Thoughts About Emotions

We are raised in this culture with beliefs about certain emotions. The beliefs vary some from family to family; but there is general agreement that the goal is to feel good and happy as much as possible. This implies a sub-goal of not feeling negative emotions. Anger, fear, and sadness are generally banned from most families.

What if this is not the goal, what if the goal is to feel all the emotions, or maybe there is no goal.  If we had no goal the emotions would just flow through undisturbed. They wouldn’t be resisted, judged, or denied.

As a child I was fairly quiet, introspective,  sensitive, and somewhat moody. Which means that I felt a wide range of emotions.

In my family anger and sadness were not allowed. I learned to keep sadness to myself, but anger would burst forth no matter how hard I tried to repress or deny it. I was judged so harshly just for being angry, that expressing anger carried a dark taboo. Since I couldn’t seem to get rid of it, I felt tremendous shame.

It felt like anger had a life of its own. It was my fault that it was inside me, and it was my job to keep it from exposing itself; but I just couldn’t stop it from spurting out of my mouth.

With much work on myself, psychologically and spiritually I began to accept anger as a natural expression. I learned to make room for it without judgment. Interestingly the more I relaxed around it, the more energy I had, and I began to feel less anger, as a result less anger was expressed. This was confusing at first, because it made it seem like the goal was to stop being angry. But it was really the opposite, and the result was less anger and more energy.

Each emotion has an energetic vibration, and when we are lacking one or two emotions we are limited in the amount, quality, and range of energy we have available.

Through my work on myself and with others I now see all the emotions as energetic movements that pass through us. Sometimes we attach stories to them, and sometimes the stories in our minds cause certain emotions to arise.  By stories I mean remembering something from the past, imaging something in the future, or projecting meaning onto someone else’s behaviors.

It is good to question the beliefs we hold as true about emotions or really anything. Sometimes letting them go of beliefs requires delving into where they got embedded, and other times just seeing them as not true releases them. It can be really powerful to let the body open and relax when an emotion appears. Resisting, judging, repressing, and even denying, requires tension, which keeps the story and the emotion stuck. When we can deeply relax, the mind is open, beliefs begin to loosen, emotions flow through the system, and body feels spacious. Ultimately even the beliefs about who and what we are begin to relax.