Coach Ken Donaldson: Why Are Emotions So Tough Or Are They
Sad, mad, scared, ashamed…who wants to be the first to talk about these feelings?
No hands went up and there were no volunteers…how come?
Is it because the idea of you actually controlling emotions seems too challenging?
Or perhaps you were brought up in an “emotionally detached” environment and emotional expression just feels too weird or uncomfortable.
But when the question is asked “how to control your emotions” every few people seem to have answers.
In fact, most people run when they hear questions about emotions or the mere conversation about emotions.
That is, of course, unless these same people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then for some strange reason they often get instantaneously comfortable, confident and courageous about expressing themselves and their emotions.
But that doesn’t really count, does it?
In fact, that may be one BIG reason why there is a huge drug and alcohol problem: People can only deal with their emotions while under the influence.
Sad, isn’t it?!!
Look at the following list of emotions and see what you feel when you read them:
Which feel the most comfortable?
And which feel the least comfortable?
Any idea why?
Most people are more at ease with “joy” or it’s close relative “happiness” than most of the others…why?
Some people aren’t even comfortable with these lighter and happier emotions.
When asking “why” it seems to be so challenging to express emotions, here are some things to consider:
1.) We are not typically taught much of anything about emotions. We have no classes and very little, if any, curriculum in mainstream education about emotions and the expression thereof. Therefore, we are all, by default, rather emotionally dumb.
2.) Many people are brought up in environments which had excessive emotions in one direction or another and because of this, these people often associate emotions as being dangerous, inappropriate or as an “out of control” experience. Therefore, there is conditioned response, much like a reflex, to avoid the emotions.
3.) Much of what is portrayed about emotions through various media outlets (TV, movies, books, etc.) is extremely distorted…Do you really want to have “The Simpsons” as your emotional role model? This adds to both the conditioned emotional avoidance response and low emotional intelligence.
The end result is that most people have very little, if any, solid foundation to explore or express emotions.
You could say that we’ve become rather emotionally ignorant.
So here’s the next question: How can you create better emotional health, more emotional connection and healthy resources to better control your emotions?
Here’s the simple answer: Make all your emotions okay.
Easier said than done, right?
Start by making a new rule: All your emotions are okay…no good ones and no bad ones, they are just all okay.
After all, (now get ready to hear this!!) they are ONLY emotions.
That’s right…ONLY emotions.
They don’t really mean anything.
BUT, people often attach a HUGE meaning to them and that’s what makes them so challenging.
When you get to the place where you can simply observe emotions, whether they are yours or others, you’ll find that without the meaning attached (which is usually a negative distortion), the emotion itself has very little charge to it.
AND ponder this: If you could, by some kind of act of modern science, bring “Younger You” into the present, what would you say to Younger You about all those emotions?
Probably that all emotions are all okay, normal and healthy, and that emotional expression is especially okay…right?!!
Then perhaps you could practice just that: Imagine having one of these imaginary conversations with Younger You…a “corrective conversation” that would give Younger You permission to have and express any and all emotions.
And the value of this? Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference (in most cases) between what’s real and what’s imagined. Therefore when you use your imagination to your benefit (like in this simple practice) you actually leave a new, and positive, impression in the subconscious.
It’s like planting new seeds in your garden and these are the seeds of how you want things to be.
Take good care of these new seeds (“water the seeds” frequently) by spending a couple minutes each day with these new imagery exercises.
You’ll begin to change your reactions from the inside-out.
Work with all types of emotions, include them all, and make sure you include the love emotions…many people received many mixed messages here.
Improve your emotional intelligence and you’ll find all areas of your life improving.