If you are like most people, you often feel overwhelmed by your emotions. Furthermore, because of all the “heavy” emotional experiences you begin to see emotions as a burden; you attempt to exclude them from your life and feel guilt from them.
However, what you don’t understand is that emotions are the key to living a fulfilling life, and also to reaching the final goal -- self-realization. In fact, the wider the range of emotions that you experience, the more opportunity you have to be creative, find your passion, and realize your true nature.
The challenge for most is the emotional range and depth that they experience. Often people who experience a lot of emotion look at them as trouble. This is the wrong perspective and neglects the importance and benefits of emotions.
Emotions are the Connection to Your Creativity
Think of emotions as colors on the palette that you use to create the picture of your life. If all you can do is say that you are happy or sad, how colorful is your life? However, if you can connect to a broad range of emotions, your life is that much richer. Furthermore, the more emotion you experience, the greater the capacity you have to tap into your creativity.
There was a study which concluded that artists experience the widest range of emotions compared with any other group of people. The more emotions you experience, the more colors you have access to, and the deeper you are able to connect to the emotions, the more shades of those colors that can be reflected in your creative expression.
Furthermore, when you are not sharing your emotional experiences it signifies that you are judging some aspect of the self. This directly takes away from self-expression. When you are neglecting emotions, you are neglecting an aspect of self and this by definition limits the expression of self. Your expression doesn’t just come from “good” emotions, but also the ones that you are challenged by.
Think about how the suffering of artists has manifested in beautiful and inspiring art.
Emotions are the Key to Self-Awareness
Emotions should not dictate your behavior, but they should focus your attention. They are there to bring attention to some false identification that you have. However, it is impossible to understand something that you are judging. Understanding only comes through acceptance. This is why hate is so illogical.
There are many signs that show you are judging your emotions. The first is that you are not communicating your emotional experiences. Typically, when confronted about this people will react by saying something like, “people don’t want to hear everything,” or “I don’t want to bother people with this,” or something to this effect. These types of responses are indications that you are putting the emotions of others above yours and judging your own.
Often people will communicate some emotions, but not others. They will put a wall around the heart. Meaning that there are feelings/experiences that they do not share. Think of it like a fence just in front of your heart that informs people that they could come up to the fence, but can’t go beyond. Meaning that there are things that you won’t share.
Acceptance is union, while judgment is separation.
You are looking at these emotions as something negative. Doing this takes away from the guidance that emotions provide.
When you are judging aspects of yourself through these emotions, you are unable to go deeper in understanding of the self. This also reinforces habit patterns, allowing them to continue.
Often we feel an emotion and then react. You may be conscious, or unconscious to the emotion, and/or your reaction (also, not reacting is a reaction). In fact, most habit patterns are so ingrained that we mistake them for aspects of the personality.
Emotional Connection Brings Satisfaction in Relationships
The result of not sharing your internal emotional experiences is that you are not getting the closeness and understanding in your relationships that make them satisfying.
You can actually think about it as a form of manipulation. Imagine going to purchase a car and the salesmen tells you how nice you look sitting in the car. You know that he is just trying to manipulate you into buying the car. Similarly, if the salesman doesn’t tell you that the car has a problem, he is manipulating you by omission.
When you are not sharing your feelings and internal experiences, you are trying to get others to make a decision about you without all the information. So when they connect with you, who are they connecting with? Not the complete you. This is why you are probably not feeling the closeness that you desire, and that you are not being understood fully. This is because they aren't connecting with you, but just the aspects that you are sharing -- the incomplete you.
Emotions are the Fuel for Passion and are Essential for the Decision Making Process
The first part of this statement is easy to understand: the more emotional connection you have to something, the more passionate you are towards it.
Feeling a lack of passion for life and a disconnection from your environment is an indication that there is a disconnect between you and your emotional self. To strengthen your passion, learn how to connect to the entire emotional experience; be present with your emotions. Learn how to articulate your emotional experience without judgment to you and the people in your life. Develop the vocabulary of non-judgment.
Emotions are important in helping you make decisions that are complete and that you are connected to. Most people feel that in order to make a good decision they should exclude their emotions.
Furthermore, we are told that emotions get in the way of “rational” decision making. However, discarding or suppressing emotions give them a more prominent role in decision making. If you are just relying on the mind to make decisions, they will be incomplete. Unless you are doing a mathematical computation, this is not the proper way to make decisions.
The proper way to make decisions is with the clarity of the mind, and the awareness of the emotions.
To make complete decisions it is important to experience the feelings and sensations related to it. Once you are able to connect to this, then you can begin to understand what the feelings are wanting you to do, or not do. Then use the mind to decide the right thing to do.
Typically, what happens is that you feel something then react to the feelings. This reinforces the old habit patterns. However, if you create awareness of the feelings and what the impulse wants you to do, or not do, then use the mind to understand and decide the right thing to do, you will make a complete decision and loosen the grip of the old habit pattern. This method makes all decisions easier and complete. Moreover, this breaks the habit patterns because you are not emotionally reacting, but deciding with emotional awareness and understanding of the mind.
In summary, you need to learn to “feel” emotions instead of thinking about them. Feel the emotion, and then think about what the impulse is causing you to want to do, or not do.
Don’t think about how you feel. Feel the emotion, and think about why you are experiencing the emotion. Then clearly speak your emotional truth without judgment to yourself and the people in your life.
Through being present and creating emotional awareness you will benefit from strong emotional experiences, getting closer to your true nature.
How do you experience your feelings and use them in your life? Share with us in the comments below!