ADVICE/SPIRITUALITY

Emotions Demand To Be Felt

At a young age we are taught emotional repression. When we discipline our children and they are hurt, we immediately tell them to suck it up and threaten them with more pain if they don’t comply. As we mature into adolescence, our emotions are then defined into gender roles. Men are limited in the numbers of emotion that they can express or feel, while women are characterized as being overly emotional.

It’s no wonder we are so guarded when it comes to expressing how we feel. Some of us are so repressed that we lie to ourselves about having emotions or are only able to express secondary emotions like anger to hide our true feelings. This can result in us mentally abusing ourselves because our natural emotions are not willing to comply with artificial constraints imposed on them by society.

Beating ourselves up over feeling emotions is like beating ourselves up for breathing, an essential process for sustaining our lives. Emotions are no different. They are chemical processes that occur in our body, similar to sight or any other sense that we have. It is up to the viewer to interpret what he or she sees. This also applies to emotions in that it is up to the feeler to interpret what he or she feels.

These interpretations are influenced by our beliefs and the cultures we grew up in. Take into account that it is you who assign thoughts to your feelings. This is important, because it reminds us that it is not the event, person, or place that is the cause of our emotions. Each individual is responsible for how they feel.

Here’s an example. A man invites a woman to dinner. The woman believes that man really likes her and feels happy. After the dinner she gives the man a kiss. Another man invites a different woman to dinner. This woman believes that man has ulterior motives and feels suspicious. After her dinner she demands to be dropped off at home immediately. In both of these examples, it is not the man or the dinner that causes the women feelings. It is the women’s belief about the event that causes their emotions and determines their reaction.

We tend to blame others for our emotional response by saying “he made me angry” or “she made me mad.” This is another way of not dealing with our true feelings. By halting these processes we only delay the inevitable. Feelings gain intensity over time and manifest themselves in other areas (such as physically, financially, familial, academically, etc.) in order to complete their course.

Repression of emotions can eventually lead to neurosis. This is evident in ones need to escape emotions through drugs or other methods to repress feelings.

Today it is becoming more acceptable to seek psychological services to deal with issues deeply imbedded in past experiences, as well as dealing with current issues that we aren’t clear on how to address. These services and other forms of emotional training are something we could all benefit from.

It’s good to consider that you don’t owe anyone an explanation about how you feel. Simply admit to yourself how you are feeling. Go someplace private and comfortable if need be while experiencing your mood, and monitor your thought process. Watch for self defeating thoughts or lies that you may tell yourself. This adds energy to the emotions, sustaining them longer. Remember, thoughts initiate emotions and vice versa.

Lastly, remember emotions only demand to be felt. Be mindful of your thoughts while experiencing your moods. We don’t have to assign a belief to them. Try to simply experience the feeling and let it continue on its course without assigning a belief to it or making something else responsible for it.

The next time you find yourself justifying, self defeating, punishing, or suppressing your feelings, keep in mind that you have nothing to fear and the feeling will pass. You will survive! Be lenient with yourself. After all, we are emotional creatures.

Roderick Watkins is a Certified Hypnotherapist and doctoral student in Metaphysics. His mission is to aid you in finding resolutions for conflicted parts of your being using spiritual resources to guide you on the path towards a unified self. His blog “Soular Powered” is exclusive to Urban Thought Collective.


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Comments

June 8th, 2008 at 2:03 am Binta Rohan says:

Good advice

June 8th, 2008 at 2:08 am Tawnie says:

When You say you don’t owe anybody any explanations about how you feel that hist me hard because I’ve learned that that is a big big issue for me.

June 8th, 2008 at 2:09 am Tawnie says:

Clicked too fast. Anyways I think the suggestion to monitor of thoughts while in a bad mood is profound. This is something that I have a problem with so I am taking this to heart

June 8th, 2008 at 2:54 am culturepop says:

Men don’t cry. That Little nuggest messed up men foeever

June 8th, 2008 at 2:56 am buttabrown says:

Had to print this one out

June 8th, 2008 at 3:02 am doumind says:

Its hard to imagine trying to exist outside of what we have been taught from birth. How do you do it? You seem to have a strong grasp of things. Admirable.

June 8th, 2008 at 3:51 am ReNina Minter says:

Love this. I was just talking to a young cousin about feelings just needing to be expressed. It is really that simple. The world would be a better place if people stopped repressing their feelings. Speak the truth!

June 8th, 2008 at 5:23 am Roderick Watkins says:

Doumind. I actually do the opposite. I don’t know if it possible to exist outside of being, but we can test the boundaries that define us. It’s like being in a dark room and feeling for the walls, eventually you start to put together a mental picture of the room. I do this by challenging or questioning my beliefs.

June 8th, 2008 at 8:29 am Ed80 says:

“Be mindful of your thoughts while experiencing your moods.”

June 8th, 2008 at 8:30 am Ed80 says:

How on earth do you do that?

June 8th, 2008 at 9:37 am CeaseNYC says:

Somebody told me a long time ago to be kind to myself. I figured they heard it on Oprah or something ands aw it as an excuse to be lax. But as I get older I see its really the only way to survive for demanding people. Otherwise you go kinda crazy.

June 8th, 2008 at 11:59 am heatmizer says:

Wow they should teach this kind of thing on the high school level so we are armed with more than history and math to help us navigate this world

June 8th, 2008 at 12:06 pm higherlove says:

always challenge the status quo. i have personally learned that happiness can be heartless. no matter what society dictates, we got to be able to begin and end our days happy ON OUR OWN TERMS.

June 8th, 2008 at 1:26 pm Coretta Scott Queen says:

educational as always, roderick.

June 8th, 2008 at 1:43 pm Farah Ross says:

Very interesting idea you have.

June 8th, 2008 at 2:48 pm young clean bastard says:

deeper than atlantis

June 8th, 2008 at 8:46 pm Roderick Watkins says:

Ed80 One way is by journaling. Write down your beliefs or things you may say to yourself while experiencing an emotions.

June 8th, 2008 at 11:54 pm dollsdaughter says:

UTC coming with it today! Rev Smith and now this. This is very good for me to have read to start what I already know will be a trying week. Thank you Brother Watkins!

June 9th, 2008 at 11:14 am Maya Rainwright says:

Good information!

June 9th, 2008 at 11:49 am Stephanie says:

You are so right we do need to speak out emotions. I hate it when people tell me I am being too emotional. I don’t think that is possible.

June 9th, 2008 at 1:01 pm pmatters says:

This is the truth.

June 9th, 2008 at 1:25 pm Elsa Harkins says:

As Black People We Are Taught Not To Delve Into This Kind of Stuff - Especially Black Men - To Keep Emotions Bottled Up - It Was Honestly For Survival Many Times - But It Is Time For Us To Explore Our Inner SElves and Feel Like Roderick Says.

June 9th, 2008 at 8:48 pm precious says:

You make me think and i like that.

June 9th, 2008 at 9:58 pm Destah Owens says:

good stuff, Rod. I’m hard headed, but I hope I will try some of your suggested exercises. I am envisioning encouraging my children in these enlightening ways though, in hopes that they will be better communicators than I am.

June 9th, 2008 at 10:07 pm Ellene Miles says:

Communication is such vast concept to grasp sometimes. Even communication with ourselves. Its a journey. I always appreciate the tips that lead us on a path of happiness and enlightenment.