Our Emotional Struggles are really a Mental problem
Our Emotions, themselves, are an impersonal thing
One of the things that makes change more of a challenge, can be our emotions. We can get into a stuck repetitive cycle with our emotions. But the emotions themselves are a very natural and indifferent phenomenon. You could think of getting stuck in emotional re-actions, like yelling the same phrase into “echo canyon,” expecting to hear something different.
When we find a particular emotion getting stirred up, over and over again, we can think that it is the emotions themselves that are creating the problem. But our emotions are a natural response to our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes bumping up against “reality.” A response is caused by something. When there is a response, it is a result of something else. Just like the echo itself is like a response of the “echo canyon,” the echo will not change until what we are yelling out changes.
Keep in mind that all of our emotions are an inside job. It is quite common for people to project blame on others for how they are feeling.
You make me feel … so mad, so angry, so upset. Not true. How you feel is not decided by another. They might trigger you, sure, but your re-action is all on you. It can take some personal responsibility for us to start changing our emotional re-actions. The trigger itself could not trigger anything within us, unless there was something to be triggered. Whatever gets triggered, typically has a built-in response. A habitual mental re-action to the trigger. Our minds develop a relationship to a feeling. Often in our childhood. Perhaps you had a parent that had a very common pattern of behavior. Say, for example, that you were raised by a single parent who was divorced against their will, and now had to support and raise a family by themselves. Perhaps the pattern was that this parent would start off by feeling self-pity. Which would lead to a glass of wine or two or three or ten. Which would then lead to anger and then perhaps rage. As a child, you could develop a reaction to the feeling of self-pity with fear. Where you knew what was coming. When you got triggered to the self pity stimulus, your mind would go into a self-preservation mode. From the child’s perspective, you had to develop coping skills for a narrative you had no real control over.
Fast forward a decade or three, and that same mechanism is there. Perhaps your spouse gets laid off from their job. And they start developing an evening pattern of self-pity talk, and you emotionally react with a subconscious “hell no!” We are not going there. You might even get angry over the feeling, anger that was triggered by the fear that was instilled in your psyche as a child. And your anger would lead to an argument. You get the idea of how a pattern can be triggered over and over again. The thing is, our subconscious never cleans house on its own. Our subconscious is constantly programming itself by how our conscious mind behaves. We can have many subconscious reactive patterns instilled in our psyche. Where, in actuality, we spend most of our time in some sort of reactive patterning. This is quite common. This is karmic concrete. Insuring “more of the same” day-to-day experiences. Meaning, we are very likely to spend today, in almost an exact copy of yesterday. Locked into multiple levels of very repetitive reactive patterns.
If you have several easily triggered reactive patterns, you are very likely to spend most of your day in a reactive stance with life itself. But, just like “echo canyon,” the emotions that are triggered are not the issue per se, but rather, the mental reactions.
The solution is to evolve your sense of self. This might not be part of your personality. In other words, you might not have seen this modeled to you by your family. But to heal the reactive pattern, is to grow yourself. If the trigger is a sense of hopelessness, then take actions that will help you feel hopeful. Perhaps go back to school to get a better job, to be in more of a demand. Or develop more than one source for income. But DO grow yourself. Once you change your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, your emotional response will change in kind. Instead of “poor pitiful me” to perhaps “I got this!” By changing our mental selves, we are automagically changing our emotional responses. To break out of what might have been decades of old mental reactive patterns can change the whole dynamic. Breaking patterns that might have spanned over many generations from your past.
Incidentally, this is part of why meditation is so powerful. You can become aware of subconscious patterning, by becoming more mindful of your conscious and subconscious thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. Luckily, you are never stuck . You always have the ability to change. Forever. Start by becoming more mindful of your mental disposition. This alone can open doorways to a totally different life experience.
Our emotions do not have a built in re-action of their own. But rather, a learned reaction that can be changed. You could think of your emotions as a feedback mechanism showing you your reactive habits. In the end, your emotions will be valued. Held in high regard for the information they gave to you about yourself. Sweet Emotions.