Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
Did you know our emotions are happening constantly? They are released as electrochemical signals in our brains, and interpreted based on how we perceive the world around us (Joshua Freedman, The Physic of Emotion; Candace Pert on Feeling Good). An emotion is neither "good" nor "bad". Even though there are emotions we want to feel and others we don't, our emotions are neither inherently good nor bad, they are simply expressing a need. As an example, anticipation and apprehension are two different emotions; the first feeling most of us associate with happiness and the second feeling we tend to associate with fear. Both are responses to something that is known, so you could think of them as being two sides of one coin. All our emotions interrelate to each other in this way, which is why emotions are messy and complex. The purpose of our emotions is to direct our actions. Being the wonderfully complex creatures we humans are we need an equally complex navigation system. Our emotions arise as an expression of need, grabbing our attention and pointing us towards action. As an example, fear helps us to ensure we meet a hard deadline at work, allowing us to continue our career and working relationships; joy helps us to celebrate that we made the deadline and share good fortune with those around us, strengthening our ties to each other. Emotions are a compass, guiding us to what is most needed in the moment, whether we welcome that need or not.
Our bodies respond faster to our emotions than our brains do. Emotions create a somatic (body) response before our brain catches up. Odd, as this all starts in the brain, but it serves a very useful purpose; allowing our feet to move before our brain has to consciously tell them to; you may have experienced this in an emergency when several things all happened at once (you heard an unexpected fire alarm and then next thing you knew you were moving towards the exit). What this means at work is our bodies give off subtle signals to others about how strongly we feel long before we are aware that we are having an emotional response to something (like clenched fists). These signals can be very understated and unnoticeable to those who don't know us, but for anyone familiar with our usual way of expressing ourselves, it may be obvious. As part of owning your truth, recognizing when your body is responding to something is a rich source of information. We can be very unconscious of what our bodies are doing, even when it is an explicit act, like clenching a fist. Our bodies will tell us our truth if we are listening, and our truth (once expressed) enables our bodies to relax, even during times of stress.
Accessing our truth means staying with our emotions, realizing we are experiencing one, naming what it is, becoming curious about what it has to tell us and then understanding our truth within it. The “ah-ha” moment attached to recognizing your truth in any one moment offers you the chance for relief, letting you breath deeply in your new awareness, relaxing tense muscles and making you feel better emotionally and physically. The truth really does set you free.
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I believe in empowering others in many tangible ways. When I learn new career strategies or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website.