Many of us have lost touch with our emotions. Losing touch with our emotions starts at a really young age before we even realize what is happening. We don’t even notice it.
By the time we become adults, we think being out of touch with our emotions is normal. We don’t realize we have lost an important part of being our true selves.
Are you out of touch with your emotions? Read on to find out more.
A very brief history of emotions
In our ancient past, emotions were an important part of life. Art, music and dance were a way to express emotions and important truths. Dreams were a source of understanding ourselves.
Later, emotions became associated with being disorganized and a loss of control. Philosophers, such as Rene Descartes, viewed emotions as part of our primitive nature and not to be trusted. Reason was thought to reflect our higher spiritual nature.
More recently, many training programs for therapists focused on cognitive and behavioral methods. Emotions were something to be controlled, managed, or coped with – not an aspect to be engaged for transformation and change.
In western culture, we value logic and rational thought. Our culture is not very comfortable with emotions and your family may not have been either. Usually we learn to label our emotions and that is about it.
What science is telling us
Neuroscientists are painting a different picture of emotions. They are finding that emotions are the prime organizing force that shapes how we cope with life’s challenges. Antonio Damasio, author of The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, says that emotion shapes and organizes our experience and connects us to others.
Without emotions we cannot make even the simplest decision. People who have brain injuries that affect their ability to feel emotions are not able to learn from their mistakes and they are unable to form healthy relationships.
Emotions are crucial to happiness and well being.
How you learned to distrust your emotions
When the adults around us discounted our emotions or told us that we were wrong for feeling a certain emotion, we begin to doubt ourselves. After all these are adults and they must know more than we do.
Young boys are often told that “Boys don’t cry.” When a young boy is not able to cry, he is forced to suppress or stuff any emotions of sadness or pain. You may have been told that it was not okay to feel anger toward your mother. Or you may have been told, “You’re not really upset. Just get over it.”
As children we learned to doubt ourselves and stuff our true emotions.
How a painful childhood affects your emotions
Traumatic and painful experiences can cut us off from our true emotions. When a child is unable to experience an emotion in the moment, that painful emotion becomes stuck in the body.
According to Candace Pert who wrote Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, these emotions are stored at the cellular level. Instead of feeling our true emotions we feel painful emotions from childhood. We learn to distrust our emotions.
Even if you don’t remember the trauma, the emotion is still affecting you.
How this affects you today
When you stuff an emotion, it does not go away. Changing our thoughts does not address the painful emotions stored in the body.
Which emotions have you stuffed? Anger, fear, and shame cause stress in our body and depress our immune system.
Love, gratitude, and acceptance support our immune system, our health, and happiness. Suppressed emotions can keep you from feeling accurate emotions about present moment.
The poetry of emotion process can help
The poetry of emotion process teaches you to communicate with your emotions using the language of emotion. Emotions are not rational. They communicate using metaphors, stories, and images. Anger might be a volcano in chest. Betrayal is a knife through the heart. Love is a warm heart or a heart filled with light.
Did you need to feel loved, safe, respected, valued or nurtured. Did you just need someone to hug you and tell you it will be okay?
Using a three step process, you can release painful emotions without reliving any traumatic memories. During the process you reclaim your true emotion – the emotion you were meant to have.
If you are out of touch with your emotions, you may not find a typical emotional poem. When you scan your body, you may find a lack of sensation or blackness or a blank wall. You may have have a sense of “I don’t know”. That is fine. That will be your starting point with the poetry of emotion process. As you release these blocks to feeling, you will begin to uncover emotional wounds from the past. You can release these without reliving any traumatic memories. It will become safe to feel again.
Click on Are You New to the Site? to learn more about the theory of the process or scroll down (on that same page) to get started releasing painful emotions.
How will your life change when you can trust your emotions?
(Image: joegreen2007 @Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/37510826@N06/3451194212/)