Acknowledging Emotions: Yours and Others.
By Lisa Caza of Soul Psychics
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” A widely-known (and very wise) phrase from the Bible. However, when it comes to the understanding of this concept I often wonder if folks truly grasp the full embodiment of it. What I mean is, it seems that the majority of people tend to have a more linear way of thinking – they seem to concentrate mainly on more physical and material aspects. But what about the emotional aspect? Let’s take this a step further … so in other words if you don’t like to be lied to, cheated on, stolen from, teased or bullied, or mistreated in any way well don’t do it to others. You treat others as you would like to be treated. Fair enough and simple enough. Those are the most commonly thought of principles when we reflect over the statement of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But now, this is where we touch into a deeper understanding of the principle … of which I find that many people tend to not consider … what about how you are FEELING? Let’s try an example so that I can perhaps illustrate what I mean:
You are sitting at a friend’s house confiding in them about how rough of a day you’ve had, and you’re in tears due to major upset, frustration and hurt because you had an argument/falling out with another friend of yours. You’re crying and telling that friend how you are feeling when they then hug you in order to console you and they say as doing so, “Oh, please don’t cry.”
WAIT! STOP! What did they say? Did they say “please don’t cry”?
What happens in those few moments after they say this to you? Your initial reaction, more often than not (even if just fleetingly) you question in your mind, “Why should I stop crying? I don’t want to cry but I am. I don’t like how I’m feeling but it’s how I’m feeling!” Also notice that when they say this particular statement to you … nine times out of ten you actually start to cry harder. There is a reason for all of that!
It’s because you are supposed to feel those particular emotions in that moment in time. If you are feeling sad … allow yourself to feel sad … just of course don’t get too caught up in it. If you’re feeling angry … you have every right to feel angry.
And now, even just as importantly, you need to ask yourself though: WHY would they be saying this to you? Well, I don’t know if you will like this answer or not but here goes ….
It’s because THEY are feeling uncomfortable. Folks of course don’t like to see their friends and family members hurt and crying … and indeed it makes them feel out of sorts. So their automatic reaction is: TO STOP YOU FROM CRYING!
While of course they have good intentions in their hearts and do truly wish to be of help to you … the thing is right away like I say their first initial reaction is to stop the discomfort that THEY are feeling due to your crying … so … they ask you to stop. However, this is one of the worst things that a person can actually do to another. Why? Because essentially what’s occurring is a form of denial of emotions. The consoler is trying to push aside the emotions of the consolee.
It is a person’s right and freedom to allow themselves to acknowledge and validate their emotions and address them as they see as fitting. So if crying is the way to go … then do so. Crying is the outward manifestation of acknowledging the inner emotions and thus the eventual LETTING GO of those same emotions. Telling someone to “stop crying” … and the person does … prematurely in this case … that builds a major block for them both emotionally as well as spiritually. They become “stuck” … holding those unacknowledged and unreleased emotions inside themselves. And sometimes … given the right (or perhaps wrong) personality … a pattern begins to form … an eventual “engrained behavior” or “habit” emerges where it becomes commonplace for them to do so.
Allowing a person to feel what they are feeling in those moments does them more good than harm. Try to resist the urge to hug them right away, and most certainly try not to tell them to stop crying. Remember that this urge to immediately console the person is YOUR INITIAL INSTINTCUAL REACTION TO DISCOMFORT (i.e. it’s like “I need to make this uncomfortable situation go away and go away now. I cannot handle the tears it makes me uncomfortable seeing them this way. It hurts me to see them hurting. What can I do to stop the tears? Tell them to stop!”). If you truly wish to help your good friend or family member, the absolute best thing to do: push aside the subconscious ego and its need to escape the discomfort (as well as the belief that you’re not being a good friend in not consoling immediately … please realize that this is quite on the contrary! Reflect over your own most immediate thoughts that occur if in a similar situation – the fleeting sense of frustration or even anger with that friend who just told you to please stop and notice how for a few moments the crying becomes a bit more so. That happens for a reason – and as mentioned it’s because you NEED to feel those emotions at that time!) … and give that person that time to acknowledge, validate, feel and thus let go of those emotions. In this particular example given above, allow them to cry it out while you be there for them and simply listen to what they have to say. Then, once the tears have subsided, THEN give them a hug and start asking them OPEN-ENDED questions to make them THINK about what their next steps should be. This process of asking questions instead of giving opinions, advice, and other leading statements serves great purpose as well: it EMPOWERS them! It gives THEM control over their life, their choices, their situations. It allows them to form their own viewpoints and decisions – which in turn creates a strong sense of responsibility for their own life … and self empowerment.
If you don’t like having your personal power and responsibility of your own life taken away from you, then don’t do it to others. If you don’t like to be told how to feel or not feel … well … why would you do that to others?
So as you can see, we get brought right back to that principle of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But unfortunately as mentioned earlier many folks don’t seem to consider the concepts discussed above. Allow folks to feel their emotions and be with them in those moments.