Friday, January 26, 2007

Owning Our Emotions

This was yesterday's Daily Om:
Owning Your Emotions
Name It And Claim It

Our feelings can sometimes present a very challenging aspect of our lives. We experience intense emotions without understanding precisely why and consequently find it difficult to identify the solutions that will soothe our distressed minds and hearts. Yet it is only when we are capable of naming our feelings that we can tame them by finding an appropriate resolution. We retake control of our personal power by becoming courageous enough to articulate, out loud and concisely, the essence of our emotions. Our assuming ownership of the challenges before us in this way empowers us to shift from one emotional state to another-we can let go of pain and upset because we have defined it, examined the effect it had on our lives, and then exerted our authority over it by making it our own. By naming our feelings, we claim the right to divest ourselves of them at will.

As you prepare to acknowledge your feelings aloud, gently remind yourself that being specific is an important part of exercising control. Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you. If you are afraid of a situation or intimidated by an individual, try not to mince words while giving voice to your anxiety. The precision with which you express yourself is indicative of your overall willingness to stare your feelings in the face without flinching. Naming and claiming cannot always work in the vacuum of the soul. There may be times in which you will find the release you desire only by admitting your feelings before others. When this is the case, your ability to outline your feelings explicitly can help you ask for the support, aid, or guidance you need without becoming mired in the feelings that led you to make such an admission in the first place.

When you have moved past the apprehension associated with expressing your distressing feelings out loud, you may be surprised to discover that you feel liberated and lightened. This is because the act of making a clear connection between your circumstances and your feelings unravels the mystery that previously kept you from being in complete control of your emotional state. To give voice to your feelings, you must necessarily let them go. In the process, you naturally relax and rediscover your emotional equilibrium.
I think this is good advice to a point. There is a lot to be said for the naming of things, a practice by which we assume control over that which is named. This is a common motif in shamanic cultures, wherein the shaman often has a much bigger vocabulary than the average member of the group and hence has the power of naming. We even see this in the Old Testament with Adam being given the power to name, and with it power over all he has named.

But naming is a left-brain activity, necessarily rational and not very connected to feeling. While it helps to name our feelings, and gives us a certain sense of control over what can seem overwhelming at times, it also separates us from the feeling being named.

To truly own our emotions, we must be able to sit with them and let them move through us. This is much more of a right-brain activity. As we experience the energy moving through the body, and see whatever images come up in our minds, if we can just let that be okay and allow the energy to dissipate through the breath, then we can name it ("hello there fear") and release it.

It feels strange that I am even talking about this. Emotional awareness has been one of my biggest challenges over the years -- it has cost me relationships and created all manner of problems. Live and learn, isn't that the point.

Post a Comment