Monday, January 18, 2010

Experiencing Raw Emotion

It’s a scary thought for most people, the experience of raw emotion. Rather like being smashed against the rocks, but in a way that leaves no scars, raw emotion is clean, even cauterised—it’s like fear. Seems huge but really is very manageable.

Being alive again (or perhaps for the very first time!) is about being in a position where feelings are met exactly how they come—that’s head on.

The problem is we’ve all adapted so readily to protecting ourselves we hardly feel our raw emotions anymore. Instead, we feel the mimicking emotions like anger. Whenever we have an angry outburst we’re almost certainly rejecting our real feelings—our raw emotions. It is part of the reason we’re angry. We’re not being honest with ourselves and deep down we know it!

We can almost be forgiven for protecting and anesthetising ourselves, after all it’s a harsh, unsympathetic and nasty outer world out there. Nobody seems to care (or so we’re tempted to think and therefore believe). And then there are all the pressures which we need to ‘escape from.’

Enter the drug and alcohol problem. We only ever need these to cope when our feelings—our raw emotions—get too big on us. It’s easier and far more pleasurable to reject the feeling and numb the ailing mind and heart.

The trouble is we enter the sinkhole syndrome.

Not only do we not deal with our rabid emotions, we now have something more to deal with; dependency to a harmful substance. Alcohol and other drugs—the short-term fix—just complicate things more. The more we use a substance the less we’re able to cope naturally.

And by far the commonest inappropriate coping mechanism is overeating. ‘Comfort eating’ as it’s called is just another form of denying raw emotion.

We can get back to our raw emotions but it takes a long-held patient commitment to honesty. This takes courage and faith. But the benefits are worth it because we get to live a more fearless life.

The experience of raw emotion is very potent, very real. We get specific bodily aches and pains in response to our emotions due to the “brain” matter we have in our hearts and stomaches and other bodily organs. This is nothing to be scared of. In fact, it’s actually fun (in a weird way) to truly feel these.

When we become more in touch with our truer, raw emotions we’ll not reach anger anywhere near as quickly, and we’ll have the opportunity to find a way of coping—for there is always a good way to do this.

The benefits?

If anger management is an issue for us, learning how to experience and deal with our raw emotions will empower us to control our anger. In fact, anger will hardly even be a matter of our conscious awareness. We ordinarily don’t need to go there. (The exception is indignation—righteous anger we feel when there’s true injustice experienced.)

The best benefit is the load lifted from our shoulders and the burden from our hearts in meeting the world’s impact square on.

We do become freer, more alive, more fun, more loving, compassionate and courageous people!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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