I lived without emotions for quite a while. I would file them under the ‘do not disturb box.’ I did this for a good reason. Growing up in a home where being ’emotional’ was like the worse thing you could do, I stifled my emotions more and more. Did not help growing up being a Star Trek fan and my idol was Mr. Spock, the character not the actor. I wanted to be a Volcan with no emotions. I felt totally betrayed in the episode where Mr. Spock was very emotional and nearly kills Captain Kirk. In my mind, emotions were the enemy and would cause people to act violently. I wanted to be happy but I didn’t want to have the ‘ugly’ emotions. Add in a bit of emotional abuse from a neighbor and my parents and you get me, one very messed up emotionally adult. In counseling, my therapist called me an emotional moron. I wasn’t offended, I felt it was a good description. I tried to wrap my mind around why I struggled but I didn’t know enough to be able to ask what I didn’t know. Counseling opened my eyes to whole new world.
The Gift of Fear is an entire book on the advantage of fear and how it helps us daily. Fear warns us of dangers. Someone once told me that you can’t have fear and faith. I countered faith was feeling afraid and praying for deliverance because I have faith Heavenly Father hears and answers prayer. I believe more people pray due to fear than almost any other reason. A child with no ‘fear’ of the water is likely to drown in a pool. I should be afraid of some things. Fear of becoming like my mother pushed me through the pain of counseling. Fear can motivate, sometimes in a big way. However, a life based in fear is a terrible way to live. Another thing is without fear, there would be no need for courage.
Hurt tells me a boundary was violated or I have tenderness that was stomped on. I should feel hurt when I am betrayed, talked down to, or other ways harmed. Pain tells me that something needs attention. The silent disease kill their victims before they know they are sick because they don’t hurt. Learning to ignore hurt, I ignored the pain in my stomach until I landed in emergency care in the hospital. Ignoring the hurt didn’t stop the problem that was causing the pain. Hurt alerts us to the need of self care or other warnings.
Frustration now that is a wicked feeling but is it really? When I am frustrated sometimes I need to humble myself to ask for help. More than once when repairing computers my prayers went something like this, “Lord you allowed these monsters to be invented, I need some clue as to what to do to fix it.” Answers to those prayers were often during rush hour traffic when I didn’t have anything else to do and I would listen. Frustration aids in connecting to others to ask for help and in return help the other person with their frustration. This develops bonding, team work and other great things if we allow it to.
Anger…..anger management, stop the anger, there is a war on anger. Uncontrolled angry sucks. However, anger alerts us to emotions we are ignoring. Anger does not come alone. Hurt, fear and frustration come first. If I self care early on these I rarely reach anger. Sometimes anger is the appropriate response. We should feel outrage when children are harmed. We should feel furious that about being abused. I noticed in my study of anger that it is the dynamo that drives me forward and gets thing changed. Major changes rarely happen because of happy people. Angry people are motivated to get things done and change the World.
Grief. My lack of grief when someone died was a big clue to my counselor that there was something seriously wrong with me. We should grieve at a loss. Grief means we love. I grieved a battered childhood. I grieved not having a relationship with my mother. I grieved over how I messed up as a mother. I learn to cry so I could express my grief.
These are the big 5 that modern society is telling us to eliminate. I disagree. We need these emotions. Emotions color our World. Dark days gives us a deep appreciation for light days. Storms bring us rainbows. Deep grief is a response to losing something or someone we love. Anger lights a fire in us to change our world. Frustration encourages us to reach out for help. My study of emotions tell me that they flow through our lives enriching and beautifying, warning and motivating, light and dark. I remind myself when I am in the depths of a dark feeling….emotions are fleeting and temporary. They dance across the stage of my life and I decide which ones become major actors in my choices. The greatest gift my counselor gave to me was to guide me through the painful connection to my emotions, all of them.