We’ve all suffered emotionally throughout our lives. Similarly, we’ve all experienced trauma, regardless to what degree it personally manifested. Yet once we become an adult, each and every one of us has the responsibility to alleviate our suffering and redesign our mind into a more functional and healthy state of existence.
When we’re born, we’re forced through environmental conditioning which will always have both its positives and negatives. Our greatest influences are generally our parents, followed by our peers. This ‘programming’ is also deeply embedded in the societal and cultural paradigms of our time.
When we enter into our early teens we begin to question who we are and the world around us with greater veracity. If our energy or inner fire strongly conflicts with how we’ve been ‘taught’ to live, then we’ll rebel heavily. In contrast, if we’ve been given respectful discipline and realistic information by our parents, as well as a really good opportunity to independently explore and create how we think and behave, then we’re less likely to engage the world in contempt. That’s because we’re much more free than others who have been forced into the box they’re in.
And that’s the reality for most young teens, even in this age of information. Unfortunately, most parents haven’t been taught some of the knowledge and skills required for healing and growing their own energy, so it goes without saying that if they can’t look after themselves properly, then we can’t expect them to look after their children properly. The reality is we can only work with what we’ve got.
That doesn’t mean however that parents and society in general haven’t taught children some really good beliefs and values in life. They’re the positives. Yet the negative aspects that we harbour as we grow into adulthood, such as poor emotional regulation, are our own responsibility to rewire neurologically and redesign conceptually. Simply, it’s up to us to question and understand everything that we’ve become so we can determine what’s worth keeping and what’s worth shedding.
After all, once we’re an adult, we design who we are.
What follows are five signs which show that we’ve freed ourselves of being primarily controlled by our emotions. These evolved characteristics are recommended as they facilitate an ongoing sense of inner peace being experienced in our lives, which should be one of the primary priorities to anyone who has been given the gift of living on our planet earth.
1. We understand the difference between our emotions and our feelings
Everybody has the same emotions, yet we all have different feelings. These two human states are distinct not only because they are processed in different areas of the brain, but because emotions are primarily physical, whilst feelings are mostly mental constructs.
Our feelings are a mixture of our emotions, beliefs, philosophies, thoughts and memories. All these aspects come together to not just influence the initial emotions that we have, but also determine how we ‘feel’ about what is going on in our world. Therefore, understanding the difference between our emotions and feelings is critical to contextualising our emotions into the bigger pictures of our lives.
2. Instead of holding onto challenging emotions, we let them go
Emotions like fear and anger can be harmful if we carry them around with us. They are certainly helpful in specific situations to ensure our survival, however those circumstances are few and far between. Why is it then that our normal waking experience is usually one that can be chosen to be enjoyed, but ongoing ‘feelings’ of stress, rage and other suffering continues to plague the daily lives of so many? One reason is that they haven’t learned to let shit go.
We need to manage emotions like fear and anger so they no longer control our feelings and behaviours. It is a process though. First, embrace them as a part of our human experience. Then, understand them, as well as contextualise them into our beliefs and philosophies to utilise for our learning and growth. After we have taken the positive out of challenging emotional experiences, that’s when we can let them go, especially so we don’t encourage the negative aspects to manifest.
3. Instead of reacting to our experience, we respond to it
Giving ourselves that little space to process what we’re going through allows us the time to ‘consciously’ incorporate our emotions into our philosophies on life. We have challenging experiences that bring up potent emotions all the time, yet responding instead of reacting to those experiences is self-empowering because then we’re more likely to treat ourselves with healthy and positive energy instead of getting sucked into unhealthy states of stress and pain.
For example, when somebody does something to us that is rude, do we instantly react with anger or do we allow that emotion to drift into our belief system so that we respond in a compassionate and developed way? After all, if they’re behaving rudely, we know they’re already suffering, so do we really want to react in a way that will also cause us to suffer too? Not if we don’t want our emotions to control us we won’t.
4. We have overcome our depression and anxiety
Professional and self-administered psychotherapy, in conjunction with good health, is what cures depression and anxiety, not pharmaceutical drugs. The success rate of these drugs facilitating a recovery, by providing a more balanced chemical production in the body, is evidently low; however in some cases it does assist a person to undertake the psychotherapy they need to overcome their mental illness. Nevertheless, it’s rearranging the subconscious and conscious mind over a good commitment of time which truly deals with these problems effectively.
These two ‘diagnoses’ are not primarily emotional states, they’re ‘feelings’. In general, sadness is the base emotion to depression and fear is the base emotion to anxiety, so it’s these emotions that we need to functionally process so that they no longer drive our primary feelings about life. Our thoughts and beliefs play an integral role in these harmful mental states, so that’s what we need to change to release the grip of those core emotions and permanently overcome depression and anxiety. That’s psychotherapy in action; if you want to learn more please read this article.
Note: this is not intended to replace medical advice, if you have significant mental health challenges please engage with professional and community supports.
5. We treat all people with love, respect and compassion
It takes an emotionally empowered person to respond to poorly behaved people with love, respect and compassion. That’s not saying that we should take shit off others either; we can still be direct and assertive, as well as being kind at the same time. If we don’t let our emotions control us, then a loving, respectful and compassionate state of the mind and heart flows through our engagement and communication with people, no matter how dysfunctional their actions.
That’s because we don’t let emotions like fear and anger control our response, such as reacting to rage with rage, to stress with stress, or to indecency to indecency. As previously stated, our feelings about life, which include our thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and memories, need to be empowered so that we don’t allow our emotions to take full control of us when we’re faced with difficult people or challenging experiences.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip J Watt lives in Australia. He best identifies as a ‘self-help guide’. His written work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook or visit his website.