Few people understand the full purpose and positive potential of the emotional side of themselves. Some people aspire to be “less emotional and more spiritual.” Underlying this aspiration is an assumption that isn’t necessarily true – that emotions are the antithesis of spirituality. There is a notion that emotions are somehow less profound or too mortal to be relevant in a connection with the larger energy of the universe.
In their natural state, our emotions are truly more important to our spirituality than most other influences. Emotions are a window into our individuality, a connection to our deepest desires, and a voice that whispers truths to us not externally, but internally, from the depths of our soul. They are an intimate message from our inner selves that can only ever be fully experienced by each person as an individual.
Generally when people think of emotions as negative, they think of the person who explodes in anger at their boss or partner, or the person who becomes so overwhelmed with sadness and hopelessness that they fall into a state of depression. These situations do happen. Becoming overwhelmed with emotions can lead a person to behavior which is harmful to others or to themselves. However, in order to reach such a state a person typically has to ignore their emotions for long periods of time.
The person who explodes in anger usually has had some feelings of frustration for days, weeks or even years before they act on this anger. They may not have paid full attention to these nagging feelings, in many cases they passed over the ideas brought to them through their emotions as irrelevant, and certainly never expressed them in the world. In one way or another, those feelings were there for a long time and were never acted upon.
The person who eventually lapses into a state of despair over their job or marriage has had periods of sadness or unhappiness over several weeks, months, or years, before they ever fall into a state of depression. Either the feelings were dismissed without thought, or the person decided they did not or could not act on the emotions they felt, and tried to carry on without any action, without listening to the urging from within.
Sometimes a person explodes in anger or sadness after a supposedly tiny incident, which it seems, could not have possibly precipitated the type of emotion which follows it. Yet, if that situation was examined more closely, you would find that the event represented hundreds of other incidents like it, when a person felt a desire to do something, yet chose not to express this desire within the world.
It is not emotions themselves which cause a person to act in a harmful manner. It is the act of ignoring emotions, failing to ever act upon the inner messages you are receiving, that cause the buildup of these emotions to the extent that extreme behavior appears to be the only option left. Or which results in such a backlog of emotions that a person can no longer hold them in. The irony is that after this occurs, some people berate themselves for becoming overemotional, and vow to hold in and control their emotions much better in the future – a remedy which is unlikely to work.
If you were to express your emotions immediately as you felt them, in appropriate and constructive ways, you would find that they did not build up to such extreme levels. You would also find that by taking what you felt more seriously, you would naturally steer yourself in a better direction within your relationships and your life. Smaller difficulties would not elicit such exaggerated responses internally, if you did not have a pot of repressed emotions inside, waiting to finally find their chance to escape.
The person who regularly and easily expresses when others have crossed personal boundaries and is able to stand up for themselves, rarely becomes enraged or despondent over small incidents, such as when they discover their stapler has been stolen.
In normal, natural amounts, every emotion can be useful and productive. Anger or frustration elicits a person to stand up for their boundaries, to draw lines that others understand they should not cross. Sadness and depression encourages a person to acknowledge an area of loss or lack in their life, so that they will be motivated to fill this desire or longing in some new way.
Even fear in natural amounts is useful. Fear shows us that there is an area in which we have not yet developed understanding and confidence and that we must progress slowly and carefully so that we can gradually build up knowledge of and confidence around the object of fear. In natural amounts fear peaks attention and curiosity towards the subject of fear and urges us to explore that subject in greater detail.
An individual who regularly acknowledges and explores the object of their fears, does not become frozen or paralyzed by large amounts of fear. Nor do they become angry or enraged at their fears, because they understand that fear is a useful pointer towards further development, and that fear does not have to cause them to feel powerless through paralysis of action.
Simply acknowledging an emotion internally as it comes to our attention is not enough. The purpose of an emotion is to elicit you to act to change the circumstances that caused the emotion in the present, in order to stop that type of situation from continually re-occurring in the future. This can only happen if you choose to act in some way.
Emotions are never an excuse for physical violence. There is an infinity of ways to express an emotion such as anger, that does not include physical violence and still respects another’s boundaries. It may be a verbal expression that is called for, a difficult decision you feel you should make, or even an energetic statement through body language that someone has crossed your own boundaries. These are all simple and respectful ways to acknowledge your own anger, an emotion many of us are scared of and reluctant to express.
If you develop a habit of listening to, understanding, and acting upon your emotions as soon as they communicate with you, this will bring you a greater sense of internal peace, because eventually you will develop an understanding that you do have an impact upon the situations that you find yourself in and the ways that people respond to you. If you hold a genuine, internal respect of yourself and how you feel, this respect will eventually be reflected back to you by other people.
Paradoxically, perhaps, if you can learn to connect with and act upon your emotions when you first feel them, you will certainly appear externally to be less emotional than other people. People may even come to you and ask you to help them learn how to become less emotional.
Louise Smith is a Scottish native with an MA and background in psychology. She has trained for eight years in an Appalachian tradition of energy work and has 15 years’ experience working with clients in a wide variety of settings. Louise provides intuitive consultations, teaches self-healing techniques and assists people in expanding their own intuitive abilities. www.expandingintuition.com