News flash! Being “strong” is not defined by the ability to suppress our emotions and appear as if everything is perfect, when our world is falling apart! There is no “right way” to handle the complex situations that confront us on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what the ad on television promises, there are situations that will be difficult and challenging to handle.
We are human and we will experience emotions. There are emotions that are uplifting and expansive, some that are neutral, and some that are heavy and constricting. The game of life is not about seeing how many of the latter we can avoid. It is about developing the emotional fluency to dance with ANY emotion that we encounter along the way! And BTW… We will encounter them all throughout the course of our lifetime.
Somehow we seem to have reached a time in our evolution where the emotions such as sadness, disappointment, fear, anger, loneliness, despair, humiliation and rage are to be avoided at all costs. That somehow if we are “hanging out” with any of these emotions, there is something wrong and we need to fix them (fix ourselves) as soon as possible. Put a smile on your face… think positive thoughts!
However, this can end up being emotional and spiritual blackmail! You see, it is one thing to have the fluency and awareness to lift yourself from a constricting emotion. It is quite another to try and pretend it doesn’t exist or matter! When we try to cover it up or hide these emotions, it is easy to start judging them (and ourselves) as being wrong. “I shouldn’t be angry”. “There is no reason for me to be depressed”. “If I were stronger, this wouldn’t bother me”.
In reality, there are important reflections and awareness that come from all of our emotions. The reason we feel particular emotions when something happens is because of our beliefs, attitude, and what we value. That is why something that bothers me may have very little emotional charge for you. We are all different, we are all unique.
Frequently the events that trigger these heavier emotions can seem daunting, and may feel as if “they will never end”. However, if we are willing to step into and experience these emotions, instead of trying to avoid them, they begin to inform us. When and if we are willing to see where they point us, these emotions actually begin to shift quicker than imagined.
For many of us, it is not until we get into these uncomfortable and challenging situations, that we really begin the self-exploration to see what we need to shift, release or embrace. To see how our “story” has changed. Maybe what we were doing before no longer serves us or is aligned with what we are creating now. Yet, if we never slow down to look at or see this, we keep trudging through, carrying the same old beliefs.
What if the real purpose of the events that cause emotional turmoil are actually here to help us grow and know ourselves better? What if they are direction changers, that in hindsight are what aligns us with our passion and purpose? It may be hard to recognize the value in moving through these emotions, if all of our time and energies are being spent trying to convince everyone else how well we are handling them, by not letting them “bother” us! I for one vote for the real emotions! Even if initially they feel uncomfortable!
With Light, Love, and Laughter