LET'S TALK EMOTIONS with Jodi Aman
There are not many things in life as complex and even confusing as our emotions. It might seem like emotions don't make sense, that they are a pain and a nuisance, that they mess with us and get in our way... Well that's what we think until we learn better.
Unfortunately, today our education focuses on learning to read, write, count, play basketball and name all the presidents, capitals and so on. We have yet to find a school that fully embraces and includes “understanding and managing emotions” in their curriculum.
Somehow we are just expected to figure out how to deal with emotions and the all the complexities that they bring with them. The thing is, understanding our emotions is a skill like any other. It requires knowledge and practice. Some guidance along the way would definitely help.
Luckily it is never too late to learn this. To help fill this gap in our emotion education, we have asked Jodi Aman, psychotherapist, coach and councillor, to share her knowledge and expertise with us. In particular about what to do when we are feeling overwhelmed.
Here it goes...
How would you describe the level of awareness our society has about emotions and their ability to understand them?
People feel emotions all the time and trying to figure them out, run away from them, and cover them up. It takes up a whole lot of time and energy.
Why do emotions feel overwhelming sometimes?
Because they come with fear. Fear that we will lose control over ourselves and fly off some insanity cliff never to return to being in control again. We worry that we will lose ourselves.
What do you think is the most difficult part of understanding and dealing with emotions?
Our negative self judgment about them. Our emotions are a part of being human. If we allowed them and embraced them, giving ourselves compassion, this helps us go through them and then they dissipate. But instead we beat ourselves up for risking our sanity by having emotions because they feel so scary. Then, we have just complicated them, and exponentially exaggerated them, making us more miserable.
What would you recommend people to do, when they feel overwhelmed by their emotions?
Allow themselves to feel. Watch my video on this: Allow Yourself to Feel - Feel, let go, and heal. That's why I love the Feeling Magnets so much! Naming the feeling gives it permission. With that acknowledgement it already begins to dissolve- which is exactly what we want. People think that they want their feelings to go away so they protest allowing them. But this anchors them even more. We have to have compassion for our feelings so they do get relieved.
What happens if someone ignores or suppresses their feelings, short term and long term?
They show up somewhere. They have a way of effecting us whether we are aware or not. We suffer.
How important is it for us to be aware of our emotions, to always know what we are feeling, even if these feelings might be uncomfortable?
I don't know if it is a matter of knowing our feelings. It's more a matter of allowing them. We know them, fear them and avoid them at all costs. This just gets us more miserable. Feeling them is not as bad as the fear of it.
How can tools like Feeling Magnets help with dealing with overwhelming emotions?
They are a practice activity that channels a feeling and reminds us that it is OK and we will be OK. They are especially great for people who don't like to journal. This is quick and powerful way to be reflective, have compassion for yourself and then go on with your day, clearer and freer than before.
Please complete the sentences:
Emotions are... part of being human.
Emotions aren't... shameful. There is nothing wrong with you for having them.
Emotions can help us with... having compassion.
The best way to become friends with your emotions is... allowing them, naming them, being nice to yourself about them.
The biggest challenge with becoming friends with emotions is... our fear that we will get overwhelmed or go insane.
The biggest myth about emotions is... they will make you out of control or take you off an insanity cliff and you can't get back to yourself.
Thank you Jodi for your time and valuable inputs.
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