As humans, one of the most amazing God given gifts we have that sets us apart from other living things is emotion. It is actually a super-power, yet I am not sure we really understand or use it. I didn’t for a long time. We judge emotion. We hide emotion. We ignore emotion. We run from emotion. We blame emotion. We criticise emotion. However, do you understand, accept, and use emotion to help you move forward in life? If you have the courage to spend time in it, trust me, the answer lies in your emotion.
If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast, Healing through feeling, with Matthew Caruana, I want to encourage you to do so. He is the most powerful and inspiring example of what I am talking about in this blog. He spent much of his early life holding in, stuffing down and ignoring his emotions. He felt worthless, insecure, and depressed to the point, at age 16, he attempted to take his own life. Thankfully, he failed, even though he became a paraplegic. At his lowest point in the hospital, still feeling the same way about himself as before attempting suicide, he now had to deal with significant physical trauma.
Finally, with nowhere to run, no drugs to take, no gym at which to build his biceps and no other way of masking his emotions, he was forced to face them. He did, and whilst painful and confronting it put him on the path to find passion and purpose in his life. He is now having a powerful and positive impact on the lives of many people. If you want to know more about Matt, and his incredible story, you will need to listen to the podcast. Just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby!
I have been plagued by anxiety my whole life. I have been confused by it. I have been affected by it. I have reacted to it. I have put up with it. I have ignored it. I have resigned myself to it. Then, I finally decided to explore it and question it. You see, for much of my life, I sabotaged myself in many areas of life, including sporting pursuits, career & business aspirations, and love interests. I didn’t make the connection between my anxiety and these ‘failures’ until I stopped to assess. I got to the moment when I said, enough is enough. I sat with my anxiety, and I really let it surround me, and then I asked a key question. I asked, why am I feeling this and what thoughts am I focusing on?
You see, for many people certain emotions stem from unconscious thoughts that have been brewing for many years. It’s easy to understand where the anger comes from when some insults us. It’s not so easy to identify the source of chronic anxiety we have just put up with for decades. After some deep reflection, I found the source of my anxiety. It had come from the incorrect belief that I was not enough. A belief I had harboured since childhood and one which had affected everything I did in my life to that point. Once I had an understanding and awareness of that belief, I was able to begin the journey of changing the thought process, changing my focus and, all of a sudden, things started changing in my life.
If I say I am grateful for my anxiety, would that surprise you? If I declare I am appreciative of fear, anger, sadness, resentment, and shame, does that make any sense at all? Knowing what I now know, all emotion holds within it the answers to joy, health and prosperity. We just need to pay attention, go inside and find those powerful answers. As I have said, many times, all emotion is good. Why do I say that? Simply because, emotion is your body’s way of giving you life-changing information. Your only job is to listen, pay attention and take the necessary action.
When you sit with anger, you will understand the perspective you have about a person or situation, and you will be able to decide if that is a healthy perspective or not, and change it if required. When you spend time with your fear, you will possibly realise that what you are afraid of is not that scary at all. You may then be ready to take the action you have been putting off for so long. When you allow yourself to experience anxiety, you will probably find, like I did, you have some very incorrect belief about yourself and your potential, and then be a position to change. Even when you feel joy, gratitude, and empowerment, it’s a good idea to really be there and feel them, so you know how to spend more time experiencing these incredibly healthy emotions.
My greatest plea is that you face, and don’t ignore your emotions. My hope is that you will embrace, not judge the things you feel. It is my desire that you will feel grateful every time you experience anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, resentment, and shame, because within them lies answers to questions you have previously been unable to answer. Make no mistake, within each and every emotion you experience lies information, insights and answers. You just need to have the courage to go in there and look.