I'll be the first to admit it, I was a sensitive boy, and looking back on my childhood, I now know that what I thought was a 'defect' was actually a gift.
In my teenage years, I learned to meditate, and it helped me get in touch with my feelings rather than avoiding them. But meditation is only what made me aware of the repressed anger, hurt, and shame I had hidden inside of my heart; it didn't resolve them. After many years of personal exploration and 25+ years of coaching folks on inner peace, I discovered the keys to building emotional intelligence that anyone can apply.
The majority of people are held prisoner by their emotions and are unaware that they are the root cause of our stress, personal suffering, and frustrations. Emotional repression is the source of most people's depression and anxiety.
Emotional intelligence is something everyone can learn. It's the key to unlock personal empowerment and inner peace. When you are in touch with your emotions, you gain greater access to your creativity, healing, intuition, and ability to make trustworthy decisions.
Emotions are the bridge between the physical and the spiritual. Experiencing emotional aliveness awakens your Soul's passion for life and accesses your untapped wisdom. These human strengths are hidden and unavailable to those who choose to ignore and repress their feelings. It's not your fault; we've been taught to do this since childhood.
Within your emotional depth is a pure love born of Spirit that many have lost and forgotten. This love contains the wisdom, compassion, and forgiveness to transform you from the inside-out. You can begin to retrieve this lost love buried beneath your fears, doubts, and anxiety to heal and change your life.
Most of us adopt and mimic our parents' behaviors and beliefs. But did it work for them? Most likely not. The moment we are born, we burst forth with an unapologetic emotional declaration letting the world know, "I AM HERE, I have arrived!" A slap on our butt from the doctor initiates our first breath while connecting us to physical life on planet earth. Life begins with physical and emotional birthing.
As we grow and mature, we learn language to express our thoughts into simple words. Before we had language, infants use their feelings to communicate with others, "I am hungry, wet, cold, tired, etc." Every need is met and conveyed with a cry to let everyone know (even the neighbors), "I am not getting enough, I need more attention, food, comfort, sleep, love, etc." Emotions are the universal language.
Even as children, we weren't shy about expressing our feelings with others. During the 'terrible two's, when a child is curious and wants to put everything in its mouth, we're admonished, "Stop that! Behave! What's wrong with you?!?" And we're quickly taught by our parents, teachers, and siblings to 'control' ourselves, especially control your feelings.
We spend years repressing our feeling out of the fear of losing the love and security that we needed to survive. We are unaware that as we suppress our feelings, we also repress our inner strength. We are taught to judge our emotions as weak.
As we mature, we learn to ignore, deny, and depress our feelings to fit in and belong. We conform to our gender roles and are told to always attempt to control our feelings by hiding or ignoring them. "Little girls don't get angry; little boys don't cry." We quickly become handicapped because every thought we think contains a feeling. So when we deny our emotions, we also inhibit our ability to make trustworthy decisions and experience genuine intelligence.
EMOTION is a "container" within consciousness that contains both thoughts and feelings. For instance, fear is triggered by thoughts of being unsafe, vulnerable, threatened, or in jeopardy. Fear tries to protect us by triggering a physical tightness that gets our attention. It warns us that we are unsafe and in danger by creating feelings of tension, anxiety, and stress. And this experience, we label as fear that emerges from those specific thoughts and feelings.
We're conditioned to be a good boy or girl, meaning be quiet and don't rock the boat by expressing how you feel. We are never taught the value of our feelings or how to relate to them. Let alone how to express them responsibly. Instead, we're encouraged to devalue and repress them, producing emotional and physical stress, pain, and negativity.
Unexpressed emotions change our biochemistry and lead to physical and mental distress, personal struggles, and depression. Repressed emotions, long-term will eventually develop into serious health problems.
This unhealthy repressed relationship with our emotions changes our biochemistry and leads to physical and mental distress that can develop into health problems.
Seven Secrets to the Magic of Emotions
1. Emotions are the core of your Body-Mind Connection
Science is now discovering the direct and immediate impact emotions have on the physical body. The influence of our emotions on the body is instantaneous. They are the core of our' body-mind connection.' For example, fear triggers adrenaline and causes the fight or flight response within a millisecond of that emotion being triggered.
Emotions are powerful and have a profound influence on your physical health and well-being. Science understands that our emotions quickly alter our bio-chemistry, immune system, and blood pressure. We can improve our body-mind connection by changing the way we relate to our emotions.
2. Emotions Are Eternal
What is real about your past? The events that occurred are over. The emotional impact of your experiences is what still influences you today. It is the emotions you feel either consciously or unconsciously that determine the course of your future and the experiences you'll attract and create.
A person who is dying often spends weeks or months regurgitating their unexpressed feelings, trying to break free from their past. They relive their childhood memories and try to clear out the repressed emotions that are trapped inside the body. When a person dies and sheds their body, it is the residue of unresolved emotions that can keep them earthbound as ghosts. Emotions are eternal; they must be either transformed or released at some point for you to be free.
3. Emotions Are Your Motivation
Without emotional awareness, we often procrastinate and sabotage ourselves. Emotions provide the energy of motion, of action. A person with little motivation doesn't accomplish much in his or her life. Motivation is rooted in our desires. What do you really desire in life? Beyond the physical trappings, that is. You only want "stuff" because of how it makes you feel. Once you have that new job, home, or spouse, then you think you'll be happy, content, and successful…right? It is the feelings that these things (trappings) represent that are real, not the trappings themselves.
It is of great importance that you realize that nothing in this physical world can create long-lasting happiness. This is especially true if you have a reservoir of repressed feelings. In an effort to feel content, you strive to obtain more and more stuff, but soon you realize that you still don't feel 'content' with what you have. This is because material things are an illusion, while your emotions are real. The ego drives you to focus only on the physical while your Soul is more concerned with your emotions.
4. Emotions Are the Core of Genuine Communication
We use our emotional nature to relate to and communicate genuinely with one another. In order for me to understand you, I must first be emotionally aware and awake. A person who is emotionally repressed spends their entire life trying to get others to understand them.
They feel misunderstood and lack the capacity to be understanding. The ego desires to be understood. Our Soul focuses on being understanding.
Everyone has had different childhood experiences. No two people experience life exactly the same way. What allows us to relate and understand each other is the commonality of our emotional nature.
Everyone knows what it 'feels like' to be hurt, disappointed, sad, angry, grateful, loved, celebrated, or adored. Having experienced these emotions helps us to have empathy toward others and also helps strengthen our ability to communicate and genuinely relate to one another.
5. Emotions Accelerate Your Ability to Manifest
A secret to manifestation is to create and generate the feelings first before you manifest what you desire. Whether that is the right job, the new home, or the dream spouse. If you imagine what having your desire feels like, you start to attract and create it. Then when you repeat your affirmations, you can consciously feel as if what you desire already exists. This accelerates the manifestation process bringing what you desire into your reality more quickly. The more intensity you feel, the quicker the manifestation.
The mistake many people make is to wait until they get the "stuff" and then experience the feeling. Doing it this way slows down the manifestation process considerably. Even the bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." I interpret this to mean, "As a man 'thinketh' with 'feeling' so is his reality." The magic of manifestation comes from your ability to clearly know what you desire and to feel it with intensity; this combination of 'thinking and feeling' creates reality.
6. Emotions Are the Key to Belonging
As humans, we form societies or groups in order to feel a sense of belonging. Whether the feeling of belonging comes from our immediate family, schoolmates, or through special interests and hobbies doesn't matter much. When we find and attract others who share our passions, we create this sense of belonging. We build our own community of friends and loved ones.
Being emotionally alive and aware of your passions, desires, and interests plus being willing and able to share them with others lets you feel understood and appreciated. This creates a familial bond, so you know you belong. Carl Jung defined belonging as one of our basic human needs. He concluded that the feeling of belonging creates security and pleasure in our lives. I agree. The feeling of belonging is an imperative part of being successful in life.
7. Emotions Are an Avenue of Communication From Your Soul
Your Soul doesn't use words to communicate with you. It prefers to communicate with you through your feelings and emotions. As our emotional natures change from being repressed, we open the avenue for clearer, more accurate communication from our Soul about our life and destiny.
Our Soul is our direct link to God-Goddess, and this is the avenue through which we commune with the Divine. When you ignore your emotions, it is like cutting the vocal cords to your Soul. It is forced then to communicate with you through crisis and negativity.
How to Discern Emotions to Gain Power
Most people get stuck when it comes to dealing with their emotional body from either a lack of awareness or understanding of this part of themselves. The most common reason individuals get 'stuck' here is that we have learned to divide our emotions into categories and label our emotions as either "good" or "bad."
We commonly deem emotions we enjoy feeling as "good." Which means "bad" emotions are the ones we judge as unacceptable and therefore ignore, deny, and repress. This is one of the ego's favorite shortcuts, that eventually 'cuts us short.' This kind of judging and categorizing of our emotions disempowers us. It is our judgment of "good" or "bad" that screws up our relationship with our emotions, not the emotions themselves.
During our childhood, our stressed-out parents couldn't handle an emotionally expressive baby. By the time we were 3-4 years old, we were taught, scolded, and conditioned to believe that it wasn't right to express all of our feelings honestly. If we did, we were criticized and/or punished for not being a "good" boy or girl. In fact, what those stressed-out parents were really trying to say was that we should be emotionally quiet or even worse, emotionally repressed.
It is impossible to understand or appreciate something fully until we experience separation from it. We are taught and conditioned to separate ourselves from our feeling nature, and we do. Then one day, we wake up to seek inner power and learn the value of being emotionally alive. We come back to build a new and empowered relationship with our feelings, by choice, and with responsibility. This is a significant step on our path to becoming the spiritually empowered adult.
Four Myths That Perpetuate Emotional Disempowerment
Myth #1 Emotions Are Weak
Emotions can weaken the immature ego's attempts to control your life. This is why people judge emotional displays as a weakness. It is only your ego that perceives this as a weakness, not your Soul. Your emotions are, in fact, a strength that you can use to transform your life. Emotions don't follow logic and reason.
Humans have erroneously decided to make logic and reason 'king of the mountain,' which means emotions are comparatively weak or "less than." The ego's demand for either-or judgment means thinking is considered strong, and feelings are considered weak. But when people feel the intensity of power in their emotions, they know instinctively that this power has the capacity to override logic and reason. This idea can scare people into shutting down.
Repressed emotions lead to addiction. Even though people know logically and rationally that smoking cigarettes is damaging to their health, their emotional need keeps them locked in addictive cycles. Some people continue to smoke even after they are diagnosed with lung cancer. The emotions hold enormous power within us, power that can turn into tremendous inner strength, but only if we allow ourselves to feel our emotions—all of them.
Myth #2 Emotions Will Sabotage Your Efforts
People are afraid of the avalanche of emotions that they have repressed. We've all encountered others who have built up a reservoir of anger and pain. Then, after years of repressing these emotions, the dam breaks and the emotions come flooding out, hurting a lot of innocent people and damaging their relationships.
This negativity isn't an inherent part of the emotions themselves but is a result of long term repression. Emotions are a part of consciousness that are meant to be felt, expressed, and released appropriately. The Soul uses your emotions to communicate directly with you. No words need to get in the way. Emotions will not be denied. When "all hell breaks loose," people mistakenly blame it on their emotions rather than the real culprit: repression.
Emotions are never the problem. The way we are taught to handle them
is the source of the problem!
What do sociopaths, psychopaths, and serial killers have in common? They became expert at emotional repression. This eventually leads to them expressing tremendous amounts of rage by perhaps openly firing guns in public places. When reporters interview the neighbors, they are almost always shocked at what happened. They invariably say, "He was such a quiet, polite neighbor, and never got upset with anyone." Emotional repression that turns to rage eventually produces socio- and psychopathic behavior.
Myth #3 If You Ignore Your Emotions They Will Go Away
This is a half-truth. Yes, the feelings will dissipate from your conscious mind as you distract yourself, but the emotion will not go away. The feeling will linger in your consciousness and become repressed in your subconscious mind. There it will become a landmine waiting to explode sometime in your future; usually when you least expect it. We've all experienced this when someone cuts you off in traffic, and a tidal wave of anger is launched, often surprising yourself. Ignoring feelings produces anxiety.
The Nature of Anxiety
Anxiety is unidentified emotion that affects your nervous system and many autonomic functions of your body. Even though you ignore your emotions, they'll find ways to express themselves, most often destructively.
Anxiety is a product of any one or combination of the following:
1. Unidentified and repressed emotions
2. Anticipation of rejection, humiliation, abandonment, or betrayal
3. Attempting to trust people who aren't trustworthy
4. Experiencing excessive happiness, success, and freedom
5. Being the source of other peoples jealousy or envy
6. Anticipating a negative future of failure, fear, and pain
7. Unidentified truth, believing the lie that you are 'not good enough'
Beyond contributing to the development of anxiety, emotional repression also creates a plethora of negativity in our lives. Meaninglessness, depression, confusion, panic attacks, despair, rage, lethargy, procrastination, phobias, powerlessness, and addictions can all stem from repressed emotions. I am convinced that repressed emotions create an internal environment that causes insomnia, hypothyroid, back pain, chronic fatigue, arthritis, cancer, and most major physical ailments.
Myth #4 Emotions Are Either Good (Positive) or Bad (Negative)
The most common myth is that emotions are good or bad. We tend to judge, divide, and separate our emotions into these two false categories.
Instead of thinking of your emotions in terms of positive and negative, it is freeing to instead think of them as either expanding or contracting. Some emotions like joy, happiness, and peace are emotions that expand; they feel comfortable. Likewise, the emotions labeled as "negative" are the emotions that contract; that slow you down, get your attention, and often feel uncomfortable. They aren't negative, but rather serve as a warning sign for you to pay attention.
So-called "negative" emotions are meant to help guide you so that you can move forward in life. It would be foolish to decide that green traffic lights are good and red traffic lights are bad (unless you're in a hurry). The red light serves as a sign to let you know to slow down, look around, be cautious. Such red-light emotions are designed to protect you and create greater harmony and order in your life. This can happen when you learn to heed their warning and can become a valuable "positive" experience.
These four myths about our emotions have created havoc in the lives of millions of people. Shifting your perspective enables you to 'unlearn' these myths. This requires consciously thinking and feeling and then making new choices. Forgiving yourself for buying into the lie that we should only feel the positive emotions is the first step. This clears the way for you to develop a new relationship with all of your emotions. This will bring the magic and miracles of emotional empowerment back into your life.
Take some time to journal about the way your parents handled their emotions. Answer the following questions by writing them in a journal.
1. How did your mother deal with her emotions?
2. Did she demonstrate any addictive habits and patterns?
3. How about your father, how did he deal with his emotions?
4. Did he demonstrate any addictive habits and patterns?
5. What did your parents teach you (either by instruction or through reaction) about expressing your emotions?
6. Forgive both of your parents. Be compassionate and realize that they too were victims of the teaching their parents and passed down. They only were only able to teach you what they had been taught.
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Michaiel Patrick Bovenes is a wellness coach, teacher, hypnotherapist, and metaphysician. Since 1994, he helps people quickly transform their stress into strength and their struggle into greater freedom, confidence and positive change. Soul-utions Wellness will activate your inner-power to create the changes you desire by aligning with your purpose, power, inner-wisdom, and empowered destiny.