Emotions… Do you ever think if it’s good for a person to be emotional, or on the contrary — are emotions an obstacle, a disadvantage to us? On one hand emotions are like colors of life. Tumultuous joy, excitement, and love make us all feel alive. But on the other hand we want to be able to have a better handle of anger, impatience, fear, discomfort, and pain. When we are too emotional, all of our experiences are stronger, more colorful, more vivid, deeper and truly. We feel joy and love much stronger, but we also experience pain in a deeper level. When we conquer negative emotions and take control of ourselves, we certainly don’t want to end up being insensitive.
But would our life be interesting and fulfilling if there were no emotions and feelings? Should we strive to remove our feelings, so we can be untouchable, should we be careless, so we can feel better?
Do emotions help or hinder us?
The answer to this question I accidently found from Dr. Joseph Dispenza, author of Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself, who says:
“You ask if emotions are bad. Emotions are not bad. They are life. They color the richness of our lives. The problem is addiction. Most people do not see that dependence on emotions is not a question of psychological, but biochemical nature. Think about it.”
This is the answer I was looking for to share with all of you. I do not want you to be insensitive. I do not want you to feel no pain, fear, anguish, and anger, to deprive the beauty of joy, admiration, excitement, and love. And I agree with Dr. Joseph Dispenza, the problem is addiction.
The problem is that when we identify with emotions that we end up taking them as our personal characteristics.
They are just emotions through which we experience reality, our reaction that comes and goes.
Let’s think about something: Don’t we often react somehow mechanically, as if we were programmed robots? Have you noticed that you reach to similar situations in the same way, as if it was encoded in you and if there’s no other alternative?
What is the emotional reaction — perhaps an untouchable impulse? No, I do not think so. Does this established chain reaction of the world keeps us imprisoned and powerless?
Our emotions sometimes really catch us in a trap and make us think that we have no choice, that we are just such.
And what makes us such? Why are some people more emotional and not others? Probably there are many various reasons, but here’s what happens in our brains, described by counselor Sandra Anne Taylor, and why we react the same way in similar situations:
“The process starts as a separate sense or an excitement in the hypothalamus in the brain that releases certain peptides. These substances reach the receptors and persist in their cells, causing a chemical reaction similar to the one in the initial emotional state and it continues its operation. Whether they are positive or negative, identical thoughts produce such peptides and similar emotions. Over time, the repetition of this pattern excludes all other receptors that would otherwise be available to the peptides to other emotional states. Thus your perception becomes sustainable and constantly repeats the same biochemical chain of events reproduced through the same old feelings. This way emotional habits and even addictions are formed.”
Therefore we learn to react in the same way. Our emotions just follow the familiar path downstream of this process, and we do not even think that we can choose a new path. Indeed, in the beginning the feeling will be foreign and strange as with any new thing. But gradually the new road will be known and emotions will begin to pass on it spontaneously, without a second thought. Like when we are on the way to work and we don’t think where we need go. But if you decide to take a different way, you will initially monitor where you are going. Until it becomes mechanical. In the same way we can build a new path of our emotional reactions.
The most important thing is to be aware of when something happens that elicits anger, impatience, fear, or jealousy. Remember that this is not the only way to react, remember that you always have a choice and only we can decide what is our attitude to what is happening.
Often, our reactions are due to the interpretation of the past. For example, if a small dog bit you, when you see a dog, you will react with fear. Because you will connect the dog with danger, pain and fear. That’s known path. This is the only response you are familiar with. It passes instantly through a known stream.
Similarly, if in the past you have been abandoned, in your current relationship you will constantly “see” signs that you will feel abandonment by reacting with jealousy and fear. You will feel pain from harmless situations or words, but the pain is from the past. Just reminding of itself.
We have to look at things, people, situations, as they are now, and free ourselves from our past experiences, because every new thing is different. We only make interpretations through the prism of the past and we say — “Here, it’s happening again.” But such attitude and reactions only challenge reality to happen to what we expect.
Therefore, we need to realize that we interpret things:
“If you just realized that you make interpretation of everything, no matter how trivial it is, this is already an important step to release your past.” Deepak Chopra
Think for a moment: Why am I angry, why do I feel a threat in myself, how do I interpret it? Or maybe I have a complex or a limiting belief, which prevents me from seeing the situation as it is?In the past, perhaps this situation caused some emotions and now you feel back pain, irritation, resentment, fear, guilt, anger . Your brain connects situation with experiences and emotions instantly taking on a familiar road.
Sometimes, when the reaction is already present and not realized on time, it is difficult to return. Deepak Chopra wrote:
“When that happens, the only sensible thing I can do is to go with the flow.”
Very useful in such cases is simply to “watch” your reaction. When simply “watching” what happens to us without giving assessment and without identifying with emotion, without being a part of the game, the reaction loses its strength and becomes quiet.
Professor Kurt Tepperwein writes:
“I like the analogy that our emotions are variables such as the weather — sometimes dark, sometimes clear, sometimes wild and strong, sometimes calm and quiet. To control our feelings is equally unnecessary and pointless endeavor, as it’s attempting to control the weather. Besides, life would be pretty boring if the sun was always shining and the temperature was 80 degrees.”
If we can appreciate the beauty of the rain, wind, snow and the sun, we’ll be free to enjoy life in all its fullness.
Enjoyed reading? Please share. We are in this world to help one another. All of us grow faster when we support each other. I encourage others to add value to the world, so we can make compounding ripples of improvement for everyone.
About The Author
Dr. Mila is an internationally known Change Catalyst. She teaches individuals and organizations about awareness, connection, and the need for change – personally, socially, and professionally.