How Emotional Mastery Will Change Your Life

{8 min. read}

I was younger once, and trust me I was no angel. 

Moving through adolescence, I knew two categories of emotions - either a sort of monotone state or a triggered fury - like anger. I was angry at being bullied for years. Angry that I didn’t use my voice to stand up for myself. Angry when people did something that affected me and angry when they apologized. Beyond that, I kept a lot of my thoughts and feelings trapped inside, for fear of rocking the boat.

Turning the other cheek and going with the flow was my style. I was the peacekeeper in the family, yes, but there came a distinct time when it got tricky.

Having held in my voice to avoid conflict, when the feelings tried to come out they didn’t know how - so I was angry.

The only way I understood how to express anger was though explosion or implosion. I never pulled a blade or threatened harm to people, but in some out of control moments - I yelled - and oh how I screamed.

But the explosion was a break from the anger imploding inside. My chosen blade was two fingers I stuck down my throat daily, sharpened by my stone-cold discipline to be a good girl and to not bother other people.

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I didn’t just grow up and out of this.

I learned other categories of emotions as I matured {like grief and compassion} and in my late twenties I began to trust them and to feel safe expressing them. 

I am still learning this. Emotional understanding seems to be forever evolving, though I do believe we can master the foundation. And as much as I’m still learning from my emotions, I do have the foundation. 

 Art by Lily Johannah

Art by Lily Johannah

We don’t understand how our emotions work and how to express ourselves best overnight. Mastery of our emotional repertoire takes practice to learn - just like anything else.

 

By emotional mastery I mean the capacity to identify, experience and use emotions to be oneself in the full expression. And by recognizing the same in others.

 

Sigmund Freud thought that just because we don't always see emotions, doesn’t undermine their legitimacy. C.G. Jung’s focus seems to encompass more than thought, but an image containing a feeling tone to which he says, “paying attention to the image pays attention to the psyche.” 

James Hillman, a Jungian, describes emotions as a vocation - a calling. 

The call of the soul convinces; it is a seduction into psychological faith in images and the thought of the heart, into an animation of the world.
— Hillman

Think about it for a moment - our hearts seem to take the blows of life and the pleasures. We feel with our hearts. The yogis said that our hearts are the seat of our mind and the throne of deep knowing where consciousness shines as emotions and trust.

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“It is through emotion that we get the exaggerated sense of soul, of honor, of hurt, of anxiety, of our own person. In emotion we get the awareness that we are not alone in ourselves, not in control over all of ourselves, that there is another person, if only an unconscious complex, who also has something - often a great deal - to say about our behavior. So finding the soul through the unconscious is a stumbling sort of discovery. We fall into emotional moods, affects, and discover a new dimension, which much as we wish to rid ourselves of, leads us downward into the depths of ourselves.” - Hillman

Paying attention to emotional symptoms is a way to navigate through our unique lives. And before making moves to condemn or fix our feelings we must stand with the emotions and the psyche. 

What do the symptoms have to say about the state of my soul? What is my spirit saying through these symptoms?

The purpose of emotion is to connect us deeply to our spirits and to help guide us through life.

Imagine the freedom when our emotions are given respect and voice instead of suddenly, unconsciously and covertly taking us over and co-opting our lives. 

 

With Love,

Lauren

Lauren Ziegler1 Comment