Have you been told that you are too emotional or too sensitive? The power of emotions is indisputable. How we experience and deal with any moment of a day depends largely on how we feel about it.
Unfortunately, the seeming randomness and intensity of our emotions can leave us feeling rather powerless and out of control. This is especially true for so-called “negative” emotions, such as anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt, and shame.
Therefore, the natural reaction to these uncomfortable feelings is to try to avoid, ignore or get rid of them quickly. We prefer to feel positive emotions, happiness, excitement, confidence and contentment. But just like their darker siblings, positive emotions can appear to us just as irrational, random and out of control.
This may be the reason why our modern society has little room and patience for feelings. Reason and logic are far more accepted and valued than sensitivity and emotional responses.
However, without emotions there is no true inner guidance or meaning to our lives. Emotions provide us with important information about our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, and the value of our actions and choices.
The truth is they make a significantly larger impact on the choices we make and how we experience our world than facts and reasoning do.
Isn’t it true that the moments we remember and cherish the most are those we associate with the strongest feelings?
Filmmaker Ricky Ray, while traveling through India and other parts of the world to produce his documentary “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama”, noticed a paradox.
The poorest people were frequently happier than those who seemed to be very prosperous. Ray encountered more smiles from those living in the slums than from the people who were privileged with a rather lavish lifestyle.
Logically, it would seem that those suffering from poverty and facing the immediate danger of being without food and shelter would have more reason to be anxious and fearful. But in reality, having very little can also mean that someone has very little to lose and therefore more appreciation for the small joys in life.
Conversely, people who have spent most of their time and energy accumulating wealth or reaching certain external goals might identify too much with these aspects of their lives.
As a result, their attachment to these possessions and achievements increases and, with it, their fear of losing them, which would also mean losing themselves.
Now I am not suggesting that disposing of your goods and practicing an ascetic lifestyle will resolve your fear and anxiety and bring everlasting happiness.
These observations simply underline that emotions, and not facts or outer circumstances, determine our life experience. Having this knowledge allows those of us who are more on the sensitive side to feel more at ease with who we are and not so quick to try and sweep it under the rug.
Although having a stronger emotional side can be exhausting at times it also brings with it a deeper appreciation and understanding for both our lives and those around us.
Join me and my guest Courtney Marchesani this Thursday Dec 16 on Get Real as she shares how to allow your sensory intelligence to shine.