Until you understand your emotions, you’re really missing out. You’ll never be as mature as you could be, you won’t enjoy life as much as you could.
Here are a few basic concepts to help you understand emotions, and a couple easy-to-implement techniques to “deal with” your emotions.
First of all, this is a GARGANTUAN topic, and this article is not even going to scratch the surface. However, if you read through it, I think you’ll get some awesome value and a new perspective that may lead to profound growth for you.
So, emotions come in WAVES. They come and they go. They are similar to waves in many ways because they are undulating and often they silently creep up on you and then crash down suddenly before dissipating, often leaving not even a single trace.
Most of us may be ok with little waves of emotions, but what about the bigger things that really can tear at us, like a break-up or stress from moving, or a job change, or a death of a loved one.
The bigger the wave, the more skill it takes to maneuver it without it killing you.
Think of your consciousness (your awareness) like a surfer. And let’s say the goal is to surf (feel) these waves (emotions) in a way that allows you to enjoy your activity (life). Ideally, you see the wave coming, you prepare for it, you start paddling and enjoy the ride to the beach.
Now, what would happen if you were to RESIST the oncoming wave? Well, you could possibly be skilled enough to paddle towards it and escape before it crashes all over you. That’s not really resisting though, is it? That’s taking action and going TOWARDS the emotion.
What if you were to IGNORE the wave and hope that it would go away? Well, we all know that’s not going to work. Emotions are like that, too. They don’t just go away. They’re just as real as the waves, and we have to deal with them in one way or another.
One option is actually to be crashed into pieces by the wave. I’ve encountered a few situations in my life where I personally have thought an emotion would kill me, and I’ve held people in my arms who have thought they were going to die from the feelings they had. In some cases, these people have expressed clearly, “I want to die,” as they were feeling these emotions mercilessly rip through their bodies.
In 100% of the cases I’ve seen so far, when an emotion has been so strong as to crash that person down and make them feel as if they are being destroyed, they have come out later as stronger people with more gratitude and more value to offer to the people around them.
Still, those stories don’t always help when we’re in the middle of the emotion. In that moment, all we feel is what we feel and nothing else really matters.
As we mature (aka gain perspective and wisdom in life), we can become aware that these waves are such a gift. Sometimes the waves seem so big and scary that we just want to ignore them, hoping that they will go away. We are so afraid of the death and hurt that may occur to us if we were to allow ourselves to feel those emotions. Little do we know that once we free ourselves and give ourselves permission to start taking the waves as they come, we will be riding them like a surfer on a dangerous wave–full of gratitude, excitement, respect and awe for the beauty of what is happening in the moment.
Using your breath in these moments can be one of the most powerful tools for tapping into these waves and allowing them to do their work. If you accept the wave of emotion as everything that is and ever will be in that moment, you will be able to ride it out, and you may be surprised to find that the emotion fades and is replaced with peace.
As we learn to accept the waves for what they are, POWERFUL FORCES that actually exist no matter how much we want to pretend they don’t exist sometimes, we can become increasingly skilled at riding these waves. Life becomes a meditation. Breath becomes deeper. Love and gratitude expand.
It doesn’t mean that it will always feel pleasant. But it does mean that we allow for these waves to do their work and to make us into better, stronger, more loving surfers.
And who doesn’t love to watch an expert surfer embracing an awesome wave?
I know I do.