How do you handle your emotions? Do you express every thought that comes into your head? Do you stuff your emotions deep down and deny that they are there? In between these two extremes is a wide range of emotional reactions, responses, and expressions.
A key to success is emotional mastery which doesn’t mean you don’t feel and express emotions, but it does mean that you don’t pour out your emotions at inappropriate times and inappropriate ways. So how we can we walk that fine line of feeling and expressing our emotions without over sharing or hurting the people around us?
For many of us, we choose to ignore emotions or deny that they exist in an attempt to gain control. This response often leads to illness, outbursts, and compulsive behavior. For many years, I had trouble acknowledging and expressing anger. I would push that anger deep down and pretend I didn’t feel it. When I started allowing myself to say…”Hey I am angry” even if it was only in my head… I often found that my anger really masked a different emotion like sadness or fear. I thought that if I acknowledged anger- I would get angrier… what I found was that I was able to pass through the emotion quickly as long as I let myself feel it.
Try this exercise right now… ask yourself…”What am I feeling right now?”… Then ask again… “What am I really feeling?” As you allow the feelings to bubble up to the surface… sit in the emotions for a bit… then say “I am fully feeling… (anger, sadness, fear, happiness, etc)…” If your feeling is one you want to hold on to and treasure- like happiness, joy, love… enjoy the feeling… if it is a feeling that you want to move through… allow the feeling to fully develop and then pass through… I sometimes feel my feelings like anger and when I allow the feeling to pass through- I can actually feel it leaving my body. Notice I didn’t say yell at your spouse, kids, partner, or coworkers. Experiencing your emotions is about you and what you have going on inside.
The moment of truth is this… if you are experiencing anger and try to deny, resist, or push it away… it will keep coming back… you know the saying- “What we resist persists.”
I have a saying that I like to “feel squeaky clean on the inside”. Which means that I don’t like to have hidden emotions, agendas, and/or grudges creeping around inside my head and body. Fully experiencing emotions is part of that squeaky clean feeling.
If it has been awhile since you have been in touch with your deep emotions, watch a movie like Warhorse, Steel Magnolias, or Rudy… or listen to music from a bright new star like Jonathon Antoine- an overweight, extremely shy teenager with an opera voice (he has been compared to Pavaratti ) that makes tears stream down your face. Let the feelings flow… and make the connections to your inner world.
Emotional mastery means feeling and accepting all of your emotions while at the same time being in full control of your choices and the actions that you take. As you master your emotions, you take giant leaps forward on your own path to achievement and success.