This December we will be focusing on emotions and specifically on releasing them. If we look at the origin of the word "emotion", then we can better understand our own. According to the Oxford English, dictionary the origin of this word is based on Latin emovere, from e- (variant of ex-) meaning "out" + movere meaning "move."
Emotion is something that has to move and it has to come out. Emotion is a dynamic force, it is not static. It is not meant to be suppressed. That's easier said then done, isn't it? Since our emotions can be very complex and sometimes intangible, we might feel that its best to ignore or suppress those scary and unexplained forces. In fact we are entering a very ancient problem here... The kind of problem that has puzzled many great minds and cultures, and has impacted the world's civilizations. From your relatives and friends to ancient rulers of the land.... Every being is affected by emotions.
We've been conditioned into believing that having feelings, emotions is a sign of weakness. My suspicion is that it is not actually the fear of falling under the spell of emotion that prevents us from facing them. It is the fear of hard work, it is the fear of the process and the fear of our own power. It is the fear of us changing into someone we don't know.
So why should we face these terrifying inner feelings? What is the point of them? Often expressing difficult, "negative" feelings is seen as bad thing. For example let's talk about anger. By itself, anger is harmless and can be a catalyst for change and transition. When it is suppressed however, it becomes toxic and can either come out as a self hurting action or as an act of aggression towards others. So expressing anger at its early stage is preventing it from growing into a monster. And if there already is some long-term anger hidden inside, it's worth starting the work (remember there is nothing wrong with you because you feel anger)! In fact, I should say it's worth liberating yourself from it! Anger, however is very different from violence or mental, verbal or physical aggression. So if you feel that you are becoming violent, I recommend contacting a therapist or at least a friend that can help you.
Now, here is the thing: there is no right or wrong way of expressing anger (unless it is hurting yourself or others). I think it can be a real art and an evolution of self. Honesty is really a key.
Expressing anger is unique to you. Here are a few examples of mindful anger expression: writing a letter, creating a piece of art, destroying something that you won't regret later, shouting into the cushion, punching a punch bag, sharing your feelings with your friends or family. And above all listening to your feeling of anger. What does it tell you? What part of you feels hurt? How can you take care of yourself or others? How can you help yourself transform through anger?
I had a wonderful revelation not long ago. I realized (with the help of my therapist and a few psychotherapy books) that one of the most important reasons why we need emotions (and particularly anger) is that they help us establish boundaries in the world. The emotion of anger helps us establish what is fare or unfair, it can help us decide what is justice and what is abuse. Well, if you have a very good understanding of boundaries and justice, congratulations! I am so very happy for you! It is a great power to know that you deserve a fair and loving treatment. On the other hand, you may feel that life has been a difficult journey, and that people have been mean to you and you don't even know where to begin. Not to worry! You are not alone! There are lots of us out there, and there are plenty of us going through catalogs of unexpressed feelings. Once again, there is nothing wrong with you, it's just there aren't many obvious tools to deal with emotions. So, give yourself permission to listen to your anger! It's no use trying to ignore or suppress it, because it will come out eventually. You deserve to be heard - especially by your own self. Listening and expressing your anger can help you not only to know that you deserve better treatment, but also to know when exactly you are being mistreated. It can help you identify abusive situations and aggressive people. So here it is: you become empowered by listening to your emotions, by letting them educate you and by letting them transform you.