Have you ever wondered why people are often inclined to relive perfect, happy moments time and time again while trying to escape from the negative, painful ones the minute they arise? Why they try to remember the good and forget the ‘bad’ as quickly as possible? Naturally, most people would favour so called ‘positive’ experiences over ‘negative’ ones. But whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, they are all just experiences – and experiences always come with feelings and emotions. It’s like eating candy: you may prefer the red and green ones, but there some black ones in the bag as well. They taste a bit different than the others, but it’s just a matter of taste, of preference. It doesn’t say anything about the candy itself.
But of course we like to remember the positive things. For example, when you are back from your holidays it’s a good thing to remember the beautiful sights you have visited, the nice weather you’ve had, the great food you’ve tasted and the sheer joy you’ve felt looking at your children’s faces while you have done things together you normally aren’t able to do. All of it has recharged your batteries. But it is already in the past.
Blocking bad memories
On the other hand, people tend to block out the memories of the rainy days from that same trip. You simply don’t like to remember the awful quarrels you had with your spouse, the diarrhoea you got from eating raw fish in a foreign country, the speeding ticket you received in that beautiful small village when you went wine tasting, or the utter feeling of loneliness because it was your holiday and you were not enjoying yourself because you looked at your partner and thought: Is this really all there is?
Naturally, it is better for your mood not to dwell on stories like that. But again, they are already in the past. So why bother blocking them?
Favouring positive emotions
Most people prefer ‘positive’ emotions like laughter, joy and warmth over sadness, sorrow, loneliness or other ‘negative’ ones. It’s as if we feel like we are missing out on something when we experience grief. As if we did something wrong because we are not 100% happy.
Life isn’t completely what we make it. We would like it to be, so we can think we’re in control but in fact we’re not and that creates uncertainty. Uncertainty can give us a bit of a wobbly feeling in our stomach. A feeling that can easily be suppressed.
The mechanism we use to suppress these negative feelings works well to begin with. As a child for example, when you were hurt so badly that it was a little bit too much and you tried to disassociate from it, you ignored the feeling and focussed on something else instead. Thinking, eating, singing, anything would do and so the feeling seemed to disappear … like magic! It worked so well for you as a child that you started using this coping mechanism in other situations: sometimes in the right situation or manner and sometimes you when you would have been better off choosing another type of behaviour. In those situations it is more like an automatic response: ‘Oh, I feel something I just don’t like, let’s disengage and ignore it!’
And it works and it helps us to overcome difficult periods in our lives, so in a way it suits us fine. It keeps us safe and makes sure that no experience is too difficult to encounter. That’s a big plus, so we should be happy that we have at least one way to deal with pain.
But it only works until it doesn’t anymore. Then it is perhaps time for us to expand the repertoire.
Emotions are sometimes difficult to comprehend. Our minds make up all kinds of stories as to why and how this feels like it feels. Our heads reason with the rest of us and explain that it makes good sense to feel the way we feel. Frankly, it’s a way of defending ourselves when in fact there’s nothing to reason or talk about; we don’t need to explain ourselves: we just need to feel what we feel. And therein lies the solution.
The emotion you feel is simply a signal your body gives you to draw attention to what your mind hasn’t picked up on yet. An emotion has no mind of its own nor does it have a hidden agenda. It’s a neutral personal advisor that shows one of two things: ‘yes, great, the current situation is a positive one’ or ‘not so much, this isn’t for me’. Emotions only show you what is good for your wellbeing and what isn’t, so you can act upon it.
Like the canary in the coal mine that died as a signal to the miners that their lives were threatened by an odourless gas, your body’s response merely indicates that something might be off – that there is a potential menace to your wellbeing – so that you can analyse the situation and decide what is best for you to do.
Blocking or experiencing emotions?
Looking at it from this perspective, it might be a pity to suppress any emotion just because you were used to doing so. Because in the here and now you might miss out on something important.
Whereas the reason for suppressing your emotions used to be to keep you safe (or at least to give the false impression of safety), it now suddenly backfires. Instead of keeping you safe, it keeps you in the dark so you don’t notice the danger and therefore don’t know how to handle it.
And if you realize that your body is your own best friend, helping you to make exactly the right decisions for you, it’s easier to allow your emotions to surface and just feel what you feel. Like the clouds passing by. Emotions come and they go, but they are there for a reason and they need to tell you something. Nothing more, nothing less. You decide what to think of it. You decide how to act.
And, by looking at your emotions like this, they can help you experience life in another way. They can show you what resonates with you and what can be nourishing to you so that you can create the best life possible.
And you can always choose to block them and deal with them later if you decide it’s necessary because that coping mechanism will always be part of your toolkit.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and I would love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with your emotions or the strategies that you use in the comments box below.
And if you’re interested in how we block our emotions and how we create blockages in our energy field? My new book 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies contains loads of real life cases. It is out now.
ANNEMIEK DOUW, MSc is a management coach, energetic therapist, lightworker, medium, trainer and author. Coming from an unlikely background in engineering, Annemiek has always been interested in how people think and grow at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. In her work within the government and business sectors, she began to see how illness comes into people’s lives, often making it unpredictable and seemingly out of control. This influenced her to start exploring bioenergetics and other alternative therapies, eventually leading her to complete a 3-year course at the Natural Medicine Academy South-Netherlands to become a paranormal therapist. In 1998 she dedicated herself to this work full-time. She later fell ill herself for an extended period of time, which allowed her to gain first-hand insight into the human experience of illness, and to learn how the soul is an internal compass that continuously guides. Probing more deeply into how this compass works, Annemiek discovered 21 layers of the soul that influence our ability to grow and to heal in our bodies, minds and relationships. This discovery became the foundation of her unique healing style, and today Annemiek helps clients heal at many levels, and teaches them how to read this compass for themselves. Wanting to share this unprecedented work with a wider audience, she published the Dutch language book De ziel in het licht van haar hogere auralagen in 2011. The English translation of this book is coming in autumn 2013, under the title 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies.