When it comes to human development, emotions are generally ignored and have been exceeded by other areas. In recent years there has been an intense focus on ones physical side and this has lead to people joining gyms or going for runs for example.
And when it comes to ones intellectual side; this is something that is usually taken care of through school, college or university for instance.
So although one may be able to regulate their emotions through exercising or through thinking in certain ways, as a result of their intellectual development, this can be a short term solution and also as a way to escape from ones emotions.
There are of course many other options that are available to cope with ones emotions. Society is full of them and this could be the usual choices, such as: alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping and food.
But when it comes to options of dealing with emotions directly and therefore not running away from them; the options are few are far between in mainstream society.
Daniel Goleman has spoken about emotional intelligence for many years. And as emotions play such a massive role in life, it is surprising that emotional intelligence is not part of the modern day education.
Of course there are psychologists and therapists available to assist with emotional challenges, but these are often sought when emotions have become out of control and unbearable.
And once they have built up and become unbearable; these options may be chosen. However, it is more than likely that once ones emotions have become unbearable, one of society’s numerous escapes will be selected.
It often takes something to become really bad before something is done. And emotions are no different here. To look after the body and to eat right are undoubtedly key parts of life. These are constantly mentioned in the media and other sources.
What is seldom mentioned, are emotions and the importance of emotional health and harmony. And there has to be reasons for this, because it is not healthy or beneficial for something as important as our emotions to be ignored.
Here I will explain what I currently believe are some of those reasons. This is not to be taken as the be and end all; It is simply my opinion. So with that out of the way, let’s take a deeper look.
I believe that the biggest factor in whether one is comfortable or uncomfortable with their emotions is their childhood. And what happens here will generally define the relationship that one has with their emotions as an adult.
On one side there is what happens to one as a child through the quality of care that they receive. And on the other side is how they interpret what happens to them as a result of their childhood.
There is often said to be two types of early care; empathic and unempathic care. This is not to say that childhood is black or white, these are simply used as a general guideline to explain the two sides of care.
Here, the child will be cared for by a caregiver that is aware and in tune of the Childs needs, wants and preferences. This will also lead to the child being mirrored and acknowledged during times of pain or pleasure for example.
When it comes to this Childs caregiver, they will be unaware and not in tune. The Childs needs and wants will be ignored and covered up with the caregiver’s needs and wants taking precedence. And this means that the child won’t be mirrored, soothed or acknowledged during times of pleasure or pain.
Now, the descriptions above represent the two extremes. One represents a loving caregiver and the other represents an abusive caregiver. And some caregivers can often switch between the two; there will also be some caregivers who stick to a certain style.
The style of nurturing that one had when they were a baby may have changed when one become a child for example.
What these two descriptions above will do, is go a long way to defining the relationship that one has with their emotions. If one was brought up by a caregiver that was unaware and lacked empathy it would be likely that during times of emotional pain they were not soothed or regulated by them.
And this means that as child one would have had to sit with their emotions and that is likely to mean being overwhelmed by them. An empathic caregiver would help to regulate this experience for the child. Because at that age, the ability to self regulate wouldn’t be there.
This would then lead to the child developing the ability to self regulate; to see that their emotions are not stronger or more than they are. To see that they are transitory and therefore come and go, when they are allowed to flow.
It could be that this happened many, many times and created associations of being overwhelmed and having no control over ones emotions. This could also be the result of a one of traumatic incident as a child or as an adult.
And due to there being no one around or someone who was emotionally available; one had no choice but to feel uncomfortable and to form negative associations around emotions. And not this is how one deals with their emotions as an adult.
One way of becoming emotionally comfortable is to face them. As the more something is resisted and avoided the stronger it becomes. This is not to say that one should do this by themselves.
Through the assistance of a coach, therapist or mentor; one can begin to form a better relationship with them. And as this happens, one will start to see that their emotions are not and can never be, more than they are.
This may involve facing and letting go of emotions that have built up over the years; from childhood experiences or from a traumatic incident later in life. Help is there, we only have to ask for it.
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.