Handling emotions is an incredibly difficult process. Emotional distress creates conflict and slows a person’s healing process. Much of healing others comes down to helping a person learn how to get past and work with emotional turmoil.
What Are Emotions?
Emotions are the velcro that keeps us in our stories. When you’re feeling emotional, you’re feeling an attachment to a story.
This leads to some very interesting truths.
One: Emotions change relative to the story they are within.
So example, the love you feel for your partner will be different than the love you feel for your parents and different than the love you feel for your friends. It’s love each time, but the story itself changes the emotion very profoundly.
Two: Emotions are more than in your mind.
We store emotions in our muscles. Hormones and pheromones change emotional responses. Emotions have a bio chemical component in addition to being mental processes. As an example: if you get hit, the pain and fear of getting hurt gets stored in the muscle and body where you were hit upon.
This is why for more serious work in handling emotions, I have my students exercise, dance and when possible get a massage.
Emotional responses are also stored in how and the style with which we express and tell our stories.
Three: Emotions add depth to your experiences.
Emotions add richness and persistence to your efforts. Without our emotions, we wouldn’t push through the more difficult challenges in life. When we approach something emotionally, we dig and dive into that process much deeper. The difference between failure and success are often within the emotional response. This knife cuts both directions of course, but without emotions, we wouldn’t be here now. Learning how to work emotionally is far more than simply removing all your clingy responses.
In working with people, I have discovered a very interesting truth:
It takes 3 seconds to process a thought yet it takes 3 months to process a deep emotion.
This has profound implication on how to work through problems.
Great patience is required when working through the more emotional challenges of our life. A person often gets frustrated they cannot work through their emotions as fast as they figure things out intellectually. As a result, many processes of healing are a back an forth affair as we go between intellectual realizations and emotional release.
As any person who is releasing a relationship in their life can attest to: it’s a hell of a process to come to terms with your emotions. If you force that process of coming to terms to only be about the facts, you will do more damage to yourself spiritually. If you work with the emotions, then the emotional healing process introduces many moments of challenge that then lead to the insights of growth and transcendence.
When helping a person heal, a critical part of the process is helping them pace with their emotional timeline as much as their mental timeline.
Many arguments often end up tangled in the emotions of the situation.
You can’t argue emotions.
Well you can but it will always result in conflict.
When it boils down to emotions: it simmers down to what you “feel” as compared to what they “feel”.
People often confuse what they “feel” for “fact”. Of course, this happens, since when “feeling” something, it’s a “fact” for a person. And it becomes a fact no one can dispute as it’s centered in that person’s soul and perception. So anything that disrupts how it “feels” ends up being something that then contradicts those emotional facts…
In other words: Tread carefully, Here be dragons.
So when in an argument with someone and the emotional swords come out, you have three options:
- Back off and try again later when emotions can be removed out from the conversation.
- Accept the argument has gone into the realm of emotions. Don’t try to justify anything, instead recognize you are talking emotionally, not as facts and let it flow like wild water ride.
- Gear up for a beat down fight. Know this isn’t a fight about what is right but rather about appeasing feelings. Emotional feelings are never appeased by facts; they require guttural emotional appeasement and sacrifice.
When people respond with emotional logic like :
“You cant know what I feel”
“You weren’t there”
You cannot respond to it: since it is an emotional argument. In fact you could often say the very same thing back in reply, and it would also be 100% true towards the other person.
We are all different people with different love/pains and they never correlate 1 to 1 with each other. As a result, we each speak slightly different languages when talking about emotions despite using the same words, so emotional arguments end up being endless circular arguments of translations when trying to reconcile emotional states.
Emotional Arguments are not about what is “right” nor about fact.
Instead they are all about release, letting go of pent up emotions to be free so a person can move on to a better place. Often what gets said in emotional arguments are better released than held onto to fester inside one’s soul.
So when handling emotions, especially another person’s, be aware the process Is about the release (note: coming to terms is a form of release). Most people try to “see facts” or to be “eye to eye”. Instead, emotional work is about coming to terms with the stories that are at odds with each other.
Remember emotions release at a much longer timescale than thoughts. The biochemical aspect of emotions means you will need the crowbar of “space” to simmer down the various emotional arguments in play and then come back at a later point.
Learn to Acknowledge, Accept and Release yourself in the process of handling emotions.