emotions become your friends and indicate chances to grow…propelling you to more of what you want. Your heart’s desires speak to you through those pesky emotions. It’s how you utilize them that becomes tricky, a constant process, to keep you growing and to allow more of what you are wanting to become reality in your life.

The logical heart knows best.

I still don’t like feeling bad, but I accept that if i didn’t have a full spectrum of emotions that would mean I could not have a full spectrum of experiences 🙂 Though Mr Spock didn’t do too bad….oh yeah, he was half human, so the fun bits he enjoyed? Human emotions, they rock 😉

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Michelle Miyagi
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