I think its great. We live in a day and age in which we are continously and consciously expanding and realising that we are more than just a physical body. Thanks to books, media and the WWW we have access to almost everything that educates, inspires and changes the way we used to think life is. It is indeed a festival and movement of the Body Mind Spirit, but hey, who forgot to invite the Emotions? Are they not an equally important part of ourselves as holistic beings? I might just have some issues with the definition. All I can say is that my life transformed once I allowed myself to heal my emotions, and I want to give you an idea why.
What are emotions?
Emotions are definitely not what you think, because they are not thoughts. Those come from the head, whereas you experience emotions on a gut level. They are what you subjectively feel, and this can be experienced physically, too. They are often the reaction to a specific event, hence they are expressive in nature. Emotions are also energy in motion that is circulating through our body and beyond. Dr.Candace Pert describes emotions as electrochemical signals that affect the chemistry and the electricity of every cell in the body. The entire state of the body is modulated by emotions, and as emotions can change everything inside the body, so they can do on the outside, too.
From science to philosophy, there are many different debates about what emotions are. For the purpose of understanding emotions holistically, let´s stick to the idea (or truth for me) that emotions are linking the mind and the body. What you thinks affects how you are feeling, what you are feeling affects your thoughts and everything is experienced and reflected through the body.
Emotions are coming from within you. Hoped you could blame someone else for making you feel certain ways? I´d wish that sometimes, too. Unfortunately, outside events are only triggers that can bring up emotions – sometimes those we have never experienced before or those we are familiar and comfortable with, but every now and so often all this deep seated shit that we have been trying to ignore. And here we go: The suppression of emotions and the fear of feeling our feelings are the reasons why we need to heal our emotions.
Free the flow
So emotions and their causes are within us. Emotion as an energy in motion needs to flow freely, and whenever this is not the case, it gets stuck. This applies to both what we may want to label positive and negative emotions. If you experience feelings of joy and cannot express them, they become as blocked as your suppressed anger that you have been carrying with you for years – just as an example. We all avoid emotions to a certain extent, because its pretty natural that we don´t want to feel shitty. Emotions are powerful indeed; they guard us and signal us when we are being threatened and are likely to experience any discomfort. The problem in our very human life is that we tend to hold on emotions, avoiding them, and leaving them either unexpressed or letting them go in sometimes detrimental ways for ourselves and the people we are interacting with. Have you ever experienced a mere outburst of emotions, that just felt uncontrollable? You might get what I am talking about.
During an ordinary day, you are experiencing a range of different emotions. Sometimes they are fluctuating, often they do not affect your general feeling and every now and then you´d wish they weren’t there. And here comes the thing with emotions: they just don´t go away. There is no way out in stuffing them away, because they will just pop up again, sooner or later in many different ways. They are like little kids tugging on you arm, crying for attention. And sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of attention and validation. Simple acknowledgement can be expression enough for an emotion to heal.
The emotional part of you
Talking about kids, a groundbreaking way to attending to your emotions and especially healing those underlying wounds is Inner Child healing. John Bradshaw refers to the Inner Child as the sum of all mental-emotional menories that are stored in the subconscious. Hence, it is the emotional part of us. You might remember the subconscious and its function as a storage container for all memories and the emotions related to them. This already starts from the moment of conception to pre-puberty. So it is the deep core material of all unexpressed emotions that can give us a pretty hard time, as it often is the hardest to shift. Looking at the early brain development, the visceral part of the brain (or the reptilian brain) that develops first relies pretty much on repition as a survival mechanism. The earlier we learned to inhibit certain expressions, you can assume a lasting impact. Moreover, the thinking part of the brain only develops fully by the age of 7, so before that we have been all pretty much like sponges who are soaking up what the environment presents to us, without the crucial discernment of what might be right for us or not. For understanding your emotions, it is really worth stepping back into your early childhood years. Also Eric Berne´s model of Transactional Analysis acknowledges the importance of the child within. In the ego state of the child, all emotions are stored that accompany external events. So we get a framework here for understanding this transaction between our feelings and thinking processes and its influence on our life, including our relationships.
Heal your emotions, heal your life
Maybe you get an idea now why I cannot stop stressing the importance of healing emotions. Because it has been the breakthrough for me. The tool that helped me to tackle core beliefs and shift them. It has facilitated a second order change for me – this kind of change for me where you finally take off the band-aid and resolve whats deeply underlying in your subconscious. Understanding and making friends with my emotions has unlocked many doors in various ways for me. I can understand my reactions, or rather what triggers them.I can name my emotions and distinguish them from my thoughts. This enhances communication not only with myself, but also with the people who have to cope with me. Have you ever been in a situation with someone where you couldn´t express what you feel and all you can utter is rather verbal diarrhea than anything else? Naming your emotions and broadening your feeling vocabulary can be very helpful here! This resonates with what the five pillars of Emotional Intelligence are all about: Self-awareness, emotional management, motivation, empathy and handling relationships. I am adding validation for self and openness and readiness to healing to it.
Moreover, healing my emotions has been given me the answer of ‘how to’ change my perception and so stepping more in more into my abilities as a co-creator of my reality. I read The Secret. And a range of other books that are telling you can change your world. Well, you certainly can. I also read daily inspirational quotes and say Yes-Ja! So true. But I couldn´t help but wonder how all the amazeness and easiness of life can possibly be available to me…and everyone. And how to get there. Attending to my emotions and healing them has helped me to move through my very own blocks, an ongoing task that is truly revealing and rewarding. So you see that success in every aspect of your life has its foundation in emotion success. Last but not least, healing my emotions has opened for me the portal to loving myself. Possibly one of most challenging facets on our human journey.
John Bradshaw: Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child
Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence
Dr.Candace Pert: Molecules of Emotion: The Science behind Mind-Body Medicine