As human beings we do not and cannot exist in one single state. Rather, we are in a constant state of change and flux, as is our lives. We move in and out of various emotional states all the time. As indivduals, we have a tendency to judge our emotions. If we like an emotion, we welcome it in. If we don’t, we try to keep it out. Neither of these responses are useful, and here’s why:
The desire to hold onto a good feeling takes us out of the moment where we are experiencing that feeling. We want to hold onto the feeling, just as it is, because we are afraid of feeling the loss of the good feeling. We only partly allow ourselves to feel the full expression of love, joy, happiness, as we hold off due to fear of an eventual loss.
If we don’t like an emotion, we tend to reject that emotion and try to push it away. We might start doing things that distract us from feeling the emotion we don’t want to feel.
Avoidance only serves to intensify the emotion. There is a Buddhist saying “what you resist persists”. Rejecting emotion is like saying “don’t think about chocolate” – so then all you can think about is eating chocolate. In trying to avoid a negative emotion, we create inner conflict as the emotion only intensifies. If we bury the emotion, it will come out at another time, most likely in an inappropriate way and with a lot of subconscious build up along with it.
So once we accept that the emotion is there, then what? Well, actually, that’s all we need to do. Accept it and allow it to be there. We don’t have to act on it, just feel into it.
STEPS TO FOLLOW:
Accept the emotion as it comes and attend to it then and there:
- Feel the emotion – no need to label it, just feel the feeling. Observe that you are feeling the feeling. Feel it without words, feel it as a sensation in the body.
- Let it to be there – try not to enter into a story about it – when you felt like that before and what that meant etc – if you do, fine, just come back to this feeling, in this moment, right now.
- Observe it – don’t run away from it or deny it. Breathe into it.
- Acknowledge it by allowing it to be there. Appreciate that it being there means you are a whole human.
- Know that it won’t last and let it go when it passes.
Taking the time to feel without bringing in stories of past emotions and/or potential future emotions, is all you need to do. You’ll find that by doing this, the emotion naturally defuses and shifts.
Embrace and come to peace with your emotions. Learn to ride the emotions with a sense of knowing and a feeling that all is as it should be. Also remember, acceptance takes practice. So accept that too. But give it a go. This is your life, so live it in the real.