Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.
As human beings, we all mature physically from childhood to adolescence and then into adulthood, but our emotions lag behind.
-- Bernard Summer
Criticism Becoming Shame
There is a great number of folks scattered all over the globe having a hard time getting out of the prison of their limiting mindsets. As the time is doing its part, what used to be only mind-the-jailer, to some of them has turned into mind-the-tormentor.
All that just because somewhere back in childhood they were made embarrassed of their emotional nudity which had to be collectively cultivated and refined -- often beyond recognition -- into something more socially acceptable.
Along that process some of us glued that proverbial fig leaf on our emotional nakedness, not really sure anymore how much of it was appropriate to be exposed to the ever critical eyes of the world.
Especially those of us with a particularly sensitive and delicate emotionality took into adulthood this need to cover our most intimate reality, oftentimes to the point of becoming alienated from that warm being that we used to be.
An emotional censor keeps filtering out all those emotions of a genuine self-love and pristine childish joy of being alive and growing -- and leaving only those which limit us into a world of worry, fear, and incentive to make of ourselves something to deserve others' love.
Having lost the touch with our true emotional selves, many of us completely forgot what it really felt like to be at ease, genuinely happy and loving, flowing with the current of events, without bumping into something every step of the way, often with bruises that won't heal.
Even that continuum of breathing got somewhat affected while becoming shallow and often stopping, as if we are not sure if it's time to inhale or exhale, muscle working against muscle, and diaphragm going into a chronic spasm of adulthood.
Youth is not the time of life, it's a state of mind, it's not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees, it is a matter of the will, of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
-- Samuel Ullman
Control by No Control
One of the biggest paradoxes about our emotions is, that in order to control them we have to stop controlling them. Confusing, isn't it?
At least until we accept as true that it's not our emotions that are hurting us, but our unconscious resistance to them. It means going against emotional flow, rowing against the river of energy in us.
Trained to go selective about acceptability of our feelings, instead of allowing them to just run their course and be replaced with something else. You see, there is a big qualitative difference between suppressing and replacing.
There is something like a cultivated "emotional intelligence", in which we work WITH our emotions, instead of AGAINST them.
For an example, if I was experiencing a momentary spike of anger, I could let it be, accept it exactly as it is -- while not acting upon it -- and without attaching to it any "reasons". Just locating it somewhere in my body as an energy, and letting it run its course.
Then, as it subdues a little, I could gently replace it with a possibly humorous angle of seeing the situation which caused the anger. Humor has its own undeniable magic of wisdom to turn any crappy situation into a calm experience.
If, on the other hand, I chose to suppress it, I would instantly cut the flow of energy to it, denying it, fighting it internally, not accepting it as a part of my humanness. Thus, in the first case I am controlling it by no control, and in the second case I am putting a heavy foot on emotional brakes.
Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.
-- Travis Bradberry
Those Bad, Bad Feelings
In the process of suppressing we don't merely stop our unwanted emotions, but good ones as well, which otherwise could have gently replaced them.
This not knowing how to handle those "bad" emotions is called in the popular jargon "a poor stress management".
At his point it could be useful to remind ourselves about one important truism referring to emotions:
Emotions are our constructs -- not ourselves, so we should stop identifying ourselves with them.
It's our language misleading us into this illusion, as we say: "I am sad; I am happy; I am disappointed...", because in our brain it's taking the same significance as those statements of self-identification, like: "I am a father; I am a writer; I am a human being..."
That "am" gives us a sense of that crazy identifying with what we feel, while we are not more of our mental constructs than a painting is the painter.
Once we are clear with this fact that we are only that unchangeable sense of consciousness, that "I-amness" that we carry with us throughout our life -- our emotions can be given a freedom to come and go, because now they are not "us".
Emotions are the magical part of being human, and their energy is extremely decisive over our state of well being -- but they are still something to manage, not something to identify with.
So, think about it the next time when you say "I am pissed off" -- no, you are not, you are a just producing those emotions.
Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt, have an important role to play in a happy life, they're big, flashing signs that something needs to change.
-- Gretchen Rubin
A Garden Variety of "Fig Leaf Users"
Indeed, it's amazing how those first few years of life can do a number to the rest of life. Some of those "fig leaf users" turn shy, highly introverted, withdrawn; others are scared of romantic commitments, still others become "Mr./Mrs. Nice".
Then, there are also those "selfless" martyrs sacrificing their own joy of life for the family's comfort and well being. Hey, isn't that a virtue to be admired? Nope, it ain't, because such folks are living someone else's life instead of their own.
What about having fun, friends, travel, hobbies, spending weekends in a cozy ambient of home reading a good book, or having a long distance chat with someone?
Indeed, all kinds of overdoing altruists who have lost the attachment to their own inner flame of life.
Since we are producers of our emotions, why not intentionally insist on producing something that's more life-enhancing, instead of living in the shadow of others and not allowing our emotional nudity to be exposed to the sunshine.
In few of my articles, poems too, I have shamelessly bragged about my producing blissful emotions at will. That, my friends, would be impossible without a free emotional fluidity. So, a few times a day, for my self-healing short "tuneup" I make myself flooded with those high frequency emotions of pure, childish joy.
So much so that I could be caught baby-talking to our house plants, or using a cartoon character voice going silly with my wife. I especially like doing Peter Sellers in his roles of Inspector Clouseau with his particularly funny French accent, not even to mention the crazy nonsensical talk.
Of course, I don't feel like that all the time; I love to experience the full spectrum of my emotional humanness, including those crappy feelings -- just in their low key intensity and duration.
Not suppressing any, why would I -- they are not scaring me.
No "reasons" necessary,
I gave myself permission to feel and experience all my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.
-- Ianla Vanzant
Reclaiming Our Emotional Nudity
It's never too late to start ungluing piece by piece of that fig leaf off our emotional nudity. Since our psycho-physical organization always strives toward its healthy equilibrium, our allowing attitude give the green light signal to all that suppressed material to slowly start surfacing.
It's the healing time marked with a period of initial mixed emotions, while the old mindset hasn't left as yet, and the new one hasn't settled in as yet as a replacement.
We may also experience what is called a short "healing crisis", or body detox, with toxic emotions and their chemical equivalents leaving the body, giving us a temporary body discomforts.
Now, don't let your dark imagination picture something like an "emotional Hoover Dam collapsing and drowning you in your emotions".
It doesn't get that way, only in some extreme psychotic catharsis scenarios, which is not your case. Besides, why not use our imagination to picture an upcoming emotional renaissance instead?
So, the day may come for some of us when our emoting will feel something like a fun of surfing on the crest of some waves, those resembling ripples, and those more like tsunamis.
The trick is to stay on that (metaphoric) surfing board, and swiftly climb back on top of it should we fall. Like that boxing legend Mohamed Ali used to say: "It doesn't matter how many times you fall -- what matters is how many times you get up".
Getting wet is all right, but not wallowing in the water and cursing the waves, or our surfing skill.
The feeling of dropping that emotional fig leaf is enormously liberating and spiritual -- I should know, I lost mine several decades ago.
So, here comes the end of my little metaphorical presentation of this strange, if common, phenomenon in our personal evolution of our disconnecting from our pristine emotionality, and our ever available opportunity to to reconnect with it.
May everyone some day experience the divine moment of becoming who they are.
It's about learning to accept
© 2022 Val Karas