We don’t have to look far to come home to our narcissistic selves. If we see life full of suffering we may be undergoing a lamentable transformation. If there’s anger, just now, for the injustice ‘surely anyone can see!’ then there’s probably an unreconciled frustration, and a block to our feelings deep down, within. If we’re unstimulated regarding what we see in our world there may be little feeling going on closer to home.
Proof of this truism is cited in the following two quotes:
“A person sees in the world what they carry in their heart.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Adapted for gender inclusivity)
“Just as water reflects the face,
so one human heart reflects another.”
~Proverbs 27:19 (NRSV)
Discovering The Reflective World
We’re in a good position to self-diagnose if only we can be honest about ourselves, with ourselves. This sort of psychology is not rocket science.
We may open the way to greater happiness simply by negotiating these fundamental truths—for instance, if we’re angry, why? A person battling with anger within will generally find themselves angry without; everyone else will know about it. The road-rager is taking out on the world—that innocent driver before them—what’s unreconciled within them. There’s no point in being ashamed of our anger or its consequences (though we’re sure to be, because we’ve lacked the self-control we all want to be known for). Being ashamed isn’t going to resolve our inability to manage our anger. Only by exploring the emotional source of the anger—the ‘why’—will we be able to reconcile the vehement energy bubbling away just beneath the surface.
It’s the same with our sadness, guilt, grief, and sense of abandonment. Resolving them any way we can—and there’s always a way—is the only thing making any sense.
The presence of anything negative in the emotional setting is a critical clue to the climate deep beneath, possibly even unconscious to us. Our emotions, therefore, become important reflectors of how we’re really going in life.
Working With What We’ve Got
Sometimes all we have is what we can observe; the way people are treating us, how our interactions are going, and how we’re feeling, truthfully, within.
Reflection should be an activity we can do at ease with ourselves, without pressure to think or act a certain way. It’s important when dealing with our perceptions—our view of the world that’s never 100% correct—that we weigh possibility as more pertinent than fact. It’s possible that we’re this way or that way; it’s possible that another person is this way or that way. These are just possibilities, not facts.
But possibilities are things we can work from. They get us to pause and think. The mere presentation of emotions, in us or in others as they relate to us, can indicate something we ought to know about—something we can do something about.
How we feel about our world reflects how we feel within about ourselves. The emotions are an important indicator. Living happier requires exploring these emotions; it’s asking why. There’s nothing to fear in exploring the emotions. A more controlled life stands to be gained.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.