The Secret to Healing Our Emotions
Have you ever felt like you were going to faint or have a heart attack over a breakup, failed project, or embarrassing memory from the past? A feeling that is so uncomfortable that it is going to suck the life right out of you and literally put you in an early grave?
Well, I have some good news: it won’t!
Some emotions may bring you to your knees and make you feel like the simple act of living is not worth it. You may wish you were never born. You may feel there is no point to any of this. Like Livia Soprano put it: It’s all a big nothing!
Do you relate? I am quite sure you do, because you are alive. Emotions are the business of we the living. As long as your heart beats, you are going to have to deal with them.
Whether we like it or not, emotions form the very foundation of our being. Unless you were born without a limbic system—there is absolutely no way anyone of us can get around them.
Remember your most difficult breakup? The one where you felt life was over and the world would stop spinning? Where even though you couldn’t sleep you didn’t want to get out of bed? And even when you finally managed to, you shuffled around like a love-sick zombie who struggled to put one foot in front of the other?
Yet, here are you are. You managed to make it through the day, the months, the years by moving forward and putting one foot in front of the other. Even though you wished the world would stop spinning and that you could just sleep forever or, better yet, disappear.
You continued to move, you persisted despite all the embarrassment, dread, and fantasies of slashing tires (amongst other things!)
Avoiding, Blaming and Self-Medicating Unpleasant Emotions
I believe there are reasons that we try to deflect, distract from, self-medicate, suppress, and avoid our emotions. Now would be a good time to que up that emotional “feelings” song; the one that you imagine you wrote and will one day sing in front for whoever has done you wrong! “Everybody Hurts,” “Someone Like You,” “Skinny Love,” “Say Something”
You know what I am talking about! Everyone has one of those songs. Let’s face it, unpleasant emotions are not fun.
So often we view our emotions as enemies and do what we can to rid ourselves of them. We judge them in the hopes that doing so will deny them power, as if we can shame them into oblivion.
When that doesn’t work, we treat them like roaches and do our best to exterminate them. Only instead of insecticide, we use self-medication tactics to poison them—food, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, anything—but only end up poisoning ourselves in the process and having to pay the high price of our addictions and self-defeating behavior.
We often blame others. If only the people we know—our family and friends—would have done something different, we wouldn’t feel this way. It is everyone else’s fault but our own. Yet, they are our emotions and we should have power over them.
We obsess over our emotions and make our minds tumble with every manner of mental gymnastics—from the goofy to the bizarre to the downright pathetic—and we just can’t find a way to beat them.
Our wheels spin and spin only to bring us back to where we started, which is nowhere! We cannot outwit our emotions, we cannot debate them and convince them to leave us alone.
Nothing we do seems to alleviate the pain or provides us with the freedom from emotion we so often fantasize about. All we have are those temporary distractions that never do the trick.
The Secret to Emotions
Emotions are part of who we are and they are inescapable. Since they are indeed inescapable, maybe we should become friends with them.
So, what is the antidote? How do we solve our emotional conundrum?
Here is a thought: we make nice with them and allow ourselves to be friends with our emotions. We no longer slam the door in their face. In fact, we give them a spare key and their very own drawer and tell them they are always welcome. We make them tea and we comfort them until we feel relief.
We express them!!
And when we do, we find that they change, they transform, they move on.
And so do we.