Well I hope everyone had a fun Halloween.
November is here and I’m really glad. It’s dark, wet, and dreary; the perfect conditions to want to stay home and read and write.
So while it may seem strange, I’m looking forward to this month and hoping that I’ll have more of a chance to withdraw into myself and to learn and grow!
JUDGING OUR EMOTIONS
“Generally speaking, if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain.”
The Dalai Lama
I read this quote by the Dalai Lama today and the last part of it kind of took me by surprise.
I just never imagined the Dalai Lama saying someone isn’t “right in the brain.” Haha!
But it was a response taken from an interview with him in Time Magazine in 2010 when he was asked if he ever feels angry or outraged.
His response was, “Oh yes, of course. I’m a human being. Generally speaking if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain.”
Then he laughed.
In context, he was obviously joking about the not right in the brain part, but he makes a good point.
The interviewer asked him this question under the presumption that anger or outrage is an emotion that is less “enlightened” or only expressed by those who are lesser than.
The Dalai Lama’s response was perfect.
Experiencing and even expressing anger is natural and human. It is the judgement of it that causes the issues.
So I began wondering what the consequences are of judging ourselves for feeling emotions that we have learned mean that we are in some way morally inept or lesser than others such as hatred, anger, disgust, etc. And, taking it a step further, what if we feel those things towards things that would be considered socially unacceptable. For example what I was disgusted by say…..a puppy?
What kind of judgement would I have of myself morally, or as a human being?
DENYING VERSUS EXPERIENCING EMOTIONS
We all know that there’s a difference between experiencing emotions and acting on them, but do we really know that?
It seems that there are many of us who suppress certain emotions because we feel they are unacceptable.
It’s as if we are trying to control our emotions. But we can’t, they’re just there.
It’s just like the Dalai Lama said, we’re human. That means we experience the full spectrum of emotions and we’re supposed to.
“Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”
So what happens when we try to “control” our emotions?
We miss the opportunity to learn from them.
When we judge our emotions as negative, we try to control them by suppressing them.
This suppression means we don’t allow ourselves to fully experience the emotions and eventually learn from them.
It also means that we risk our physical health because of the stress and anxiety we cause ourselves by allowing that critical inner voice.
LEARNING FROM OUR EMOTIONS
““We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”
The first step toward learning from our emotions is to accept them.
It never helps to put certain emotions in the “bad” category and try to switch them off.
We need to acknowledge them and take steps to gain self-awareness through them.
Once we’ve accepted how we feel, we can distance ourselves from our feelings enough to then reflect on them. We may not know right away where certain feelings are coming from, but over time we can keep learning more and more about ourselves by accepting them as tools for helping us learn about ourselves.
Easier said than done at times, but like anything else, it’s a process.