A client of mine recently shared her reluctance to feel her emotions because she is afraid she won’t be able to pull herself out of them.
But what we get hooked on is the emotions around the story that follows.
The primary emotion around the actual honest event – which doesn’t have an addictive quality but rather a healing one – then gets stuck; it has nowhere to move but into our tissues and our energy centers, blocking the natural flow and creating dis-ease. We then replay the stories, which aren’t events at all. We replay them, experiencing the secondary, addictive emotions over and over again. We hook ourselves and others with those stories, creating the perfect drama to craft our false identities and stories of the world around us.
A child gets hit by another child for a toy. It hurts. She cries literally until it stops hurting. It’s not long actually, if you’ve ever witnessed this on a playground. When she’s done, the two children often go back to playing together, and the incident is over; all is forgiven.
Then one day, when the child gets old enough, she stops crying when she gets hit, but she still hurts. She builds an elaborate story of name-calling, blame, shame, and justification around it, and she begins to carry the weight that comes with imposing a somewhat permanent quality on the other person as well as about herself and the world around her, guaranteed to impact how she experiences future events with the continuous replay of her imagined past “truths”.
We do it all day. And we pass this sort of storytelling on to our children. Let’s break this cycle, for ourselves and for them.
So instead, go ahead and feel the emotions to the actual event, in real time. This doesn’t mean to react and lash out. It means to feel it through honestly. Stop the storytelling on its tracks. Because then you can move through the hurt, the sadness, the frustrations, and the fear, giving you a real chance at clarity, at relationships with yourself and with others, and at a more joyful life.