It’s always our emotions.
We are Stuck
The answer to most of our problems can be traced back to our emotions. Overweight (due to emotional eating)? It’s your emotions. Can’t seem to get your life going? It’s your emotions. Having trouble with your spouse, kids, drinking problem, money or discipline? Yeah, same answer.
It’s almost always emotions but we don’t know that so instead we look for ways to improve our life that involve anything and everything besides our feelings. The most common ones now are:
– Detoxifying our bodies
– Breathing exercises
– Seminars and mini courses
– Herbal supplements and super foods
– Sound, light, touch or energy therapy
– Syncing oneself with the vibes of plants (it’s a real thing)
And that’s a small list. Now all of the above have benefits or at worst do nothing so there isn’t anything wrong with engaging in these practices if you enjoy them or get some benefit out of them.
There is a problem though if you are trying to solve an issue that is rooted in emotions and going about that by focusing on therapies that don’t address emotions, or don’t address them properly.
How we usually Deal with Negative Emotions
Our negative emotions are anxiety and repressed anger. Those 2 cause all the trouble and so when we decide to give up going to a holistic retreat and finally turn our attention inwards on our emotions, we get in touch with them.
And it’s not fun. They feel extremely uncomfortable and cause tension, sleepless nights, body pains and poor decisions.
Most of our life we dealt with that by using our various coping mechanisms like overworking, TV, internet, eating, shopping, keeping busy etc., and we all know how effective they are. After awhile they simply increase the number of problems we have and make things worse.
But when we do face them the first thing we want to do is get rid of them which is completely understandable. You’ve heard people talk about releasing stuck or trapped emotions which supposedly free us from their grip.
The theory is that we have trapped emotions from early trauma stuck in our bodies and so by using various techniques to release them we can finally be free of them. Many people report feeling a bit lighter afterwards and I do think that this type of therapy has some merit.
What it does is get the individual to become more in touch with their emotions and so doing just that results in a feeling of release and ease. But it doesn’t last long. So it’s a good first step but then what?
Managing Negative Emotions
The way forward is to manage the emotions and not release, overcome or wish them away. To manage them is something that most people don’t really want to do because it means that for the next 5 years they’ll have to take on the Herculean project that is their anxiety.
They’ll have to shift the focus of their life somewhat so that they prioritize their emotional work and start walking a different path. That path is a long, grind of an effort and uncomfortable most of the way.
No kidding we don’t want to do that. Who would choose that? Usually it’s people who are in enough pain. When your emotional issues become such a problem and you can’t take it anymore that’s when you end up accepting almost any path no matter how hard. Because it’s better than how you are living now.
So to manage them means to get in touch with them and acknowledge their existence. To know that they have you pinned, that you can’t do much about them in the moment and that they aren’t going anywhere and it sucks.
It means that you have a task in front of you and that it involves tolerating their discomfort and learning to tame them.
It’s like opening the door to your pushy in-laws who wreak havoc in your house every time they come by and actually asking them to stay over. Accepting that they are going to make your life difficult. I hear you on this believe me.
Once you accept that, you can then deal with them.
HOW TO MANAGE THEM
When your in-laws come over you can do one of 2 things to “deal” with them. The first is to avoid them as much as possible and wait until they leave. A tactic that most of us use as we don’t want any trouble or conflict and so we’ll just wait until the situation goes away, feeling resentment all the while.
The problem with that tactic is that sometimes they take forever to leave and once they do you know they’ll be back. Now you might think that the in-laws are like the rock that is pinning the man down in the main image of this article (very top).
In fact it’s not them, it’s your emotions that are pinning you. Sure your in-laws are difficult and annoying but what’s really oppressing you is your inability to deal with the feelings that come up for you when you have to “deal” with your in-laws.
Which brings us to the second thing you can do to deal with them and that is to confront them in the most productive way possible.
– “I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t do that.”
– “I’m sorry I need some time to myself for a little while.”
– “I understand you’re not happy but that’s how we do things here.”
– “These are the boundaries of what can be done in my house.”
– “We’re ready to call it a day so we’re going to have to say goodbye.”
I know what you’re thinking. That I don’t understand how things are in your family. That it would cause a rift, a massive fight with your spouse and things wouldn’t be the same. And to that I say, “Yeah, perhaps those things might happen.”
It’s why people usually choose (unconsciously) to not deal with difficult emotions or situations. So they shut themselves down instead and “take the pain” instead of setting proper boundaries.
Taking the pain is usually less stressful which is why we do it. It’s only after a certain amount of time (5, 10, 20 years) has gone by that we can’t take it anymore and either blow up at the problem or keep it all in and become depressed.
Those are the choices and I can say with certainty that keeping it all inside is not the best one.
HOW TO MANAGE THEM 2
The way to manage our anxiety and repressed frustration is to confront them, to welcome them and to become more and more familiar with them. The goal is that after years of doing this, that you and your negative emotions will be old pals and they won’t have nearly the effect they had on you because you know how to handle them now.
A good start is to go to therapy, journal, read, join a free online group (highly recommended) and just talk to people you are close to more openly and honestly.
These and other techniques are used to help you introspect, they are mirrors which reflect yourself back to you so you can see what you’re doing and feeling more clearly.
When you are anxious you need to ask yourself what you are not facing. When you are angry, sad or depressed you need to ask yourself what you need or want and are not doing for yourself.
Some examples of dealing with your anxiety and anger:
– Confronting your boss when he/she is verbally abusive or even if they are just in a bad mood.
You can be anxious in this situation as confrontation is stressful and you are afraid of what might happen. Will you lose your job, will things get out of hand, will your co-workers hate you etc.,?
You can also be angry in this situation as you may be tired of their treatment toward you, or perhaps you have something to say that you know they don’t want to hear but it’s important you say it anyway.
Or you can be both angry and anxious.
The same issue will have different people experiencing various degrees of the emotions.
If for the longest time you did nothing about the situation at work you may have suffered from migraines (anger) for a long while without knowing why, or had an eating problem (anxiety,) or both, or suffered multiple issues.
– Saying “no” to people’s invitations or demands of you.
Again you can be both anxious and angry. What will happen if I say no (anxious)? Will they stop inviting me to future gatherings or parties? Will they like me less, stop being my friend or even hate me?
Why do they always put me on the spot (anger)? Why can’t they see that I should be able to make my own decisions and not react negatively towards me. They’re not being fair. I should be able to say no without repercussion.
– Seeing negative things about yourself. Perhaps you’ve been hurtful to others or have wasted most of your life up until now and are just becoming aware of it.
Your anger may tell you that you’re not happy with how life treated you or that you need to get a move on and start living how you want to live. Your anxiety will be telling you that if you “see” your shadow self that you might have to say sorry and people may think you are a bad person.
The process goes on and is never ending. Most of the time we don’t know why we are sad, depressed or anxious. We usually think it’s because of something we see on the news, some government we don’t like or because of our spouse or in-laws.
We don’t know because we’ve tuned out of our emotions for a long time and it has become habit. Then we project them onto other people and circumstances and are convinced it is because of them out there, not because of our old pals in here.
What you are in essence doing is building a relationship with yourself and when you do that you come to find that your negative emotions were never negative. They more like friends.
They’ve been trying to get your attention for years to tell you that you need to look at them and manage them so that you can get your reward …
… the feeling that you can handle anything in your life, and that you can live it however you want while feeling grounded and excited for what’s ahead.
It’s not just a good path to take, it’s the only path.
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