Learning to turn towards difficult emotions like embarrassment and feeling awkward, for crucial conversations!
This is one of our greatest problems in Ireland, we are great at small talk, we are great at talking about the weather. But we don’t particularly like to get too deep. If we do, heck most of us fear that you might learn something about us that we don’t particularly like about ourselves. We stay guarded because we fear we will be exposed and feel bare and naked. You just might learn something about me like that I don’t feel good enough or that I have a deep fear of being rejected so I keep everyone at bay. You just might learn that I am deeply deeply low or depressed inside so instead I put on a front of what I think you want to see.
Instead of speaking to that which is most vulnerable within we pull up my socks and we keep ourselves to ourselves. This is us, this is Irish people, the stiff upper lip, the holding on to our inner thoughts that are in fact the most universal thing of all, most people experience these kinds of negative thoughts from time to time about themselves. Most people feel low, unworthy, fear being rejected, unloved at some point or other. What do we learn from this approach to emotions?
We learn that it’s part of our culture to hide that which is most common to humanity, most common to this being a human and on this planet. To feel ashamed of and embarrassed by difficult emotions. Well it’s time to come out, come out about our feelings, all of them, to normalise them for everybody. This being human, is a rainbow, a kaleidoscope of emotions. It isn’t enough to simply want to feel the ‘positive’ emotions all the time. To want to be happy all the time, that isn’t actually realistic.
All emotions have their place in the human experience. But what we have learned to do is identify with our emotions. We entangle our very sense of self-worth in how we feel. In the Irish language we see our emotions as separate from us. “Tá brón orm” means ‘Sadness is upon me’, in the English language we often find ourselves saying ‘I am sad’ entangling our very identity with the emotion, when in fact it is transient and impermanent. It is ephemeral.
In fact, our emotions are meant to be felt and released. They are meant to be messengers from our body. This body that is an incredible antennae that is trying to send us crucial signals so that we can understand more deeply our inner world.
Instead, when we feel these strong difficult emotions we dump them onto other people and we react to them in our outer world, blaming others, blaming ourselves, rarely taking responsibility for what they truly are designed to do.
You see emotions, are messengers, each emotion has a function. A really important function.
There are 10 basic emotions across all cultures and this is what they are trying to tell you:
· Happiness – when are needs are met
· Anger – an important goal is blocked or feel attacked, blamed, hurt or lose something
· Sad – something is lost or missing
· Frustrated – an important gaol is blocked
· Grief – something precious is lost
· Fear – danger is present or a threat perceived
· Disgust – when something unpleasant is confronted
· Embarrassed - being exposed, awkwardness or regret
· Ashamed – something is wrong with you
· Content – feeling that you are good enough
· Love - connection and attraction
· Lonely – left out or isolated
So the next time you feel an emotion, positive or difficult, turn towards it in the body.
What does it feel like inside?
Explore it with intertest, is there a physical sensation, a vibration to it, even a colour perhaps?
Consider, if it could talk, what might it be trying to tell me?
Consider, what is beneath this emotion?
Because beneath each emotion is an important NEED! Yes there is a need that is trying to be met, so if you can stop and sense into that need, what is it really trying to say.
Open your heart to the messages from within, they are powerful and they will shift your experience towards one of appreciation for this wonderful existence. This becomes so incredibly vital to being able to turn towards the difficult, because if you can do it, you can help model for your family and children how to do it and this becomes the foundation of positive wellbeing and an ability to embrace difficult conversations around mental health and sexual health.
More on this to follow! I’m feeling excited to share these nuggest, I’d love to hear your thoughts and emotions!