Day 16: Emotional Conditioning
Feelings and emotions are the forces that govern most of your thoughts and actions; you will move toward pleasure and away from pain. This is how the sales industry was born; you find out what brings your clients pain, you show them how much pain it is bringing them and you offer something that will get them out of pain. Not the most pleasant way to do business, but it works because of the extreme aversion to pain that exists in the human psyche. So what does this mean for you?
Knowing that this is the case, you can get out of this cycle when you are willing to face those things that bring you pain. This is not easy, nor is it a comfortable process but it is absolutely worth the discomfort. Much like fear, there are gifts when you move through your discomfort and pain, the caveat is that you are not trying to just get through it or run away from it, but that you are willing to be with the pain and learn from it. When you run from pain, especially emotional pain, or you refuse to express you pain, the energy gets stuck in your body. Eventually, you do need to address the emotional pain that your body is holding, but that is a conversation for a different time.
The issue with feeling and expressing emotions is that this is one of the first areas that gets shut down when you are young. When your parents said things like, "You're ok, stop crying," "What is so funny?" or "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about!" The effects of those statements stuck with you, and these statements communicate to your body and mind that it is not safe to express emotion - sometimes even that it is unsafe to feel emotion at all. This makes connecting with other people extremely difficult; when you are out of touch with your own feelings and emotions, you are not fully connected to yourself, much less able to connect with anyone else. When you can't express how you feel, it places a barrier on the level of intimacy that you are able to experience with someone else.
A major problem related to your emotions happens anytime you repress, suppress or avoid what you're feeling. When you do this, whatever issue is tied up in said emotions only gets worse, it gets stronger. Chances are you have heard the saying, "What you resist persists," and while it may be a cliche, there is some truth to it. When you refuse to look at anything in your life, whatever you're avoiding doesn't go away - no matter how much you want it to. No issue in your life will just disappear by refusing to look at it and emotions are no different. The ways this can look in regard to emotion are constant anger, inability to handle strong emotion (whether your own or someone else's), checking out instead of feeling, explosive reactions - you get the idea.
Thankfully there are ways for you to address these issues, and this process begins with you identifying the ways you avoid feeling your emotions - or the ways you overindulge in certain ones. It is just as much of a problem when you get attached to any single emotion. You are designed to feel the full spectrum of human emotion, the problem occurs when you start to rely on one more than the rest. Your emotions release a chemical cocktail into your system every time that specific emotional response is triggered. Just like any other chemical, you can become addicted to your emotions. Also like any other chemical, you can detox from those chemicals. Today, take a look at the way you experience your emotions - this is the first step in getting your emotional health back into balance.
Whenever you think your emotions are too much to share, remember:
No emotion = No connection!
When you withhold what you're feeling, you can't fully connect with anyone else.
1. What are some of the ways your emotions have been shut down over the years? What are some of the statements that were used to shut you down? What actions were taken?
2. Which of your emotions do you have a hard time expressing? Which ones are easy to express? Which emotions do you resist? Are there any emotions that you favor or get triggered automatically?
3. What are some of the way you suppress or avoid your emotions? What impact has this had on your relationships?
Continue working with the Attention Training: Transcending Opposites today and get your mind and body used to this process.