Over the past four months we have looked at the four primary emotions (anger, fear, sadness, love) and saw how these emotions may have gotten misrepresented by childhood rules and messages.
The resulting links in the Life Experience Chain were then some irrational and damaging BELIEFS leading to illogical and self-defeating THOUGHTS that your FEELINGS were painful and intolerable. Consequently, feelings were either unaddressed, repressed, or misidentified for a more “acceptable” feeling.
This month we will concentrate on how to start making your feelings work for you instead of against you. In each of the four months you read that feelings are the body’s response to thoughts, and that feelings also serve a purpose. If you still believe some of the fallacies about feelings (see May 2017 blog), then you are going to resist and try to avoid them. Allow feelings to become your friends; let them help you.
Step One: recognize that you are feeling something. Stop, breathe, and let the feeling come up to the surface of your awareness. Go with the feeling; don’t try to fight it. The more you struggle against it, the harder it tries to grab your attention.
Step Two: name the emotion. What are the sensations you are feeling? Where in your body did the sensation start? (See the blogs on each emotion that describes this). You need to know which friend is talking to you.
Step Three: listen to what your friend is telling you. Anger, Fear, and Sadness come to tell you something is wrong. Check it out. What is happening? If Anger is vying for your attention, then maybe you or someone else is being misused in some way. Fear might be whispering frantically “Take heed. There’s danger!” Sadness tugging at your sleeve may be saying “Pay attention. You’re hurting.”
Step Four: determine if this is accurate … do these warnings pertain to something that is happening now or to a past event? If it is to a past event, then you have been triggered; we will be examining triggers next month.
Step Five: pay attention. If you have NOT been triggered then you will need to decide if something needs to be done or not. Action does not necessarily need to occur but your acknowledgement of the emotion does.
Putting It Together
What are some of your experiences with anger?
How do you currently handle anger?
What are some of your experiences with fear?
How do you currently handle fear?
What are some of your experiences with sadness?
How do you currently handle sadness?
What are some of your experiences with love?
How do you currently handle love?
As a child, you were not responsible for the rules and messages you received about the feelings. You do have a choice as an adult about changing those. You have the right to change them into helpful and manageable feelings that validate and empower you.
Choose today to start making changes. Change will occur as you continue to:
- Properly identify the emotions you feel.
- Begin to use them as they were designed to be used.
- Start to act on these new responses.
|painful, intolerable FEELINGS helpful, manageable
|illogical, self-defeating THOUGHTS logical, self-enhancing
|irrational, damaging BELIEFS rational, healing
|unhealthy, dishonouring healthy, trustworthy
given to me as a CHILD RULES AND MESSAGES created by me as an ADULT
(This is a story I wrote to depict my teachings on the four emotions and the Life Experience Chain.)
Once upon a “fairy’s tail”, in the town of Dynamics, there lived a little girl named Miss Di Rected. Di lived with her father Fallacy and her mother Myth. Di had four companions that she spent time with: Fear, Anger, Sadness, and Love. Di found that although her four friends were quite different from each other, each made a special contribution to their relationship and she got along very well with them.
However, as time passed and Di got a little older, her father and mother joined a club called The Stiff Upper Lip. Fallacy and Myth wanted to make a good impression on the club members and so they began to make changes in their lives. They told Di that she could no longer associate with three of her friends Anger, Fear, and Sadness and that she should even limit the amount of time she spent with Love.
“Anger is nothing but a bully,” they said. “Fear is just too, too silly, and Sadness acts too much like a baby and you’re too old to hang around with her.”
Di tried to object, telling Fallacy and Myth that they had the wrong impressions of her companions. She said, “Anger is assertive, not aggressive. She stands up for me when others try to bully me. And Fear, why Fear warns me of danger and keeps me safe. Sadness isn’t a baby; she’s just compassionate and helps me to recognize losses. Love … well Love is wonderful and I don’t want to lose her either. Why do I have to stop having them around?”
But her parents stood firm. Di found that she could not reason with Fallacy and Myth or change their perceptions at all. Di was obedient and said goodbye to her friends Anger, Fear, and Sadness and she saw less and less of her friend Love.
Soon Miss Di Rected was having a great deal of difficulty. It seemed her strength had been sapped and she’d thrown caution to the wind as she got deeper and deeper into trouble … getting hurt, being abused, and developing a toughness that greatly concerned Love.
Love talked to her own parents Truth and Wisdom about the terrible changes she saw in Di. “It’s like she doesn’t even recognize or acknowledge me anymore. I don’t know how to reach her. But she’s my friend … can you help her?”
Truth and Wisdom met the next day with Fallacy and Myth. They explained how they had once thought about joining The Stiff Upper Lip club too as it had looked appealing. However, when they had inquired into the club’s RULES they discovered they were based on a faulty BELIEF system. Truth and Wisdom helped Fallacy and Myth to see how this had all affected the various CHOICES and DECISIONS they had made. Di’s parents were horrified when they realized the effect their good intentions had on Di. They re-evaluated their THOUGHTS about Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Love, and saw how these friends had actually been a good influence on Di’s BEHAVIOUR.
No “fairy’s tail” would be complete without a happy “ending”. Miss Di Rected once again began to associate with her friends and grew into a healthy well adjusted woman. Her positive LIFE EXPERIENCE prompted her to change her name; she’s now called … Di Amond!
Copyrighted May 24,1994 by Judith S. Carscadden
Next month … TRIGGERS!
Judith S. Carscadden