Emotions... Friend or Foe?
Emotions: They can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Of course, we relish in the emotions that we perceive to be positive like LOVE, JOY, EXCITEMENT, VALIDATION, CONNECTION, and SECURITY. When an emotion is perceived as a positive one, we welcome and encourage it. We pray for it to flow into our experience and ask it to stay. We feel so wonderful that we do everything in our power to hold on to it, but that is rarely a successful endeavor. So where does it go? Why is this sense of contentment so momentary, so fleeting?
In comparison, negative emotions feel like they hang around for an eternity. Why can’t we be happy all of the time, instead of spending so much time in turmoil?
This happens because an emotion we perceive as positive becomes our friend, while an emotion we perceive as negative becomes our enemy. Enemies bring SADNESS, INSECURITY, DESPERATION, UNWORTHINESS, LONELINESS, and ANGER. When we perceive an emotion to be negative, we argue with it, rebel against it and tell it to go away! Like with any enemy, we do our best to fight against it.
There is only one difference that I notice in processing these two types of emotions. With positive emotions we ALLOW and WELCOME the flow of energy, but with negative emotions we IMPEDE and RESIST the flow of energy. Think about it this way: If you are standing in the ocean and a big wave comes up to hit you, what do you do? Do you try to stop the wave or ride with it? If you tense up and stand rigid and tall like a statue you’re sure to topple over. You can try to outrun the wave, but waves can’t be so easily outrun and more often than not, you’ll end up falling over anyway.
What if your response were to stretch your body open, spreading your arms and legs apart, jumping up just a little bit to meet the wave; maybe you ride the wave for a little while, entertaining it, before it rushes past you. If you do this, you might not be where you thought you were, but you’ll be alright, you’ll be standing, and you’ll be smiling.
When those waves are coming at you, do you try to classify them as “happy” or “sad” waves? Or do you just see them as forces coming towards you? When a wave is coming at you, your best option is to jump up a little, welcome that rush, and let it flow past you. Would you change your approach if you knew the wave was happy or sad? Angry or loving?
Think about your emotions as waves and remove the feeling from the encounter. What are you left with? Doesn’t it make sense to accept all the waves the same, to react to them in the same manner? Do this with your emotions. Welcome each and every one with arms open wide. You’ll see that what you had a hard time fighting, and what continued to topple you time and again, will pass by much more smoothly. Ride each of those waves, regardless of what they feel like, because every wave can take you someplace. And isn’t that the point anyway?