It is important for us to acknowledge what emotions really mean. Some schools of thought may believe that emotions are pathologies and therefore do not serve the body but rather hurt and damage it. But it is also important to remember that there must be a reason why particular emotions come about and how they make us feel.
Having a reaction to a specific circumstance or event can and will precipitate specific emotional responses from the body and the foundational affect on the body to determine whether it will inflict pain and trauma or whether it may help and heal.
The body depends on the individuals attitude toward the emotional stimuli. You may have heard this statement before “what happens, happens to us all, but what we do with what happens is directly dependent on our attitude (in life)”. Remember, you can either be a creature, or you can be a creator. You can learn and use the experience to define your strength or you can be victimised and be used by the experience to define your weakness!
Emotions are simply signals telling us something. Emotions arise from particular experiences from life. Experiences that we go through in order for us to (hopefully) learn and be bettered guided rather than be subjected to defeat and retreat and ultimately emotional breakdown. It is hard for us to feel a reaction to a particular emotion unless we ourselves contribute the same emotion to others (at some point and in some form in our lives – past or present).
What does this mean?
A very simple and basic example I often share with my clients is that of an individual who is constantly experiencing anger and frustration from road rage. If you are one of these people, I ask you this “ how often do you (yourself) get in front of other cars, don’t put your signal on when changing lanes or turning, tailgate others, speed carelessly and so on and so on? See these actions of others create an emotional response in you such as anger and frustration, because you do the same thing to others!
Otherwise, it wouldn’t bother you let alone frustrate, irritate and anger you. So the reason we become reactive emotionally is because we pick up and feel emotional traits that we have not mastered in ourselves. Another way to put it is that we have not learned the lesson of the emotional event so the event has mastered us! This is kind of like Carl Jung’s teachings on the ‘shadow’.
The above example is just a basic example but the context applies too many of life’s experiences. Emotions are there to help guide us. And in order to do so, we often experience traumatic events so that we may learn a new lesson, should we choose to accept it.
Those that do, feel grateful and say thank you as they become stronger and learn how to master their life. Those that don’t, are inclined to repeat the events/experience either in the same or different form; become weaker and unstable and their circumstances master them.
So we must embrace the challenges of life so that we learn to “master our destiny, and not fall victim to our history”.
Dr. Sohial Farzam
(Doctor of TCM).