Updated: Nov 2, 2020
(Part 1 of 5)
Hey, is it just me, or is it fearful in here?
Why is it so challenging to tell if what we are feeling is valid and if others are feeling similarly? Why do we seem to be uncomfortable with feeling in general? Why do we exhibit fear of emotions? Why do we understand feelings so poorly and yet they seem to be as innate as having a physical heart and a brain or a big toe? Why do we insist on attempting to make others feel how we feel, especially when the feeling is negative?
Guilty. I have projected, sandblasted, lambasted, and splattered my negative emotions on everybody I have met. I am confident I have even done this to innocent bystanders as I walked past them judging myself in comparison to them, which results in a grimace or wince on my face that they then may have received as me judging them thereby perpetuating the negativity. Gross. Cut it out. Why is it regenerating? Make it stop.
Perhaps if we use the analogy of an ocean to create a visual representation of our emotions, then we can begin to understand how they impact ourselves and how they impact others. So, let's jump into your deep waters. No leaning over the boat edge first with your snorkel mask on to check for sharks. We will soon learn together that you and I already have the ability to bite and digest even the toothiest negative emotion that may be lurking below.
So, let's describe the oceans in a few simple ways. Oceans can be relatively deep or shallow, calm or turbulent. They can have cool sandy bottoms or hot molten rocky bottoms. Oceans can also impact our lives depending on its nautical mood. Swimmers on the shorelines need to be mindful of riptides so they do not get caught up in the tidal energy and sucked out to sea. Surfers need to be mindful of the size of the waves so they do not become pummeled and pinned down beneath the water while their surfboards tomb stone above them out of the water. Deep sea fishermen need to be mindful when the ocean teams up with the skies to overwhelm and capsize their boat with waterspouts and mega waves.
With that imagery in mind, consider the times when you have felt deep or shallow, calm or turbulent. Consider the moments when you have felt cool and smooth or hot, molten, and rocky on the inside. Think of the moments when you have sucked yourself out to emoceanal sea with your negative rip currents. Think of the days that you capsize and tomb stone yourself beneath the anger waves or become lost and drowned in your own sea of sadness.
Now consider the times when you have done that to others. Consider the times when others have done that to you. It is aggravating, particularly when we do not realize that it is happening in the moment. Sometimes these experiences seem to happen so quickly that we have clarity only when reflecting on what went down within us or between us and another person. These are the moments when we ask ourselves, "What the hell just happened?" Well, hell happened, but it doesn't have to happen, again.
How do we prevent these scenarios from repeating? How do we grow in our ability to manage our emotions? How do we grow in our ability to communicate productively with others during emotional exchanges so that we can:
Recognize a negative emotion in ourselves when we feel it
Understand and process the negative emotion
Prevent the negative emotion from reproducing in ourselves and others
I imagine that negative emotions must reproduce at a rate faster than a red tide algae bloom, but we don't seem to respond to their devastating abilities like we would to a massive fish kill. Why? We all feel the affects of negative emotions. We all live with varying degrees of disease, heartache, and depression from negative emotions. Why don't we do more about it?
I'm on a five-month self-discovery journey to find out. In five months, it is Valentine's Day 2021. I would love for you to come with me on this journey to explore what is in my emoceanal depths in the hopes that it could inspire you or that other person who you think needs it more to do the same.
I believe that we can eradicate the societal cancers that spread from negative emotions if we learn together how to identify them in ourselves, process them, and then prevent their reproduction. I'm talking about accomplishing micro-emotional management at the localized level within ourselves. Our collective impact on making meaningful change is an outcome of how you and I are feeling right now and how each of us responds to that feeling.
I am not suggesting false positivism as the solution. I'm suggesting that we can be so in tune with and aware of our own emotional states that we can manage ourselves productively while in the midst of sensing something that could be perceived as negative. I'm interested in doing the work associated with that mindset to be able to create a healthier personal life for myself, which could then potentially enable someone else to realize the same for themselves.
Ready? I am. Love is waiting for us. I can hear it calling.