Emotions can be thought of as instinctive, like a “gut feeling”. They are the forces that express our taste and distaste towards life. It is hard to explain or measure what an emotion is, it is also meaningless to do so. I believe what makes a human being wonderous is the fact that we are imperfect and irrational. Our unpredictable nature makes living, a spontaneous expression of art. Living with the spontaneity and lack of clarity is where I believe we grow our virtues and character. These are things unique to mankind.
I have often seen people disregard their own emotions and believe that it is wrong to feel at all. I have often seen people who experience mood swings, and let their emotions demotivate them from where they want to be. It is clear that some choose to run from their emotions, deny they exist or get overwhelmed by them.
I am here to say your emotions are never wrong. Your body is never wrong. You should never invalidate what you feel. This is because you will be battling with yourself, and in a tough world that exists today you need to be on your own side at least.
You cannot face your emotions if you do not acknowledge, accept and validate them.
Mindfulness is a big courageous step towards being able to do just that. As you start to feel angry, or feel sad acknowledge that you are human. Feel the pain and then let it pass through you. If you feel like crying, give yourself the opportunity to do so. If you feel like releasing anger through shouting or screaming then do so. Own it. Observe it.
What this method has been called is the “touch and go” technique. Treat it like an observation exercise where you call out your emotions and you tell yourself “I accept that I feel this way” or “It is understandable I feel this way based on my current circumstances”.
And then after this… politely leave it be and let it go and carry on with your life. This last part is crucial! It is the difference between becoming sad and becoming depressed.
This exercise will take getting used to. It is fun to experiment with when facing fears. You can use it to build up your resilience to stress. For example, Before I did my presentation. I made the intention of walking to the board and pointing directly at my slides, and addressing the audience properly. I focused on expression, whilst carrying memorised speech in my head. I did this to root myself and to focus on delivery rather than dwelling on my fear of not delivering a good presentation. Although, it did not rid me of the nervs; I received good feedback from my peers. Which must mean, I didn’t mess up my presentation.
When I explore this at a deeper level, this technique enables you to act as your own parent towards your own emotions. Just being present towards those emotions means you care about yourself. This is essentially what self compassion and self love is about. This type of practice I would use a lot when I felt I need to recharge. Especially if I have had a tough week of challenges.
I really believe that through improving our relationship with our emotions, we can start to embody the balance of being gentle and also being strong and resilient.
I cannot promise you that this will be easy. I took years to be able to process all of the repressed negativity. Therefore I recommend that if you are in a state where it is becoming overwhelming, I suggest the following:
1) Confide in somebody close to you
2)Seek professional help
3)Cut off anyone that you consider to be affecting your self esteem (if necessary and only if confronting this person has not changed the issue)
4)Practise meditation and other alternatives- Breathing exercises, tai chi and yoga can all help you to release any tension in the body and mind.
5)Improve your ability to communicate to others what you are feeling and thinking.
Simply put you do not have to go through it all alone. Some of these suggestions will be covered in more detail in later blog posts.
But for now I recommend you research “emotional intelligence” as I will cover all of what it means and how it can benefit you.
Stay mindful, positive, and carry on folks.