by Andrew John Harrison
In this article
, you will discover the language of
emotion, where they come from and why
emotion drives everything.
Love, anger, hate, fear. These are examples of emotions. Most people spend their time chasing emotions they want and avoiding emotions they don’t want. The trouble with living this way is that the emotions you are chasing seem to run away faster than you can catch them – and the emotions you are avoiding (or running from) seem to follow you wherever you go!
Research shows that most people make buying decisions emotionally, followed by rational, logical justifications. This means that in order to lead or influence people – you must move them emotionally. This is impossible to do – authentically – if you have not moved emotionally yourself.
What are emotions anyway?
From mid-16th century French, the word e-mo-tion is derived from the Latin word emovere, which means to excite, to move. Emotions range from feeling nothing or being numb, all the way to feeling fully alive. Emotion could be described as Energy in Motion or in other words, it is the energy that creates our motion. It is the fuel that moves us. Just as there are positive and negative flows of electricity, there are positive and negative flows of emotion. You could say this as moving towards, and moving away from.
When we are attracted to something or are feeling enthusiasm – we move towards it. When we are feeling angry – we attack (which moves the target away.) When we are scared – we move away from the potential threat. When we have given up – we go numb. And when we are numb – we have no idea how we feel about anything!
Most of our actions are driven by these known and unknown emotions. How we feel about people, places, and events dictates our actions or how we behave.
All emotions involve both a physical and mental component. We feel them physically in our bodies and along with these feelings are packages of thoughts and beliefs.
Some people say that the thought creates the feeling; others say that feeling creates the thought. I don’t think it matters which creates the other, as they clearly go together.
From the time that we were small children, we were taught by people who we loved and trusted that there are “good” emotions and “bad” emotions. For example, we may have been told that anger was OK and joy was not OK. In other families, they were told that anger was not OK and joy was OK.
To fully understand the role of emotions in our lives requires us to consider changing this childhood programming: What is an OK feeling and what is a not-OK feeling? Our judgments of good and bad have us suppressing what we consider to be bad, and over-expressing what we consider to be good. Whenever we are over-expressing, we are not being authentic and are acting. Acting takes a lot of energy/Lifeforce to maintain and can feel like hype to others.
Why can’t I feel?
Whenever we suppress a feeling, it stays locked within us and denies access to our energy, our vital force. This is because emotions are an integral component of our Lifeforce. Whenever we block an emotion from flowing or don’t allow ourselves to feel it, we are blocking our Lifeforce. It is common for people to suppress unwanted emotions. They are not realizing that their ability to experience desirable emotions is limited by this same suppression.
To the degree that you can experience the depths of the unwanted emotions, you can also experience the highs of the desirable emotions. For many of us, a lifetime of emotional suppression has caused us to “numb out” to how we feel about many of the people and events in our lives. People who are numbed out can act in a way that is harmful to others because they are disconnected from their own and other people’s feelings.
“Putting up with” has a hidden cost
An example of this numbing effect is when someone “puts up with” a job they hate over a long period. If they do nothing to change the situation, they may become numb in order to cope. This numbness can prevent them from connecting with their real passion and can make it difficult for them to start a business, change jobs, or change careers. In fact, if you suggest that this person consider a new career, you will run into their resistance and lack of motivation. Ask any numb person to change, and you will run into the same phenomena.
This does not mean that we should express all our emotions inappropriately, or in a way that infringes on the rights of others. Allowing ourselves to fully experience the emotion will allow it to flow. When our feelings flow, so does our life. When our feelings are blocked, our lives are filled with struggle, drama, and problems.
Some people assert that you can’t feel anything unless you choose to. Next time someone purposely stomps on your foot to enjoy your pain, try and remember that! Chances are no matter how calm you are, you will feel angry. If your response is joy and happiness, then you may be suffering from a common affliction of mis-wired emotions – in other words, feeling a different emotion than what most people would consider normal.
To share an example of this, a few years ago I attended a funeral where the widow of the deceased was laughing loudly with other family members right before the coffin was lowered into the grave. Most people would find that unusual or abnormal. An appropriate emotion at a funeral would be grief and sadness along with a cocktail of other emotions as the mourners remember the good, the bad and the “other” from the deceased’s life.
The mastery and understanding of our emotions are essential to the understanding and mastery of life. So what would happen if people learned about feelings and their impact on life? What would happen if people listened to their intuition and their emotional natures more and included this input into their decision-making? What would happen if people learned safe ways to express their feelings – rather than suppress them?
We would have happier, more fulfilled, more balanced, more loving societies.
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