“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery…we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.” ~the 14th Dalai Lama
Beyond the five physical senses that you are actually aware of, there is another less-realized sense – the sense of emotion. Just as with your five other senses, that sixth sense, which was active within you on the day you were born, requires no training for you to understand that it exists.
Last month I shared thoughts about “Holding On or Letting Go.” I wrote being all for holding on to possessions we value and that there is comfort in being aligned with people and beliefs that strengthen us. Conversely, we are also aware of what happens when we hold on to things that adversely affect our lives.
Several readers emailed with similar questions, the essence being: What about our feelings and emotions; should I let go of them?
The answer, I believe, is an encouraging no. Why? Because understanding your emotions is to recognize them as the amazing feedback system that they are. Contrary to what most of us have been taught, emotions are not to be gotten rid of or changed. They exist to help clarify awareness and feelings, allowing discovery of what is true for you at any given moment.
Your emotions are guiding you. They are a request that says Pay Attention. They are not to be feared or ignored, rather, they indicate what is limiting you in feeling good about yourself.
I think it’s safe to say, everyone wants to be in control of their emotions. Yet some of us have been taught that the show of emotions is a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our feelings are our guidance system. How and what we are feeling is our response or reaction to someone or something in our immediate surroundings. We need our emotions to guide us, to inform us whether we are on track to feeling good or not feeling good about ourselves.
So, what is an emotion? An emotion is an energy in our bodies in response to an internal or external event. We feel emotions in various parts of our bodies. For example, fear can be felt in the stomach. With anger, there is often a rush of heat through the body or tension in the muscles. And since energy cannot be destroyed but can only be converted, attempts to get rid of uncomfortable emotions are destined to fail.
Emotions also give us warnings that something is wrong and they give us energy to take appropriate action. It is when we are unable, or are not allowed, to take action that the emotions become suppressed and remain in our bodies as negative energy which then gives us trouble.
Understanding your emotions is a gradual process. Eventually, you will discover that you will either feel a positive flow of emotional energy (a positive response to the choice you’re contemplating) or a negative one (a negative response…). Therein, though, rests your answer about what to do. Your emotional feedback system never lies to you. It always has your best interests at heart. Understanding this creates emotional wellbeing.
Part II will take you through an emotional GPS-like exercise, share some tips on how to consciously experience your emotions and highlight unexpected gifts that we receive via emotional release. Stay tuned…