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Emotions, the neglected negative


moonrise - courtesy of matthew best

I spent most of my life running but I didn’t know it.  I’m not athletic, so the running I was doing wasn’t with my legs.  It was with my mind.  I had no idea how powerful my mind was, until I stopped running from feelings I judged as “negative”.  Suddenly the floodgates opened and I was caught in what seemed like a house of mirrors inside a flash flood.  In the dark.

This was several years ago, but it wasn’t a brief experiment.  On the contrary, it was a purposeful upheaval.  I practiced long and hard to unlearn what seemed like a mental artform.  I realized I had been a master of deception, to myself more than anyone else.  In some ways, the mind is more powerful than the emotions, and I discovered — much to my surprise — that I had mental gymnastics down pat.  I was an Olympian mental gymnast, in fact.  Even when I had dealt with emotions, I dealt with them in a mental way.  I had talked about them, had analyzed them, had read books by people who overcame their “negative emotions”.  

For the most part, the talking and analyzing and reading had done an excellent job at dropping all that negativity.  But it was there.  It was dormant, like a volcano.  I would smile and smile and smile and look on the bright side whenever things got frustrating.  But eventually, once in a blue moon, some little thing would set me off.  Like the old lady in the supermarket who took forever to count out the money from her changepurse.  Or the driver who cut me off on the road.  Suddenly I was like a white-hot poker ready to take someone’s eye out.  Maybe then I’d make a snide comment, make myself feel better.  But afterwards, guilt would say it’s wrong to be angry at the poor old lady or the fast driver, and so I’d turn the poker on myself.  The house of mirrors had begun.

Slowly I got better at catching the point when I talk myself out of a feeling.  It happens with lightning speed, they are barely verbal thoughts, so I had to be really on it and then go back to that place where I had bypassed a sliver of feeling.  I’m still in the process of unlearning those brilliant tricks of negating the negative. 

 To me, the power of positive thinking is just another way of saying “mind control”, for what is mind control than controlling one’s thoughts, whether it is someone doing it to you, or you doing it to yourself.  The emotional/feeling complex is feminine and receptive.  It is the “negative”, or magnetic, charge.  It only puts out what it takes in, basically.  The mental/thinking complex is masculine and transmitive.  It is the “positive”, or electric, charge.  It puts out but doesn’t have to receive if it doesn’t want to.  So you can see how the mental capacity has the “upper hand” here in our psyche.  But ultimately, the emotions are where our power truly resides.

I had to consider why I felt the need to talk myself out of certain feelings.  They were mine, after all, so why was I judging myself so harshly?  Would I do that to my loved one?  My child, if I had one?  Right around when all this unlearning began I was introduced to essential oils.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Slowly they became part of my everyday life.  I would apply them morning and night, not to eliminate emotions but to ease the process along.  I felt less freaked out by “negativity” and more accepting of myself — all of myself, the anger and rage, the fear and terror, the anxiety and insecurity, the entire spectrum.

Along the way I came to realize that, as a chronic people-pleaser, when trying to help others I was really trying to help myself.  So I stopped making excuses for everyone else but me — I started to practice being self-centered.  I didn’t trample on others, but I considered my needs first and foremost.  I had to work at it; people-pleasing takes unlearning, too. 

After a while I noticed that the more I accepted my own “negativity” the more compassion I had for others with the same issues.  The curmudgeon was suddenly my favorite person.  The girl who I thought was a downer suddenly had a lot of really profound things to convey.  Miraculously, without even trying to be “a good person” anymore, I was one.  Through this “unlearning” process, I began learning new and amazingly complex things about myself and others.  By allowing feelings to surface without judgement, by ending the neglect of my negative emotions, I became more balanced and whole.  And happy.

courtesy of Helen Vanderbeek

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