Emotions can be pleasurable or they can be painful and being human means that we have the potential to experience the full spectrum of emotions. I say potential, because there are ways that we can stop them from appearing.
Pleasure and pain is something we are all familiar with and this dynamic is playing a big part in what we allow ourselves to experience and what we don’t.
Pleasure And Pain
However, what one interprets as either pleasurable or as painful; is not necessarily absolute and the same for every human being on the planet. There are likely to be some emotions that we feel comfortable with and others that we don’t.
For example, anger may not be perceived as pleasurable for some, but for others this may be an emotion that one feels comfortable and safe with.
And sadness or grief is another emotional experience that may be acceptable for some and for others this will be problematic.
There are also some emotions that are culturally acceptable for men to feel and to not feel. And some emotions that are acceptable for women to feel and not to feel.
Our ego mind will have associations around every emotion. And it will be these associations that will define how we deal with an emotion or an emotional experience. This is the result of the ego mind associating every emotion based on if it is familiar and therefore safe.
And these associations are not based on what is true and what is not true; they are purely associations that the ego mind has formed over the years of our existence.
Negative And Positive Emotions
There are often labels given to emotions and these labels will depend on many different factors. The culture that one was raised in, their family background and their social group will all have an effect on how they see their emotions.
And this then leads to many different views on what emotions are negative and what emotions are positive. These are value judgments made by human beings; passed on from one person to another and from one generation to another.
An Unconscious Agreement
These then become the ways in which one filters their life and their relationship to their emotions. If one was made to feel ashamed or guilty for having a certain emotion as a child, this will then be associated as not being safe and ‘negative’ by their ego mind.
And the emotions are that were encouraged and validated as a child, will then be associated ad being safe and ‘positive’ to the ego mind.
The Childhood Environment
If ones caregivers were comfortable with their emotional spectrum and this means their positive and negative emotions; then one is likely to feel comfortable with their emotions. However, if ones caregivers were not comfortable with them, then this pattern is likely to have been passed onto the next generation.
Here, ones caregivers have not developed the ability to regular their own emotions; to simply sit with them or to have the assistance of another to regulate them. And out of this inability to regulate their emotion; they are forced to either repress them or to act on them unconsciously.
And this behaviour is more than likely the result of the associations that their ego mind has formed around the emotions. With the emotions being neutral and the associations around them, creating the conflict.
What we are then left with, is the model our caregivers used in dealing with their emotions. And this could have been to act our certain emotions and to repress others; as well as numerous other behavioural tendencies that they may have had.
Through the people around us validating, mirroring and acknowledging our emotions during our younger years, we then develop the ability to sit with our own emotions and to regulate them ourselves.
This means that we don’t have to repress what we are experiencing and neither do we have to react and unconsciously act out what we are going through. And if we can’t regulate them ourselves, then we can have the courage to ask for another person to assist with this process.
The Alienation Begins
So these early experiences will play a large role in how we deal with our emotions. As emotions are part of being human, to reject them is to reject part of ourselves. And this will of course affect our ability to function as a whole human being.
For example, if we can’t feel the so called negative side, it is going to be difficult to experience the so called positive side of the spectrum.
A Matter Of Interpretation
As soon as an emotion is judged as being negative it will create conflict and tension within is. And from here we can feel regret, guilt or shame and our whole wellbeing can be affected. This whole process goes against what it means to be human and to embrace all that this means.
Positive and negative or good and bad are labels that the ego mind uses. And this is because it believes they can be removed; when all that can be achieved is the acceptance of both. To try to remove these two sides, will only lead to further pain and struggle.
Through judging an emotion, it can also lead to be attached to the emotion. So instead of experiencing it once or for a short while and then letting it go, by judging it we will be pulled into experiencing it again and again.
Emotions will come and go, but the part of us that observers, will always remain. To be able to regulate our emotions, instead of reacting to them or repressing them, will require patience and persistence. Finding a good therapist or healer will also make a massive difference here.
There are many types out here, from psychologists to hypnotherapists; the important thing is that we trust our own guidance in who to work with and to do our own research. The assistance is there, we only have reach out for it.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.