Experiencing the full range of emotions is essential to our mental and physical health. Learning to balance all our feelings is the key to our health and wellbeing. Why is this so difficult?
The Key to Wholeness
Everyone wants to live a life filled with happiness. It’s a concept you find at the center of many ancient traditions. To be happy, we must be whole; wholeness includes the full range of emotion and feeling. It seems simple, but this is not easy. We learn to link happiness with situations instead of living in a state where happiness underlies everything.
The key to living in a state of happiness is accepting who we are. Our joy doesn’t depend on the situation but our state of mind. The key is learning to accept all aspects of life and ourselves. The key to wholeness starts with the perspective of a realist. We must adjust our direction based on the situations but remain grounded while we are doing it.
Life has its trials, and if we deny negative emotions from these tests, we do not address what is causing the emotion. Denial is an ineffective coping mechanism because it keeps us from dealing with the cause of our feelings. It creates stress, which is harmful to our mental and physical health.
It does not mean we should be happy when bad things happen. It means we learn to control our response to the negative. We can still be hurt, frustrated, or angry, but we must learn not to dwell or become fixated by these negative emotions.
Accepting The Full Range of Emotion
There are a vast number of possibilities with the human condition. Some people have more than their share of negative experiences. Although this doesn’t seem fair, it happens.
In the past, people learned to cope with their emotions by mirroring their family and friends. You typically worked with your family. So, sharing your feelings with them was a part of life.
Your family and friends helped you adjust to and through various stages of growth and the hardships of life. As we entered the early modern age (1), these systems were systematically eroded or removed. By the end of the industrial revolution (2), the family structure was nearly gone. In the contemporary period (3), corporate culture has eliminated almost all traditional support systems.
It’s essential to find other strategies to cope with hardships. It’s the reason people create support groups to help cope with specific conditions. There are groups for people dealing with cancer, sexual abuse, and all types of addictions. Self-care becomes even more critical when you do not have a sound support system.
To deny the full range of emotion, we negate the opportunity to live life to its fullest. Accepting the full range of what life offers is the only path that provides this entire experience. It helps us identify the things we want or need to change. It helps us to become more aware of both the good the negative.
There are lessons in both positive and negative situations. Learn to focus on finding the lesson to take advantage of life’s opportunities and emotions. Learn to stop and think before acting or giving in to negative self-talk.
The Mind is Always Engaged
It’s far too easy to occupy our minds every waking moment in our modern culture. Our culture trains us to be busy. Day-to-day tasks, worries, and social pressures can be overwhelming. However, showing any negative emotions in the corporate environment is anathema. We must project a positive outlook at all times. But, the long-term effects of suppressing negative feelings and opinions are destructive. It’s the root of depression.
Many people learn to “fake” positive emotions because they teach us we cannot express negative feelings. Accepting the full range of our feelings can be scary. It makes us feel vulnerable. So, if the mind is engaged, it keeps us from feeling what’s going on. It’s a way of dampening our emotions. It’s a strategy that helps us fit in. But at what cost? We lose the key to wholeness. We learn to segregate feelings.
The modern society that was supposed to afford us more free time is just the opposite. Our minds are engaged nonstop. The handheld device becomes a new obsession instead of a tool. We forget how important for us to daydream, contemplate, and get in touch with what is going on inside. Our mind needs time to reset. We need to meditate. For that reason, we need to do this daily to maintain our health.
The Corporate Culture
As we mentioned above, the corporate culture has changed our lives. The corporate culture pervades life. Our culture demands a cheerful smile even when we are suffering emotionally. We learn to temper all emotions. Showing genuine social affection, like hugging, is strictly forbidden because this would place the corporation in jeopardy of a lawsuit.
It’s a culture that demands we guard our words, actions, and emotions so as not to offend their boundaries. It is vital for us to safeguard the corporation’s assets than to act like human beings. Expressing any negative emotion is unacceptable behavior. It trains us to deny our negative emotions.
So, learn to mute the full range of our emotions. Work culture teaches us to be monotone and emotionless. This training spills over into our personal lives, and we seek prescription drugs to numb out the negative. We lose the capacity to deal with what is causing the negative emotion. In this way, we can continue to be productive in the workplace. We become robots living a monotone existence.
Without highs and lows, life becomes meaningless. The full range of emotion is lost. We suppress negative feelings like fear or anger. This trend is unhealthy in the long-run. Even though this feels like a comfort zone, it’s a trap, and hiding our feelings becomes a habitual practice. When we resist or ignore our emotions, they can fester, which is unhealthy. You can’t medicate away your feelings forever.
Why Spiritual Exploration is Important
We are spiritual beings. And our emotions are a part of who we are. One of the common threads we have is the desire to seek the unknown. The inner quest requires us to experience the full range of emotions.
The above obstacles prevent us from accepting the full range of our emotions. We need to take time to do things that help us regain and retain our mental and physical health. The spiritual journey emphasizes this need to be whole. Learning to turn inward and allow yourself to “feel” everything has always taken courage. It’s a journey that is vital.
Getting in touch with your emotions’ full range is one of the essential keys to unlock your intuition and spiritual gifts. It teaches us the difference between meditation and worrying.
Turning inward and getting in touch with your emotions is not ruminating and being caught up in negative thoughts. Getting in touch starts with learning two tactics. First, learning to be Kind to Ourselves. The second is learning to be mindful. Add Mindfulness Meditation practice to your daily routine.
Learn to be Kind to Ourselves
The first key is learning to be kind to yourself. Provide time and space to be with yourself and allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgment. Engage in self-care. To understand what’s going on inside, you need to embrace your emotional center. Sometimes this center is turbulent, and we block it off because it is uncomfortable, but this is the key to wholeness.
Seek professional help if you need it. Remember, we lack the traditional support systems and free time to sort things out on our own. So, mental health professionals can help us get through the hard spots.
Learn to Be Mindful
The second key to getting in touch with your emotions is learning mindfulness meditation techniques. These aren’t accessories, and they are necessary tools to help you cope with the modern world’s increased stress.
One excellent strategy is to use modern technology to remind us. Set a calendar reminder at least once a day with a keyword like, “meditate or mindfulness break.” Then, use your willpower to take a break. Once you’ve done this for a while, you’ll look forward to this mental oasis. That’s when your mindfulness and meditation breaks will start to pay off.
Some personality types find it easier to feel their emotions. Those who understand Enneagram Type 4 know that they can become fixated on their feelings. Type 9 would be more inclined to ignore their feelings as a strategy to “make it” through the day.
Enneagram Personality Profile
We highly recommend the Enneagram Personality Profile. It’s a part of the necessary tools of our blended learning process. This tool can help you identify your burdens and also guide you in learning to lay them down. The Enneagram Personality Profile is a set of scientifically validated questions. This tool will enable you to identify your default personality and instinct settings.
The full range of emotion is a barometer of our psyche. We were designed to live as an expression of the maximum bandwidth from negative to positive. The key to finding happiness is accepting that there will be both highs and lows.
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(1) Early Modern Age, Wikipedia
(2) Industrial Revolution, Wikipedia
(3) Contemporary Period, Wikipedia
(4) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia