On emotions and taking things ‘personally’

There is a book I strongly recommend to anyone who would like to see the world differently. It is called ‘Conversations with God’.

Woah… Hang on, I hear some of you say… God? Religion? No thank you, not for me!

Wait, don’t go, let me explain…

There is a strong distinction between religion and spirituality.

I am by all means a very spiritual person but I couldn’t care less about religions. If you ask me, they are at the centre of what made this world the ‘hell’ we live in. Spirituality is a very different thing. It is the awareness of something big, powerful, beautiful that binds us all. Some of us like to call it God because we like to humanise things around us. Some of us will call it the Great Energy, the Chi or the Force. It doesn’t matter what you call it or what I call it. What matters is: do you believe there is something that binds us all? Or do you believe we are all alone, meant to fight against each other for our survival?

If it’s the second option, well, it’s up to you to continue to read those lines or not… If it’s the first though, even a little bit, hear me out.

‘Conversations with God’ that you might just as well call ‘Conversation with the Force’, or ‘Conversations with something I cannot define that could be in me or outside of me’ is a book that transcribes a long channelling with ‘God/ the Great Energy / the Force’ that the author, someone who was not exactly a ‘believer’ when he started, has ‘written’. The story goes like this… One fine day, the author, Neale Donald Walsh, decided to write a letter to ‘God’. Not a nice one, let me tell you, one where he would moan and complain about his life, his struggles, his lack of money, his failures in love, his poor health. Weirdly though, he started ‘feeling himself’ answering… And that became the three volumes of ‘Conversations with God’, a now worldwide bestseller.

That book is filled with powerful comments and suggestions about the way we live. I do not mean to summarise it here but to use it as a starting point to one topic… Emotions…

It states that there are 5 emotions: sadness, anger, envy, fear and love.

All five are natural and let’s call it ‘beneficial’. These natural emotions, when repressed, can lead to pain, chaos and, on a big scale, war. Below is a summary of the main ideas…

Sadness is a natural emotion. It is that part of you that allows to say goodbye to things or people when you lose them. When you are allowed to express it you can move on. Children who were taught not to express their sadness repress it. Repressed it becomes chronical depression. That emotion is not natural or ‘beneficial’.

Anger is a natural emotion. It is the medium that allows to say ‘no thank you’. It doesn’t have to be offending nor harming to anyone. When you are allowed to express it you can move on. Children who were taught not to express their anger repress it. Repressed it becomes rage. That emotion is not natural or ‘beneficial’.

Envy is a natural emotion. It allows to want to redo something, make efforts, continue to fight up until you achieve something. When you are allowed to express it you can move on. Children who were taught not to express their envy repress it. Repressed it becomes jealousy. That emotion is not natural or ‘beneficial’.

Fear is a natural emotion. The aim of the ‘original fear’ (babies, it states, are just afraid of falling and of loud noises, all other fears are taught) is to allow individuals to integrate a certain measure of prudence, to keep the body alive. When you are allowed to express it you can move on. Children who were taught not to express their fear repress it. Repressed it becomes panic. That emotion is not natural or ‘beneficial’.

Love is a natural emotion. Expressed and received naturally, with no limit nor conditions, no inhibition nor shame, it asks for nothing else as it is self sufficient. But conditional love, limited by rules and regulations, rituals and restrictions, manipulated, is not natural. Children who were taught that their natural love is not right or not correct or is shameful repress it. Repressed it becomes possessiveness. That emotion is not natural or ‘beneficial’.

So… Five emotions… All ok if lived, expressed and channelled through.

broken-glassHowever not very ok if repressed…and yet we are constantly taught to repress them… I will take myself as an example… I don’t like it when I am angry, or sad, or scared. I definitely don’t like wanting something, having an envy of something, because it means I don’t have it and might never have it… I definitely don’t like it when I love someone and I am not loved in return… I don’t like these emotions because I don’t feel in control.

Control…the other side of the ‘Emotions’ coin.

Yes, when I feel emotions, I feel they can overwhelm me and as such I lose control of my otherwise composed and oh so nice behaviour. Because apparently we should be composed, every where, anytime. When we don’t, it’s bad… right? People judge us: “look at him/her, he/she’s out of control, he/she’s over-reacting”. How do I highly dislike that ‘over-reacting’ label. An over-used expression for women in particular if you want my opinion. In the work place it means you are not ‘professional’… Ooooh bad… God forbid we would be unprofessional. No, in the work place you should be emotion-less. Why? Because it’s business, silly. It’s not personal, duh!… Right… But what you have said or done was aimed at a person right? So by definition it makes it person-al… No? How are we meant to do things, say things as if they were targeted to a void, a non-emotional void?

It doesn’t make sense to me. If anything, I feel we should be taking things a bit more ‘personally’. The horrors perpetrated in Syria to talk about a hot topic, but I could cite thousands of other places or situations. These things, war, torture, humiliation, betrayal, they are done to persons right? It could have been you or me. What differences does it make that the person is someone else?

Yes, we should take things more ‘personally’,

as a living person that, whether we like it or not, is linked to the fate of others. You don’t believe me? What about 9/11? What about the recent terror attacks in Europe? What we do to someone else will come back, sooner or later to each of us. Forget spirituality, history has shown us that much.

So… What about we express our emotions a bit more? A bit more often? What would happen then? What if we expressed our sadness and anger and fear about what is happening all around us? What would happen then? We would be a bit unbalanced, unsettled, out of focus. And then what? Maybe we will forget the next day. Or we won’t and we will decide to do something about it. Either way we would have expressed our humanity. I feel for you. I hear you. I see you… There is nothing worse in my opinion than being ignored. As a human being you disappear when you are ignored. You are obliterated. You do not exist, you are ignored. It is worse than being beaten up because when you are beaten up at least others acknowledge your presence.

It is my opinion we should express our emotions. Express, not repress, live them, understand them, act on them but then, and here is the critical part, move on. Cry, laugh, be angry, be scared, want, love. We should take things a bit more ‘personally’, even if we lose our so sacred self-control for a while. Who knows if we do we might react like human beings and not like machines… How about that?

Emotionally yours,

The Unicorn


8 thoughts on “On emotions and taking things ‘personally’

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