Some say emotions get in the way… We say emotions are the way. —Lazaris, Concept Synergy
Become the Master of Your Emotions Part 1: Our Emotional Landscape
Our emotional life develops in the first seven years of life. Whatever happens in those years sets the “emotional landscape” that stays in effect for the rest of your life… unless you make changes. Most adults just keep living their early life emotional experiences over and over again. If you felt rejected, or angry with your parents, you’ll have experiences of rejection and anger with parent-types (bosses, teachers) as an adult. If you felt cherished and loved, as an adult, you’ll repeatedly draw people who cherish and love you.
Have you wondered why you keep repeating painful relationship and emotional experiences in your adult life? It’s because these were the experiences of your childhood. They are repeated because your emotions are working hard to deliver messages to you. Each time they repeat, they are accompanied by a harsher consequence, part of a dogged attempt to get you to pay attention and learn. Let me tell you how this works.
Our world is a “Giant School” (or a “Giant Classroom”). Every person born on this earth is a student in this school. We all come here to experience, experiment, grow and evolve. Our experiences present us with our “lessons.” Whatever we experience is our opportunity to learn and grow.
Once we experience an emotion, it sets about doing its work of “reminding” us to learn our “lesson(s),” no matter how long ago a similar experience occurred. If we felt rejected by a divorcing parent when we were five, we may forget the pain of that rejection. But when we are rejected at age 45 by our relationship partner, the painful rejection feeling returns. It’s as if we’re five again, our pain just as debilitating.
The emotional pain of rejection returns, again and again, asking us to pay attention and learn the lesson.
When we dodge the emotion and don’t complete the lesson, it returns; the same lesson, with a different cast of characters. We are repeating our “personalized” painful learning experiences, started in childhood, aimed at helping us to learn and grow. Unless we change, this continues for our lifetime.
The good news is the minute we learn the lesson being presented to us, we are free to move on. Repetition ends. We can focus on other things!
My life was filled with lessons from my earliest days. It was during World War II, and my father landed in New Guinea on the day I was born. My birth mother severely neglected me and my older sister. Sick with whooping cough at age 3 months, I was left with a babysitter “for a few hours” that turned into 3 days! Had my babysitter not taken me to the doctor, I would have died. At age 2, my father removed me from my birth mother and divorced her.
The many emotionally painful experiences in my childhood left me fearful, angry, ashamed, hurt, with low self-esteem and intimidated. The rejection I experienced kept repeating. For example, as a college freshman, my parents suddenly stopped paying my college tuition. Later, my husband left me (and our infant daughter), saying he “wasn’t ready to be a father,” even though we consciously conceived her together. My parents also moved and refused to tell me their new address.
I lived in constant fear of rejection. Then one day, I realized my whole life was about “rejection!” Each day, I was either:
a) experiencing rejection
b) getting over a rejection experience,
c) getting ready to be rejected!
I finally decided to look at and learn the lessons of rejection.
Know what I found out? I never was rejected in the first place!
Those people (including my birth mother) who seemed to be rejecting me were not even thinking about me. They were thinking about themselves. “Rejection” means a level of acting consciously—of pushing another person away. That actually never happened to me. Those who had “rejected” me were really only being self-centered. I was ignored, but not rejected.
For over 35 years, I had been repeating emotional pain that had never really occurred. Understandably, I interpreted my experience as “rejection;” but rejection had never occurred. Through Facing Fact, I had identified and learned my lesson: that I could just let go of the emotional pain that I created in my own brain. I was now free to move beyond this repeating pain.
Whether real or self-created, when we stop resisting feeling or experiencing a particular emotion, and step in to feel, look at and examine it, we can let it go. What will life be for you when your emotional pains are completed and released? I invite you to book your Free 30-minute phone consultation with me now. I want emotional mastery for you… so you can set yourself free from repeating emotional pain.
In next week’s article, we’ll talk about the “Management” versus “Mastery” issue with emotions.
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Ilene Dillon, MSW, has dedicated her life to helping people resolve personal challenges once and for all, then design life to be what they want it to be. A Transformation Specialist, she has worked 50 years as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a coach. She is a global speaker, Amazon International Best-selling author (The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, Volumes 1 and 2), podcast guest, and plans to give her first TEDx speech (on Anger) later this year. Ilene is also the author of Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System and End Manipulation: Stop Being Jerked Around by Toxic, Energy-draining People. With her little dog, Pi, Ilene lives and travels full-time throughout North America in her RV, writing, teaching, and speaking along the way.