Emotions as a road map

Emotions as a road map

I want to talk about emotions today.

First of all, I would invite you to inspect closely your own reaction to the word ‘emotion’. Because words are not just empty symbols describing something objective out there. They carry meaning. Lots of meanings and lots of associations. And they can tell you about the cultural influences that you have been exposed to, the society that molded, sculpted your psyche.

So listen for a moment what comes up when you think about emotions. For me it used to be a mixed reaction of dismissal and superiority. I considered myself logical and rational, highly intellectual and engaging with ‘important’ stuff. Not the fuzzy, feely-touchy, ambiguous and blurry stuff the emotions are made of. But the logical stuff of ideas.

Without even thinking about it consciously, I used to associate emotions with all that is somewhat inferior and un-intelligent, all things un-important and too vague to bother. And the images that used to come to my mind were of some confused naked ladies dancing in the light of the Moon and getting in touch with the goddess within.

So what are your images, your preconceptions, your associations to do with emotions?

And yet, despite centuries of rational, scientific, logical and highly analytical attempts to understand the mind and the behaviours, the consciousness and the drives, what motivates and excites us – after centuries of trying to control emotions as animalistic and inferior, we are now experiencing a real epidemic of anxiety, depression, addictions, eating disorders and other emotional and behavioural ‘problems’, despite the unprecedented wealth and technological advances we have achieved.

Why? Are we getting more animalistic than ever? Or maybe we need to dance naked and get in touch with the goddess within? Why is it that the wealthier we get, the harder it seem to feel okay about our life? Existential angst? Lack of meaning?

In my personal life emotions reared their ugly heads as well. Often enough to bother me. Sudden out-burst of anger or sadness, ever present fear and never failing sense of shame or guilt. Not a pretty soup for my logical mind to swim in.

Luckily, I found that neither dancing naked nor inner goddess are necessary to resolve this problem. What was needed was embracing emotions as something important enough to be here. And doing so, I needed to change the way I saw and defined emotions.

First of all I had to do away with the inferior, animalistic, stupid, un-intelligent and useless imagery I assigned to them. And to do so, I needed to look beyond my preconceived and outdated notions and assumptions and see the light in the brilliant, enlightening logic of emotions.

That’s right. Emotions are logical. They are more logical than anything I have ever encountered. And it had taken several years for me of working with hundreds of clients, hundreds of people, working with their anxiety and fears and addictions and binges, to truly see the logic of them.

It took a while before I discovered how truly logical they are. And it brought me to the most important discovery of my life; that once you embrace and understand them, the emotions are the most ingenious system we are equipped with. And if used wisely, they can help us to navigate life.

Today, I treat them with great respect. The word ‘emotions’, as I perceive and react to it, lost the old negative connotations and feels fresh and clear to me. It has lost the darkness and fuzziness and vagueness and instead the images that form in my head, at the sound of the word are those of road signs, information signs or any type of guidance.

Instead of feeling dismissive towards emotions, I feel enlivened in my knowing of such powerful road map. Once you learn how to read it. Unfortunately, many of us remain illiterate as far as emotions go.

Who is to blame?

It is not that important. But one thing for sure. It is not your fault. The information is scarce and the education is very limited. The belief that we can sort things out –including anxiety, depression or addictions – without knowing anything about emotions and how they operate, what they are and how we can use them, is unbelievably naïve.

And the opposite side of it is this: once you are clear about why you feel the way you feel and why you do things that seem like self-sabotaging, once you understand what thoughts and beliefs are behind emotions that bring you down to your knees, once you know what to do about it and how to read and use this road map – you will feel free, you will feel clear and powerful.

Because when you can feel good and empowered, no matter what goes on around you – you are truly free.

As I write in this blog, I talk about emotions a lot. So stay tuned if you want to learn. It is worth it.

Dorota

 

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