Do me a favor…
Close your eyes and for a few minutes, think back to your childhood. Think about being emotional in your childhood. Try to remember those times that you were happy or excited or sad or mad or afraid. How did the people around you react?
Now try to remember times the people around you felt strong emotions. How were they treated by others? How did they deal with having those emotions?
What did emotions mean in the family or culture or society you grew up in?
Mentally review each emotion. Which emotions were good and therefore acceptable? Which emotions were bad and therefore unacceptable? Which ones were expressed, which ones were suppressed?
What were you told or indirectly taught was the bet way to handle your emotions?
What emotional control strategies did the people around you use?
Look at your life today, what ideas or control strategies are you still using that are a perfect reflection of the way you were subconsciously programmed to deal with emotion growing up?
I want you to watch my video titled: Meaning, the self destruct button and while you are watching it, think about how this video applies simply to emotion. What did you decide that anger meant or sadness meant, or fear meant?
It is normal to want to feel good. The basic survival instinct is to shy away from pain and go towards pleasure. This is not in and of itself a problem. This instinct in and of itself does not cause suffering. Suffering is caused when instead of going towards pleasure, we resist the pain. And this, is what we have done with emotion.
I want you to imagine that in the back of your head, there is a control switch, like a light switch on a wall. Except instead of light and dark, this control switch controls good and bad. This switch is designed to be triggered and switch on whenever you encounter something that you have judged as bad. If you register something as bad, you register it as a threat. So when this switch goes on because it thinks it is encountering something bad, your body responds to that threat by going into fight or flight mode. You either try to escape or fight with that thing. Escaping from something and or fighting with something is an attempt to CONTROL that thing, yourself or the course of events to follow.
The problem is, when we judge certain emotions as bad, this control switch is triggered by those emotions. It is essentially an emotional control switch. We immediately try to control these emotions by escaping from or fighting with them. The thoughts we think about the emotion we are having, cause us to immediately add emotion to emotion and this is like adding kerosene to a fire that is already blazing. No matter what we do to feel better, nothing works.
For example, lets say growing up when you expressed anxiety your parent turned to you in an exasperated manner and said “stop being such a fraidy cat, there’s no reason to last like this come on now” you would have gotten the message that anxiety is bad and perhaps that if you feel it, but your parents are right that there is no reason to feel that way and yet you feel that way that there must be something wrong with you. In the future, if you feel anxious, your control switch will turned on because you have been conditioned to see anxiety as bad. you will start to fear yourself because you’ll feel like something is wrong with you and therefore, you would feel anxious about feeling anxious.
This is how to know that your Control switch has turned on. You will start to feel bad about feeling bad. for example, you’ll feel angry about feeling depressed or anxious about feeling anxious or afraid about feeling anger or sad about feeling depressed.
You will also immediately revert to all of the emotional control strategies that are linked to that control switch such as: Drinking alcohol, reading a book, going running, eating, shooting up heroine, distracting yourself, obsessively writing affirmations, positively focusing, arguing with and contradicting your negative thoughts, All of which are an attempt to make the emotion go away because you have judged it as bad. You believed the story that a particular emotion is bad.
This is the reason that it doesn’t work to positively focus negative emotion away. Control in and of itself is resistance. So, the minute positive focus becomes a tool of maintaining control, it now serves resistance instead of allowing or deliberate creation.
It isn’t helpful or useful to judge your negative emotions as bad. For more information about how to deal with negative emotions, watch my video on YouTube titled: The emotional wakeup call.
Now before you assume that we only have this reaction to negative emotions, it’s important to know that we can be conditioned to believe that positive emotion is bad as well. For more information about this, watch my YouTube video titled: When Happiness is a BAD thing. The more your parents and caregivers needed to maintain control over how they felt and therefore control over how you felt, the more resistant they were to all emotions, both good and bad.
It is time to become aware of this emotional control switch when it goes off within us. The time has come to notice ourselves resisting our own emotion in the moment it arises. This is in fact the initiation of a downward spiral. It ensures that our emotions will work like quick sand where we struggle against them and end up drowning. If we are in a situation where we feel like nothing ever works and like we will never feel better no matter how hard we try, it is because we are approaching our life from that very angle… that we must feel better because negative emotion is not ok. Anxiety is not ok, anger is not ok, sadness is not ok, grief is not ok. The way we feel is bad and so it has to change. We think thoughts like, “what have I done to deserve this or what is wrong with me or I wish I didn’t feel like this or I can’t handle this or why am I like this or the very worst… I shouldn’t feel like this.”
When you feel this emotional control switch go off, switch it off by practicing releasing resistance to the emotion you are feeling resistance towards and wanting to control. Allow and accept the emotion. Question the idea that this emotion is bad or good. Ask yourself, what am I making this emotion mean and then go to work dismantling that meaning. Thoughts and emotions themselves don’t cause us pain. It’s believing them that causes us pain. If you have judged an emotion as bad, get outside the box by trying to find approval for it. Why is that emotion good? What is this emotion trying to tell me, what is it asking me to do differently or to change about my life? Allow yourself to go back in time to when you were programmed to believe that the emotion was bad and un-do that trauma. To learn how to do this process, Watch my video on Youtube titled: How to Heal the Emotional Body and when you’re doing the process, begin by going into the sensation of the resistance to the emotion for example go into the anxiety you’re having about the anxiety. If you want additional information about this concept, you can watch my youtube video titled: Positively Embrace Your Negative Emotions. Painful emotions only become chronic (as in nothing you do ever works to make you feel better) if your emotional control switch is switched on and as such you are in resistance to the emotion you feel. This is the difference between temporary discomfort and long term suffering.
So… is your emotional control switch turned on?