[ By Isha Judd in Care2 ]
Emotions are a natural part of human life. If we are working towards a healthy relationship with ourselves, it is essential that we learn to embrace them. Most of us from an early age have learnt that certain emotions are “bad” or inappropriate: maybe we were told not to cry, or never to get angry. But by denying these feelings, we don’t rid ourselves of them: when an emotion is ignored, it stagnates with us, building up and contributing to the accumulated charge of repressed feelings. With time, these emotions become distorted: anger becomes hatred or resentment, eventually exploding in fits of rage and violence; sadness becomes depression.
We only need look at a child to see how natural emotions are. Children get angry and sad with spontaneous ease, yet they have an innate ability to find joy and entertainment everywhere; the world for them is a magical place, and where as adults we would only find boredom, they are capable of discovering wonderment. This is precisely because they don’t deny any aspect of their emotional spectrum. They embrace all of its hues without judgement, as natural parts of the human experience. As a result, when anger comes, it is intense, but short lived: five minutes later, they have completely forgotten what they were angry about, absorbed in the excitement of a new moment, the next discovery.
Sometimes, when we are on the spiritual path, we apply the same “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” of our childhood conditioning to our process of growth: we try to box ourselves into an image of the “good” boy or girl – an image that is not so far removed from the expectations placed upon us by our parents and our society. The quest for unconditional love becomes a way of behaving: we try to emulate the actions of love and compassion, without first becoming those experiences. This eventually leads to more resentment and frustration, for how can you embrace another in their perfection if you still see yourself as imperfect? How can you be compassionate if you do not know yourself? In trying to break free from the confines of our past limitations, we jump into a new box, sometimes even more rigid than the one before.
In order to experience our divinity, we must first embrace our humanity. In order to love unconditionally, we must first discover our own perfection. Embrace your anger, embrace your sadness: it is not through denial that you will be free of them, but through acceptance. By allowing yourself to feel the accumulated charge, you free up space within yourself. Space to be, space to love, space to discover who you truly are.