Are your Emotions Controlling your Life?


Are your Emotions Controlling your Life?

“A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure.
I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions.
I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Do you prefer to live in your mind and control your life through your thinking? If the answer is yes, you are in the majority of the western world.

Suppressing emotions is a survival strategy that minimises the full impact of the pain of negative experiences. It is essentially a basic survival instinct learned in early childhood to survive our environment that may have been unsafe for us. To avoid being overwhelmed with shame, hurt, grief, sadness, helplessness etc., we blocked the full impact of our emotions by holding on: if we weren’t soothed, supported or accepted; if we experienced our parents as being out of control, unpredictable or unavailable;  if we were being ridiculed or shamed for having certain feelings; if we were confused and did not known how to communicate our experience.

During childhood, we all developed an emotional template through interacting with the environment around us – and we continue to operate with this same template into adulthood. Emotions that live under the surface have a great impact on our behaviour, triggered by our inner and outer environment and dominate our life. We blame others and ourselves as a way to avoid taking responsibility for our pain.  We fear the sensations felt in our body as much as the actual fear of the situation. We still hold within our body/mind the dread we experienced  as children. The more pain we experience, the more energy we invest in avoiding pain and the less energy we have to feel the peace, joy and love we crave. As the self destruction continues, we move further from our true self until life becomes complex, confusing, dissatisfying, uncomfortable and unmanageable.

Here are some of the symptomatic problems in our lives created by suppressing, avoiding or distracting from our emotions:

  • Overreaction to seemingly insignificant things
  • Relationship breakdowns
  • Difficulty in communicating effectively
  • Experiencing depression, anxiety and rage
  • Physical pain and tension in the body
  • Developing diseases
  • Difficulty exercising the higher emotions of kindness, compassion etc.
  • Lack of self confidence and self esteem
  • Avoidance of people, places and situations that are a reminder of the negative experiences
  • Using addictions to avoid painful emotions
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Emotionally out of control
  • Low energy or hyper vigilance

Become the master of your own emotions and restore balance to your body & mind.

Take responsibility for your life and study your reactions to situations in a mindful way. Develop an open and curious and reflective stance to learn about yourself. Find a safe place and allow yourself time for this self reflective process.

Accept whatever emotion arises within you with compassion. Imagine this as a wave that swells up suddenly. Ride the wave and observe it as it slows down. Notice the impulse to push the feeling down as you step through your wall of resistance.

Choose to release and let go of the emotion. Use your breath as if you are blowing out a candle to help you release as you pay attention to the sensations in your body.

You should feel a new sense of freedom once you move through the wall of resistance. This alchemical process of transformation integrates the previously suppressed emotion.

Although external factors influence your inner state, you can change your reactions to your external world by changing your internal world. You can live more fully in the present the more you practice this process.  Always  seek professional assistance when working with traumatic past experiences.

For a more in depth process go to ‘7 Steps to Inner Connection’

 

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