There is a deep sacredness in the art of allowing ourselves to be present with each emotion from beginning to end. It is here, we gain access to learning HOW to feel what is inevitably temporary and fleeting. Some emotions challenge us in our concept of time, however, especially those we choose to define as uncomfortable. Yet it is crucial to believe there is always a choice in defining them. Feeling, is subjective in nature with many layers of experience held in the emotional makeup of the individual. What one feels is unique, solely based on their perspective and how they’ve interacted with notions of the heart. This is important to understand for learning purposes throughout this reading. What the beholder chooses to see will be the experience they create for themselves in this lifetime. Honorably, we begin to learn who we are when we detach from the identity applied because of an emotion. Being that discovering the divine meaning is innate human nature, this is an art that would be beneficial to quality of life.
It is my opinion that the emotions collectively defined as uncomfortable, are given too much power and stunts growth when aiming to achieve self-actualization. To understand how this is so, we need to find what self-actualization means to the one having the experience. In psychological history, self-actualization is explained to be “how” an individual comes to their full potential as a functioning human in their existence. This too, is related to the subjective conscious experience one has throughout their life. Many feelings play a role in how this is determined, for one must develop an ability to be introspective to distinguish who they are and how the world around them is to be viewed. Expanding the individual’s talents when it comes to feeling emotion becomes imperative in this theory to prevent said experience to be lived in a reactionary state due to emotion being at the center of control. Hence why learning to embrace even the most uncomfortable of these feelings is critical to having the best life experience one could have.
It is possible to view emotions merely as a triggered biological response from outside influences. Fear, for example, is at the top of those responses. This comes from the basic human instinct to protect itself from outside threats. Being that humans have an ingrained need for survival, this mechanism is important to produce the chemicals necessary for the human body to attain that goal. Just as well it serves to train the mind to keep away from dangers that pose the alternative to survival which of course, is death. One would simply be unaware danger was imminent without these neurological firings and understandings. The same can be said for feelings such as pain, sadness, and anger. This can be argued that these emotions are also biological responses, one being triggered by the other. Therefore, to the individual feeling it, they become one and the same. Fear, pain, and anger can all be combined under an umbrella of emotions that run together as a whole. Each plays a role in the biological functioning of the human body. They are not only normal responses but are needed in some circumstances to continue living. However, if a person is exposed to external factors that cause a continuous cycle of these responses, damage not only happens in the nervous system but to the psyche of the individual. Self-actualization cannot be achieved when trapped in this state of perpetual fear response and the life experience becomes futile.
Once it is understood how science plays a part in an emotional response, it is important to know that has nothing to do with how an emotion is interpreted. Science becomes inconsequential when learning how to truly feel in a way that allows you to evolve in the self-actualization process. As humans, we are placed in a restraint-filled environment with many factors that inhibit our ability to experience emotional freedom. Whether it’s the reputation built to protect the outside world from viewing what we hold inside or the notion that we MUST feel or act a certain way to be accepted or socially sane. Either way we are taught from a young age what an emotion IS and how it SHOULD be felt. It is safe to assume that almost every person has a common set of rules on how to deal with unattractive feelings such as fear, anger, sadness- etc. The reality is that since each person’s reality is subjective and experience-dependent, so should be the manner they choose to feel. This is not to say every thought or immediate reaction should be acted upon. The inherent opposite happens when one begins to experience emotional freedom. We begin to move out of the state of being reactionary when we learn how to flow with the emotion rather than dancing in the illusion that we can control them.
Another realization in learning the art of feeling comes with accountability in how we give value to our emotional responses. As Humans we tend to have a relationship with emotion that causes us to identify AS them, as opposed to WITH them. When fear is felt we think to describe it with statements such as“ I am scared”. The reality is you cannot BE scared, you can only feel the response to the external factor in front of you. This is the beauty in existence, you cannot exist as fear or any other emotion for that matter. You can only exist as the human body experiencing the life it has been cast into. With that being said, it is impossible to achieve a reality where you do not have to feel these uncomfortable states of awareness. It is, however, possible to LEARN how to feel it in a way that fuels your progression in functioning rather than hindering the life experience you are intending to create. This is where the transformative process of “I feel therefore I am” becomes “I choose therefore I am Not”.
So what is to be said for those unfortunate enough to live in the reactionary state of being caused by an overstimulated nervous system that has endured continuous traumatic occurrences? It can be assumed statistically that retraining a damaged psyche and nervous system is close to unachievable. Although there is some regrettable truth to that, I can personally say that it is possible. I began this piece in hopes to share my personal outlook on the ability to override the firings that create an uninhabitable mind. One that lives in the fight or flight response and eventually loses the will to survive altogether. Ultimately, I see that I am merely offering a perspective gained through living in that state of reactionary being for more than my fair share of years. I can say I have survived and found a way to recreate this state for myself and more importantly, so can you if you see fit.
The art of embracing the dark side of emotion becomes deeply sacred when remembering that art is unique to its creator. Just like a painter transforms his deepest visions onto a canvas, emotions too can be transformed into a work of beauty from the heart created by the one undergoing the experience of learning to embrace them. When we release the human instinct and remember the true nature of existing to just simply be, the temporary control emotions have on us relinquishes their grip. To accomplish this, one must find the will to take accountability for how their perspectives shape the definition of what these feelings mean to them and decide on how to proceed. Choosing to not identify as the emotion at hand can be helpful, but one must realize how many choices they truly have for this to be of greatest service. A person must have the fortitude to shift lifetimes of experiences and shed those layers to find the ability to surrender into embracing rather than reacting when such emotions appear. This is not an unachievable feat for the courageous. If you ask me, it is an act of courage enough on its own to make the choice to continue living in a world that seems beyond our control. It almost seems foolish to allow such an incredible experience like living be destroyed by temporary happenings of the heart. Our wondrous ability lies within choosing how we want our life experience to feel. When this ability is gained, we no longer exist as merely a reaction with a heartbeat, but a heartbeat that demands life out of the world around us.