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Tonight I was listening to a YouTube video on emotions by Eckhart Tolle. He made a very good point that I think is worth mentioning here: When we are feeling and experiencing our emotions, it is important to witness them. Without a witness, the emotions will play over and over again. If they are witnessed with acceptance and compassion, emotions can transform (change).

We are all emotional beings, and we are meant to experience and express a full range of different emotions. Yet most of us have not been supported in learning about our emotions or how to manage them. Of course none of us want to experience painful emotions, but when we avoid and suppress our emotional pain, bigger problems can get created because the emotional energy has to go somewhere. Emotions are energy in motion. Either that energy gets acted out in more serious ways, or we may experience physical and mental symptoms and/or addictions of various kinds.

As children, we learned to repress certain "unacceptable" parts of ourselves and our emotional expressions. In my family for example, crying, being afraid or being angry were not acceptable, and I learned quickly to stuff these emotions and label them as not OK. As an adult, I felt ashamed if I experienced any of these emotions. I've had to unlearn my childhood conditioning and accept these emotions as a normal and important part of my emotional expression. Have you ever noticed how a baby expresses emotion? One minute they're crying, and the next minute they're joyful and laughing. This is how we are meant to experience our emotions.

Since most of us repressed emotional material from childhood, we will re-experience this repressed material as adults. Our life situations will naturally trigger in us what has not been resolved. It comes as a shock because we have no idea where these feelings are coming from. They don't make any sense until we recognize that what we are experiencing is from the past. We then have an opportunity to express and resolve the repressed emotional material. This is called emotional healing. We can then give the child within us a corrective emotional experience. This will help us move forward and heal the wounded places where we were fixated or stuck in the past, and our ability to have a full range of emotional expression can then be restored. To the extent that we can feel our pain, is to the extent we can feel our joy.

Emotional content cannot be controlled as the weather cannot be controlled, so in order to be in harmony with our selves, we need to learn to honor and work with our emotions. If we can remember to allow our emotions to be there without judgment or resistance, then our emotions can move through us freely and dissipate. In my practice I have developed a method called The Aikido of Emotion where I assist my clients to learn how to be with, contain and feel their emotional material. Then the emotional energy can be released and any underlying issues can be resolved. It just takes practice!

Emotions themselves are not the truth, they point to the deeper truths within us. They show us things that are hidden, or under the surface in our sub-conscious. They point to our unattended needs, wounds, thwarted desires and passions that are yearning and sometimes screaming to be seen and quenched. If we listen and follow the energy to the root or the source, then we can live the authentic and fulfilling life we are meant to live. Life is a fantastic journey of self-discovery. Take the journey today!

Lynne Arial (512) 831-4856 Lynne Arial, MA, LPC is a certified coach and licensed psychotherapist practicing in Austin Texas since 2001. She works with adults and couples in person, on Skype|FaceTime or on the phone, and teaches classes on various topics including, The Aikido of Emotion.

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