Who Owns Emotions?
We all seem to believe that emotions are “ours.” Indeed, when we talk about them, we refer to them as “my emotions,” or “my anger.” In fact, emotions are not “ours.” Just as we have learned that children are with us, yet do not belong to us, so emotions are an intensely intimate part of us, yet don’t really belong to us.
Emotions are energy.
The emotion of each emotion (the emotional category, such as “anger,” but not each individual time you experience anger) has a slightly different “signature,” based on its messenger job. Intuitively, we know that we’re receiving a different signal from the emotions we experience. You and I can tell the difference between the categories “love,” “frustration,” and “jealousy.” Not only do they feel different to us, but they bring us a different message. To become emotionally masterful, it’s important to know and work with that message, discussed in more detail in our next blog post.
“The Word” has power. Whether it is the spoken or the written word, the words we write and speak have power in the world. That means that when we speak or write about “my emotions,” that phrase has power. Whenever we refer to something as “my emotion,” or “my love,” or “my anger,” we bind it to us. This makes it harder to turn it loose and allow it to move on.
We need emotions to move on, so we have room for more and different emotions to arise in us, in order for us to continue learning and growing.
Start today to develop the habit of speaking of “the emotions I feel,” or “the emotions that have come up in me,” or “the emotions that arise.” When you do this, it serves as a reminder to you that emotions do not belong to you. They are helpers, messengers, and tools; but they don’t belong to us. Speaking in this way reminds us that our ultimate aim is to find emotions, feel them, hear their message, and then let them go.
For more about Emotional Mastery, I invite you to visit my website, where you can also read about my soon-to-be-published book that lays out how you can become an Emotional Master, Emotions in Motion.
The other potential negative effect of continuing to hold onto the emotions that arise in us is that emotions held inside tend to grow.
Following a very challenging childhood, I was filled with anger. I was unaware of this, yet many people commented on how harshly I spoke or how angry I must be when I made “jokes.” I did not know what they were talking about. I didn’t believe I was an angry person. When (age 29) I finally came to the point of recognizing the anger in me, and allowing it to come out, it took me nearly two years for all of it to escape! That anger had grown into hurricane force, was frightening to me, and left me with very little ability to direct or contain it. No wonder I didn’t want to acknowledge its presence!
To keep anything like this from occurring in your life, “Let it go, let it go, let it go”—as immediately to the emotion-stimulating experience as you can! Teach this to your children and grandchildren, too. And with one more reminder: get emotions out of you, but not onto someone else!
While emotions don’t belong to us, they are intimate friends!
Emotions, after all, work continuously and tirelessly, for our entire lives, in every situation we get ourselves into, behaving as “best friends” who stay eager to show us the way to make things work in the best ways possible! Just as with any “bestie,” you’ll find yourself hanging out with those emotions, consulting them, enjoying them, and taking a break from them. In your life, give yourself permission to “hang” with emotions so you can get to know them, test them to find out what they can do for you, and discover their true nature.
Just as with any great friend, we also want to listen to them, which we discuss in our next post on April 14th!
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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.