Emotions are interesting things. Their broad spectrum can take us to elevated heights of bliss, the darkest corners of despair and distress, to blinding bubbling rage. They can creep up on us and unpack themselves, without invitation, at times when we least expect them. We all have them, we all experience them. Frankly we would be barren without them. Some of us understand them, but to a varying degree, many of us find them difficult to articulate and seek refuge at the mere thought of communicating them openly – even to an audience of those we love.
…our expression of emotions is moulded in a way that is metered and controlled to meet social expectations and those of our carers…
When we are little we approach life openly, experiencing and expressing a full range of emotions in reaction to each moment that presents itself. Then, with feedback from our carers, our expression of emotions is moulded in a way that is metered and controlled to meet social expectations and those of our carers, based on their own beliefs and attitudes around the way expression should occur. This shaping is not something we need place any judgement on, but rather it is more constructive for us if we can observe it with a knowing that our carers did the best they could in-line with where they were in their own experiences at the time, and that we need not choose to be a product of it moving forward into our future.
…given that we are all unique, that we all hold different narratives and beliefs based on our experiences and the meanings that we have attached to them, what induces an emotional reaction in one person can be very different to what might be raised in another.
Our emotional reactions can at times be common in their nature in that any one of us might find ourselves experiencing the same kind of emotional response if placed in a similar situation; such as birth, death, undergoing an exam or eating something delicious. However, given that we are all unique, that we all hold different narratives and beliefs based on our experiences and the meanings that we have attached to them, what induces an emotional reaction in one person can be very different to what might be raised in another. And because of the different viewpoints and beliefs we hold, we can often find ourselves judging another’s emotional response to a situation and in the same way, we can find ourselves being judged. I know for myself, many times, within relationships across my life, I have been considered to be ‘too sensitive’. I have heard my children and many others labelled the same, and at times, I have been guilty of the same projection on to others.
Collection of feelings and the stories that accompany them, real or not, can become the beginning of all conflict because we communicate from a position of defence rather than openness.
If I cast my mind back over the conflicts that have occurred across my life as a result of incompatible expression of emotions – wow! Some of them have been huge; have resulted in deep fractures within relationships and even severance. These breakdowns and being able to observe my children in their expression of emotions, within their relationships, have given me yet another opportunity for self-inquiry which has led to greater insight into my own expression and the way in which I accommodate others in theirs. Collection of feelings and the stories that accompany them, real or not, can become the beginning of all conflict because we communicate from a position of defence rather than openness. It can be very difficult to express and equally to receive expressions of emotions, especially if it is in response to something we may have done. Similarly people’s emotional responses to situations may not match our own and therefore trigger a judgemental response. But if we can listen and give each other a safe platform to express and release from in that moment, we minimise the room for inner dialogue which can place us in different realties in that instant, and embed limiting beliefs that can manifest and show up at different times, deepening any future conflict in similar situations. Expression of feelings is of course not an opening for abuse, as expression should be undertaken in a way that is not insulting or personally attacking of another. If the exchange is done safely, the collection and storing of our feelings no longer separates us from the relationships we have with ourselves and others and provides all parties the opportunity to release any attachment to the expression conveyed in the moment. This also imparts to us the opportunity for self-inquiry and acts to strengthen relationships.
…it is the little steps we take towards surrendering our ego in these moments that bring us closer to salvaging and bettering the relationships…
Of course this may seem so logical and simple in theory. But as we all know in the moment when we are awash with emotions and ego, this concept can be very difficult to digest let alone action. But it is the little steps we take towards surrendering our ego in these moments that bring us closer to salvaging and bettering the relationships with ourselves, our loved ones and even those that we are not close to but need to maintain. We may not succeed straight away and we may retreat back to our old ways if we feel too vulnerable in these moments. But during these times, if we can ask ourselves what is true, why we are really reacting the way we are and how things might be without the reaction, we can begin to release the hold our ego has and come together in a way that allows us to express and receive emotions in a safer space. It is always better to have tried than to never have tried at all.
From my heart to yours