Dealing with emotions isn’t always easy. Do you recognize this? Your partner, colleague or friend says something to you and it doesn’t land well. The rejection that you experienced as a child is triggered. It hurts. You start breathing faster, a kind of haze appears in front of your eyes, the adrenaline starts flowing and you feel anger rising in you. Then you snap. Like a hurricane you blow the other person away. The other person does not understand why all that emotion is necessary and just looks at you dumbfounded . “I only said something little…” he or she says. “What is the big deal?” Dealing with emotions is no longer an option for you. It’s like you’re one with the emotion and it’s pouring out of you with all it’s might. The poor person gets the full load and you can breathe again. Then, the pressure is finally gone.
This often is how we deal with emotions. It’s not convenient and deep down we know that but, it just happens to us. Saying sorry isn’t always easy and sometimes we continue to believe that the other person is the cause of our anger. However, that is not true. The anger was already inside of you and the other only pressed the right button to release it.
Dealing with emotions, can you learn that?
Yes, dealing with emotions can be learned. But, dealing with emotions is not a trick that suddenly resolves everything and then and let’s you jump through life like a happy little lamb. Dealing with emotions requires consciousness.
How do you do that, “dealing with emotions?
Karin asks me during a seminar: ‘How do you do that? Dealing with emotions?’ Her emotions are running her life regularly. When that happended she had no idea what to do about it. “It’s not about dealing with emotions, but about processing them” I answer her. “If you process them, they automatically dissolve.” Then, all the triggers that you usually have, lose their powers.
So that was a quick answer to this difficult topic. At least, it used to be a very difficult subject for me. I was full of emotions myself. Given my own past, it’s no surprise either. I’d been through a lot as a child and all those experiences were stored in my cells and I carried them with me day in and day out. At times that I didn’t expect it, someone managed to touch me in such a way that I exploded and for a moment I relived my entire painful past. Then, I felt like the biggest victim in the whole world and I wasn’t happy at all.
We suppress emotions
As a child, dealing with emotions isn’t always easy. So we learn to suppress our emotions. That suppression is also a natural defence mechanism against pain. We don’t want pain and at that moment we have no other way to deal with it other than to suppress that painful energy.
It doesn’t solve it
Suppressing emotions is a way of dealing with it, but it doesn’t help you along. Unfortunately, the frustrating energy that you have stored is not dealt with. On the contrary. The energy can’t get out so it has to go somewhere else. Because of that, it will seek out places in your body where that energy can settle. That can be at your organs or at other places. This way a painful button, like the one I have described above, is created. If someone does or says something that is just like the original painful message, then all the pain that is stored in the cells of your body comes up. Dealing with emotions becomes very difficult because it can be so intense.
We are paradoxical
I explain this to Karin who looks at me with big eyes. “That’s nice”, she murmurs. “I have something to transform then. I thought you could just learn it, dealing with emotions. I look at her laughingly. Well, if dealing with emotions was so easy, just a trick, life would be much easier for many people. Unfortunately, we’ve been crafted in a very complicated way. The great thing is that in recent years we’ve learned a lot about how people work. Scientific studies have shown that it is all quite paradoxical.
We think that when we have pain or emotions, we have to suppress them in order to not feel them. The suppression helps for a while but, the energy doesn’t dissolve. As a result, that old emotion can be hit again and again and in essence, you remain stuck.
Feeling is the answer
Welcoming and feeling the emotion is the answer to literally let go of the old and painful energy. Who could’ve ever thought of that. “So I have to feel,” Karin says. ‘Yep, the right way to regulate emotions is to feel what is being touched. To take full responsibility for that and to allow everything that is there”.
I received this same answer myself from my then, therapist. I wasn’t very happy with that at the time. I didn’t want to feel at all. But yeah, what do you do if everything else doesn’t help. When every time that the painful button is pressed, all registers of pain and frustration open? I had no choice. To continue in that old way was no longer an option. I felt so insecure and regularly in pain of rejection and the feeling of not being good enough. Then I finally decided to deal with emotions in this way.
It gave me such a freedom and I am so happy now. I am not controlled by emotions anymore, but I am in control of my life which can be so turbulent from time to time.
I’m not in control yet…
“But how do you do that when the emotion has got you captivated?”, asks Karin. “I’m not in charge yet. I see that I struggle with it. When I’m in that emotional vortex, I see that I don’t want to feel the emotions. I do indeed suppress them and afterwards I condemn myself very much. How can I change that now?”
See through the pattern
“It’s a pattern, honey. A pattern that you are used to. What would it be like if you simply broke through this pattern by making a new choice? A choice that will change your life. If you keep doing what you always do, you will get the same as what you always have in return. That’s not very effective. Make the choice to do it differently.”
“Hmm” says Karin. “I don’t know if I can do that. I just become so sad and the I completely lose myself.”
‘Yes, yes, we know that by now. Then again you will fight with it and so the circle goes around. But, you can still look at yourself and see what you are doing. Seeing it is awareness. Once you have that, then you can make another choice at that moment. You can change everything you are aware of. As long as you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re stuck and you often don’t even know that yourself.”
Karin looks at my while deeply frowning. “Okay”, I hear her mutter. “Taking responsibility and looking at myself. I should be able to do that. And then, feel…” I hear her sigh deeply.
“Honey, every time such an emotion engulfs you, you struggle with the pain, but you also feel the pain. You’ve been doing that for years. Aren’t you tired of it yet? Why not let go of it completely? It only takes a few minutes and than you transform this old energy at cellulair level. After that, you experience such a freedom. That is pure happiness from the inside. The beauty of it is that you also simultaneously change the information and energy in your cells. You disconnect a spiral that repeated tself over and over.”
I can’t help it…
But what if I can’t do anything about it?” Karin protests. “What if my mother condemns me again and again. Why do I have to feel that pain? I can’t help it anyway. She just has to change. It is her fault that I have such pain.”
I can see how the emotions come to her with that thought. Her face gets some red spots and her breath quickly goes up and down. I understand what she says and see her pain.
“Is it your pain or her pain?” I ask her. “My pain, of course. But, it’s her fault,” she shouts fiercely.
“Is it her fault that you’ve held on to that pain for all those years and kept hoping that things will change? That she should be different from what she is?” Karin sighs and looks at me with pain in her eyes. “You’re right but, I can’t do that, dealing with emotions”.
“Do you want to be going through life as a child-woman or as the adult woman you are? A child-woman is someone who blames others. It fights with everything and everyone and does not take responsibility for what it feels. You keep hoping for a different future, whilst you know deep down that that is an illusion.” “Okay then, I choose to break that spiral and grow up. My children also gain more from that as well”, she says while not entirely happy yet.
You are the home
“Great honey, now you’re going to take steps to dealing with emotions” I say. “Can you help me a little more?” she asks again. “How do I do that exactly?”
“See yourself as a house. A house in which all your emotions are welcome. Then, open your front door for everyone that is right in front of the door. If the emotion of joy is right on your door, then you open your door. If the motion of grief knocks on your door, open your door. By opening your door, the back door also opens immediately and the emotions blow through your house. You don’t fight with it and you don’t identify with it. You are the house in which they come to visit. Know that everything you are fighting or trying to hold on to, is literally keeping you away from freedom. Try to hold on to joy. Inevitably the moment will come that you are not so happy. That is a law. We live in a world of duality. Everything is constantly changing. So, don’t hold on to anything and don’t stop anything. Be the home where everything is welcome.”
This information hits Karin like a lightning bolt. I finally see her looking clearly and she nods “yes”. “I should be able to deal with emotions in such a way” she says. “Indeed, I always saw what situation I was in but I just didn’t know what I could do differently.” She takes a breath of relief.
I look at her happily and know now that she is going to make new choices. I also know that this way of dealing with emotions she will attract new possibilities that will make her happy. Life will never be the same!
If you have read this now and also feel that you want to deal with your emotions in a different way, then apply the tips below and also change your life.
Tips for dealing with emotions
- Breathe deeply in and out.
- First of all, accept that you have been touched by an emotion.
- Take full responsibility for that emotion; it is yours!
- Welcome that emotion as well as you can (otherwise you will suppress it and that does not help).
- See the connection, the trigger from the past.
- Also name that trigger and see that it has nothing to do with the person you are so angry about. He or she can not do anything about it.
- Dare to feel the pain, as well as you can.
- Stay as aware as possible; so see that you have the emotion and that you are not the emotion.
- Go painting, writing, playing tennis, boxing or logging. The energy of your emotions wants to go out, so give it space.
I myself applied the ninth tip about painting and writing frequently when my husband left me in December 1999. Unexpectedly, I ended up in a divorce because of this. I felt so alone and abandoned. All child pain which I still carried around was intensely triggered and I was a barrel full of emotions. I started writing as an outlet. I had to, otherwise I would have gone mad. I had to release my emotions. This way in my book: “You are not alone” was created. The special thing is that this book already has it’s six edition and has helped thousands of people in the Netherlands to deal with emotions. I now consider my past with all the painful events my gift and would not have it any other way.