The Alchemy of Emotions – Part II
By Michael de Glanville & Viola Edward….
Emotional expression is an action of exteriorizing, of pushing out, a propelling away of feelings and in the innocence of childhood, we naturally express our emotions freely and without reserve. We use our faces, our voices and our bodies, to display our internal state, crying and laughing, smiling or frowning as the feelings that are aroused in us by different situations come to the surface. These emotional expressions can occur with or without self-awareness, we are not necessarily conscious of the emotional state that is building up within us as we begin to express emotion. However, as we grow up and mature, shaped by cultural and social factors, we learn to alter our emotional behaviour and the way we communicate our internal emotional or affective states.
The different ways in which we learn to deal with our emotions fall into three main categories. We either withhold or suppress the expression of our emotions or we find the means to dramatize them or, in a much healthier manner, we accept them for the healing quality that they have. We experience five basic and natural emotions, which are Grief, Anger, Envy, Fear and Love and as Neale Donald Walsch put it, “psychological and behavioural problems begin to appear when any of these five natural emotions become distorted, grotesque and no longer recognizable as natural”.
Grief is a natural emotion, a response to loss. It is the emotional suffering that we feel when something or someone that we love is taken away. It’s that part of you which allows you to say goodbye when you don’t want to say goodbye. The grief associated with death is familiar to most people, but we also grieve over a variety of losses throughout our lives, such as losing our job, ending a relationship, or getting ill. The loss can be material, measurable, a possession or a sum of money but also something more abstract such as a skill or a friendship.
When you are allowed to express your grief, you integrate the loss sooner and learn from the experience. Children, who are allowed to be sad when they are sad, feel healthy about sadness when they are adults, and therefore usually move through their sadness quickly integrating the experience learning from the process. Children who are told, “There, there, don’t cry,” have a hard time crying as adults. After all, they’ve been told so many times during their life not to do that. So they repress their grief, and grief that is continually repressed becomes chronic depression, an unnatural emotion. People have done brutal things to themselves and to others because of chronic depression.
Anger is a natural emotion. It is powerfully expressive and impressive to observe. It can be motivational, bringing strength and perseverance to the creation of change. It is the tool you have which allows you to say forcefully, “No, I don’t want this…” It does not have to be abusive nor does it have to be damaging to another. People feel angry when they sense that they, or someone they care about, have been unjustly offended, when they are certain about the nature and cause of the angering event, when they are certain someone else is responsible, and when they feel they can still influence the situation or cope with it. For instance, if a person’s car is damaged, they will feel angry if someone else did it but will feel sadness instead if natural forces, such as a hailstorm, caused it. Alternatively, they will feel guilt and shame if they themselves were personally responsible, like scraping the car on a gateway.
When children are allowed to express their anger, they bring a healthy attitude about it to their adult years, and therefore usually move through their anger quickly. Children who are made to feel that their anger is not okay, that it is wrong to express it and, in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it, these children will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with their anger as adults.
Anger that is continually repressed becomes rage and leads to hate and revenge, all unnatural emotions. People have killed because of rage.
Envy is a natural emotion. It is a positive and motivational force. It is the emotion that makes a five-year-old wish he could reach the door knob the way his sister can or ride that bike like his big brother. Envy is the natural emotion that makes you want to persevere, to try harder, to continue striving until you succeed. It is healthy to be envious. It is natural when we wish for ourselves the blessings enjoyed by others without wanting them to be taken away from the other. Natural envy drives us to fulfill our wish to feel joy and love, but this through our recognition that we are valuable rather than out of blindness to what we already have and our self-depreciative comparism with the good fortune of others.
When children are allowed to express their envy, they bring a healthy attitude about it to their adult years, and therefore usually move through their envy feeling quickly. Children who are made to feel that envy is not okay, that it is wrong to express it and, in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it, these children will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with their envy as adults.
Envy that is continually repressed becomes jealousy, an unnatural emotion. Forbidden, it becomes one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. Not only is the jealous person rendered unhappy by their jealousy, but they may also wish to inflict misfortune on the object of that jealousy. People have done much harm to themselves and others because of jealousy.
Fear is a natural emotion. It is a motivating force arising from our ability to recognize danger and leading to the instinctive ‘fight or flight’ response. Crucial to the survival of the species, this instinctive reaction to potential danger is a basic survival tool that we all possess. The perceived danger can be a risk to anything held valuable, such as health, status, power and security and the fear can relate to future events, such as the worsening of a situation, or its unacceptable continuation, as well as being an instant reaction to something presently happening.
Babies are born with only two fears: the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned responses, coming from associations or identifications, brought to the child by its environment or taught to the child by its carers. The purpose of natural fear is to build in a bit of caution, a tool that helps us to survive and keep our body alive. It is a development of our love for ourselves. Fear encourages us to unite to fight dangers together rather than fight alone.
However, fear can also be a manipulating and controlling factor in an individual’s life. Due to fear many of us are unable to take the paths we want to, because of what may lie ahead, risks such as intimacy, rejection and failure. When children are allowed to express their fears, they bring a very healthy attitude about it to their adult years, and therefore usually move through their fear quickly. Children who are made to feel that fear is not okay, that it is wrong to express it and, in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it, will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with their fear as adults.
Fear that is continually repressed becomes panic, a very unnatural emotion. People have separated themselves and others from the joys of life because of panic.
Love is a natural emotion. It is a virtue, the materialization of kindness, of unselfish concern for the spiritual development of another. Love is an emotion that manifests itself by conscious, compassionate and affectionate actions towards others. The word love is popularly used to account for many different feelings but is fundamentally a result of a personal decision to be of service to others. The different feelings experienced can range through affection to attraction and through pleasure to desire.
When we encourage love to be expressed, and received, by a child, normally and naturally, without limitation or condition, inhibition or embarrassment, it does not require anything more. For the joy of love expressed and received in this way is sufficient unto itself. Yet love becomes unnatural when it has been conditioned and limited, warped by rules and regulations, twisted by rituals and restrictions, controlled, manipulated and withheld.
Children who are made to feel that their natural love is not okay, that it is wrong to express it, and, in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it, these children will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with love as adults.
Love that is continually repressed becomes possessiveness, an unnatural emotion. People have destroyed beautiful relationships and families because of possessiveness.
Depending on how we learned to express or withhold our emotions, we have created certain conflicts in our lives and to be able to cope with those conflicts, we create protective defense mechanisms (including addictions). These defense mechanisms will of course be built using our qualities, but used in a distorted way. Therefore, a huge part of the solution to our conflicts can be found through transpersonal Coaching and Psychotherapy and Positive interpretation of conflict to be able to bring back the person to functional life and build up their self esteem to be able to use fully their abilities and capacities.
Emotions are friends
And so it is that the natural emotions, when repressed, produce unnatural reactions and responses and most natural emotions are repressed in many people. Yet these emotions are your friends. These are your gifts. These are your precious tools, with which to live your experiences, they are there to help you negotiate life’s hurdles, understand the lessons within them and learn to evolve, to progress towards greater fulfillment and happiness.
What about having some minutes of reflections about how you deal with some of these emotions, how they have affected you or limited you in the expression of yourself or in the development of your potential and what would you like to transform about them…
We will be continuing to develop the different and creative ways that we use to cope with our conflicts and some of the pathways that help us to untangle the situation…
If you are interested in deepening your knowledge about “The Alchemy of Emotions” you can participate in sessions with Viola and Michael.
We would love to hear from you with your comments, experiences and questions. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mob. 0533 867 3685. FaceBook: ViolaEdward Coaching.
You can download a free copy of Viola’s book “Breathing the Rhythm of Success” and find a collection of previous articles in this series from http://www.violaedward.com
About Viola & Michael.
Viola came to Cyprus from Venezuela in 2002 to join Michael who was born on the Island and returned from France in 1999. Viola and Michael are both trained therapists in Breathwork and they founded Kayana Ltd in 2003. Viola specialises in Relationship Coaching, Business Consulting and Colour and Image. Michael has an Engineering background and specialises in Massage and Watsu.