Emotions are part of being human and this means that they play a vital role in each of our lives. This could be to inform one of what is going on in their immediate environment or to do with something that is being triggered from their past for example.
However, no matter what their reasons for appearing are; they are trying to communicate something. And yet this form of communication doesn’t always occur.
When this happens they can be repressed and ignored. If they are repressed; this can lead to all kinds of problems. And if they are not repressed, then they can be acted out; in the form of reactive and unconscious behaviour.
To be emotionally honest, means to acknowledge and admit to ones emotions. In order for one to do this, there has to be an emotional awareness in the first place. Because without an awareness of them, it will only be possible for them to be acted out or acted in.
And there will be times when it is appropriate to express ones emotions and times when it is not appropriate. What is important is that one can admit to oneself what emotions they are experiencing.
As one is the observer of their emotions and not the emotions themselves, it means that one has the ability to be aware of each emotion. And from here, one has the choice of acting on the emotion or whether to just acknowledge the emotion.
When one does not have this ability available; there will be the tendency to be at the whim of one’s emotions.
Each emotion that one has is neutral; it is neither right or wrong, or good or bad. It just is and what makes an emotion into either of these things, is the value judgement that one labels them with.
The ego mind will categorise emotions in this way and this is due to the minds way of seeing everything in polarities. There is no middle ground to the ego mind; there are only extremes.
From here the ego mind can come to identify with certain emotions. And through this process each emotion will be classed as good or bad and right or wrong. Some emotions will be acceptable and others won’t be.
The emotions that are labelled as being acceptable will end up being associated as what is safe. From here one will begin to decide what emotions they can express and what emotions they can’t.
If ones ego mind has come to associate an emotion as bad or dangerous, it is likely that this emotion will then be repressed. As this happens one can end up becoming enslaved to this emotion; which is a natural result of an emotion building up.
Reactive behaviour will then occur and what should be about a two on the emotional reaction scale could end up being an eight or a nine for instance.
Ones moods and emotional health will also be severely affected. Through the expression of certain emotions being denied, it will also mean that one’s whole emotional spectrum will be potentially numbed and limited.
Although one may be caught up in the repression of certain emotions, one can also end up going the other way. And this means that they feel as though they have no control over their emotions. As a result of this, one may end up constantly reacting and expressing certain emotions.
The Emotional Trap
To repress an emotion or to react to an emotion without awareness is to be enslaved to the emotion. The emotion needs to be heard and expressed from a place of awareness.
The longer the emotion is repressed or acted on, the longer it will take control. And one will have no choice other than to continually deceive not only others about what is going on, but also oneself.
For one to either repress or act on their emotions without awareness, it shows that one doesn’t have a good connection or relationship with their emotions. And out of this emotional disharmony, all kinds of conflict and dysfunction are created.
This then leads to one not being able to be honest about their emotions. For if they were, these emotional difficulties wouldn’t exist in the first place.
The Emotional Relationship
The relationship that one has with their emotions is usually created in the beginning of one’s life. It is during this time that one’s ego mind will come to associate what emotions are safe to have and what are not.
How ones caregivers respond to ones emotions will go a long way in defining whether one is comfortable with their emotions or whether they feel uncomfortable by having them. And all ones caregivers can do, is pass on the same understanding that they have with their emotions.
If they are alienated from their emotions, then they will most likely cause their child to form the same relationship with their emotions.
This may have resulted from the caregivers passing on the same form of repression that they themselves had. And emotions that their ego mind had associated as unsafe become what one now sees as unsafe. The same would apply with emotions that were displayed as safe and appropriate.
And what could have been used to control the Childs emotional expression would have been the withdrawal of love and therefore ones survival would have been at risk. This could have been through: rejection, abandonment, punishment or isolation.
One might find that the relationship they have with their emotions, is nothing more than a reflection of the relationship that their caregivers had with their emotions. And out of being in the same environment; one ended up seeing them in the same way.
The very act of judging them as good or bad and repressing them, or getting caught up in them; is ultimately what causes the identification and attachment to them. And with this, one loses the ability to observe their emotions and to decide whether to act on them, express them to another person or to simply acknowledge their presence.
As one comes to express their emotions, either to themselves or with the help of a therapist or healer, one will begin to gain a better emotional understanding. And with this, ones emotions will begin to settle and lessen in their intensity. Through this process, repression and reactive behaviour will start to diminish.
And most importantly; one will be able to be honest to oneself about what is really going on at an emotional level.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 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.