What a beautiful subject to dedicate some time and thought to our emotions. Through my work and my experiences, my conditioning and my beliefs I have learnt much and am still learning about emotions and their effect on us; our behaviour and our thinking.
I have noticed that emotions are often considered private and many people believe, that emotions are not be shown or expressed when in public.
The truth is, we humans can’t help ourselves. We are emotional beings and respond emotionally to everything. It may be more or less apparent, conscious or unconscious, but we are all affected by our emotions constantly. It is good to know this, it is good to consider this. It is also good to get in touch with ones emotions, to make space and time to feel into them, to discover them, to invite them in to our lives, to own them and to share them.
Wether in life or business, wether with a colleague or your mother, it is good to know what you feel, to be able to name it and to find the courage to express it. It takes courage because we are not accustomed to speaking about our emotions, it takes courage because many people are afraid of emotions and it takes courage because being considered emotional can make you vulnerable to opinions about you being weak and unstable. And yes, emotions change and we are influenced by them, another reason to get in touch.
When emotions are not felt, they are still there, moving through us and find an outlet somewhere, often taking us and the world by surprise.
Sudden, uncontrollable weeping, anger outbursts are symptoms of supressed emotions. Giving into addictions is a common way to avoid undesired emotions such as sadness or anger. This avoidance costs huge amounts of energy and once it has become a habit, these suppressed emotions are guarded with walls of shame and an armour of toughness and it takes endless patience, deep trust and love, love, love to once again allow them to surface.
This surfacing is important work and it is constant. Our deepest fears will remain fears but it is only once we have encountered them, that we can learn to appreciate and to live with them. The better we understand them, the easier it is to take care of ourselves and our needs and to communicate them. Not so much as for the others to consider them, but simply for them to know, so that a reaction can be better understood. Not to apologise for them, but to show up and present yourself, responsible and accountable.
The other extreme, another addiction, is feeling deeply and giving into each emotion, especially the ones that feed of our sense of unworthiness, suffering and lack. These are especially tempting, since the more we give into them, the more we become dependant on what we receive from the outside. This makes us less and less responsible and we find more and more reasons to feel especially wronged by the world and others.
It is good and helpful to go deep, but how not to get stuck in the drama of my own abyss? How not to identify with a deep rooted worry or a sensation of unworthiness? I suppose everyone needs to find out for themselves, for me it has been helpful to sit and breathe and instead of clinging onto the fear that this state will never pass, I ease into the knowing, that it will.
If I cannot feel this certainty, my mind has become a powerful ally when it comes to snapping out of my drama. My mind knows from experience, it can count the times I have survived and it can remind me. Also, the more I share feelings of fear, sadness and or pain, the more I learn of other peoples fears and sadness and pain. It is a way to break through the wall of shame and out of the isolation and feel connected.
Emotions are what we all have in common. It is how we can connect, beyond language and culture, beyond all our differences.
My encouragement is to speak about emotions and feelings, practicing awareness and slowly getting more in touch and maybe even finding the courage to inquire a little deeper, when asking someone how they are. You may notice that a simple “how does that make you feel” will lead to a moment of silence, maybe a soft or a deep breath and then, with the answer, that something relaxes in the other.
We may worry that this is to intimate a question, in this case usually it is not heard (literally) or simply ignored and there is no need to insist, as it can only be an invitation and as any, it may be declined. And of course, only when you feel open to receive, to listen, to care.
May this spring make you feel happy and joyful, peaceful and motivated, amazed and dazzled, valued and energetic, loving and inspired, optimistic and encouraged, light-hearted and secure, just to name a few.
Eliza Charu Hermsdorf
CO- founder of DIMA Mallorca and Mediator at MediateBerlin