What your emotions are trying to tell you
7 min read
Have you ever felt taken hostage by negative emotions, unable to control or rationalize them? You know you don’t want to feel angry, sad, jealous, etc., but the feeling keeps coming back?
Our emotions can be triggered by anything - relationships, distressing events, life changes. Once they emerge, negative emotions hog the spotlight and cloud our vision. We lose our ability to see the “birds eye view” and tend to focus only on the parts of the situation that reinforce those negative feelings.
During an argument with your significant other, for example, you focus only on what’s making you angry, unable to contemplate their point of view, just waiting for him/her to say something to make you even angrier.
These emotions suck, so we try to stuff them, but the bastards are relentless. If they remain unaddressed, they emerge again - a pattern that seems almost impossible to break.
There is a way out, but the only way out is through.
We’re being triggered for a reason and our emotions are a direct pathway from the external world to our inner selves. They’re like nerves connected to our core. They’re meant to be felt and understood - they’re trying to alert us of something that we need to heal.
At our core, we harbour deep seated fears and insecurities. They may stem back to childhood or may have developed later in life. As a defense, our ego builds walls to protect these vulnerabilities to the point that we may not even be aware of them anymore.
With emotions as our beacons, we can learn more about our deep seated fears and insecurities and begin to heal them.
This seems daunting, but the process can be broken down:
1) The first step is recognizing that you are not your emotions.
You are not angry. You are feeling angry. You are not sad. You are feeling sad. This is a big distinction because it strips the anger (or other emotion) of its power to take over. You remain in control and able to steal the spotlight back. You become the passive observer of the emotion, rather than an active participant.
2) Since you are not the emotion, you can detach from the emotion.
As it’s experienced as something separate from yourself, you can lean away from the feeling, observe it and question it. From that space, begin to ask yourself:
Why is this triggering me? What is causing this emotion? What am I afraid of in this situation? What do I want to happen to feel better? What am I trying to protect myself from?
Continue to question yourself and answer these questions as honestly as you can.
4) Replace any fears or insecurities with positive affirmations.
As you uncover any fears and insecurities that exist, you might look back on the situation, such as the fight with your significant other, and realize that it wasn’t really about the surface issue, but it was something deeper.
Every fear, insecurity or negative emotion has a positive counterpart - yin and yang. Find it and focus on that, affirming that to yourself on a regular basis.
Regardless of the emotion, we can detach from it, become aware of the core issue and choose to heal it, thus breaking the pattern. Just remember, no matter what’s happening on the outside, you have control on the inside.