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Using the hidden intelligence and power in our feelings

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”, the great physicist Albert Einstein once said. Imagination is related to feelings, as when we imagine something we automatically produce feelings.

Yet logical-mathematical intelligence is still seen as especially important in today’s society as logic has always been regarded as more significant than intuition and emotion.  We are now beginning to speak of “emotional intelligence” once again, but in our daily lives emotions are still seen as a Pandora’s box. A box we prefer not to open – as we never know what could emerge from it.

Children copy how we deal with emotions

Emotions are generally seen as a weakness in boys and men and are frequently perceived as signs of irrationality in girls and women. Thus, in both cases, emotions are something we are taught to suppress.   Our parents warned us to suppress our feelings and our parents were warned by their parents and so on.

Consequently, today’s children also fall into the same pattern and subconsciously copy our behaviour, which means that they do not dare express their feelings if they are not purposefully encouraged to do so because they sense that we adults are unable to deal with this. It is about time that we break this cycle. Suppressing our feelings is stripping a huge part of our intelligence and our potential and thus also that of the generations to come.

Which natural emotions are there and what are their messages?

Feelings form a hugely important and powerful part of us, whether we like it or not. We can either choose to deny this and consequently be at the mercy of our own emotions as their puppets or we can choose to consciously examine these, demystify them, acknowledge their messages and integrate them into our lives.

Anger is a natural feeling: Either you or someone else has crossed your personal line or offended you. Anger allows you to draw boundaries, to confidently assert yourself, to say “no thank you”. This is possible without becoming abusive or hurting other people.

Children who are free to express their anger develop a healthy relationship with this emotion as adults.  But children who are told that anger is something negative and are not even allowed to feel this emotion are not able to deal well with anger or draw appropriate boundaries as adults. Anger that is permanently suppressed turns into raging fury and thus becomes a distorted feeling.

Grief (sorrow, pain, disappointment) is a natural feeling: It lets us accept that we have expected something and this has not happened. It lets us express sadness for our losses. It lets us say goodbye when we really don’t want to. If you are free to express your grief, you will rid yourself of this.

Children that are free to be sad develop a healthy relationship with sadness. But children who are told not to cry have difficulty crying as adults. Grief that is permanently suppressed turns into chronic depression and thus becomes a distorted feeling.

Fear is a natural feeling: It is our guide to being cautious. Caution protects us from injury and helps the body stay alive. It is a natural consequence of our (self)love. Fear is also to a cue for us prepare ourselves before we proceed or take new steps.

Feeling overburdened begins with fear and shows us that we have too many things on our plate and that we are not prioritising correctly or at all. This feeling encourages us to take a step back, to re-prioritise tasks and to take one step after another.

The feeling of being inadequate also derives from fear. It is a sign that we should change our own standards as we are being unfair to ourselves and demanding too much from ourselves. But this feeling can also prompt us to take a decision to become very good in something we have set out to do.  This requires time, practice and patience with ourselves.

Children who are not free to show or feel fear have difficulty coping with fear in a healthy way and overcoming fears as adults. Permanently suppressed fear leads to panic, helplessness and depression, and permanent overexertion leads to apathy. These therefore turn into distorted feelings.

Guilt is a natural feeling: It allows us to recognise that we have violated our own most valued standards or crossed the boundaries of someone else.

Children who make mistakes and are free to be disobedient develop a healthy relationship with their own mistakes and learn to draw their own conclusions through trial and error since every decision leads in itself to consequences. In contrast, children who are never allowed to make mistakes have trouble dealing with mistakes as adults. Guilt that is permanently suppressed leads to chronic self-pity and thus turns into a distorted feeling.

Envy is a natural feeling: It triggers a desire within us to achieve as much as or more than others. Envy encourages us to try harder, to persevere and to try again until we succeed.

Children who are free to feel envy have a healthy attitude towards envy as adults and do not begrudge others their successes and are glad about their own successes.
Children who are told that envy is bad and that they should not feel envy have difficulty dealing with feelings of envy as adults.
Envy that is permanently suppressed leads to jealousy and thus turns into a distorted feeling.

Love is a natural feeling: It allows us to express and accept love and closeness in a normal and natural way. This kind of love leads to a feeling of inner fulfilment and a healthy independence. But love that is tied to conditions and rules, that is controlled, restrained and manipulated, can lead to a feeling of deep absence and loneliness.

Children who are taught that their love it wrong or that is it not acceptable to want love or to express love have difficulty in showing love naturally and accepting love as adults. Permanently suppressed love leads to us claiming ownership over others and being possessive.

Consequences of suppressed feelings

Ignoring and suppressing feelings means that we never really know what is going on inside of us. A sea of feelings undulates within us – full of intelligent messages for our lives – yet, if we only trust in our reason and logic, we throw away all of this potential. And it is not only that we are not using our feelings, but that these feelings are using us, keeping us on their leash, dragging us this way and the other as they feel like it. And this, in turn, leads to a feeling of helplessness, we are at their mercy.

Yet what is even more significant is the fact that our feelings are scientifically measurable energies. Suppressed feelings are therefore pent-up energy within us which is expressed in the form of mental and physical illnesses.

How can we use the intelligence in our feelings constructively?

This process is not about switching off our logic, but about increasingly using feelings in our lives in a constructive manner.

  • Allowing, respecting and honouring our feelings. Acknowledging what is present – the natural and/or distorted emotions.
  • Exploring our feelings and really getting to the bottom of these (preferably in writing): Which messages are hidden in our feelings?
  • Trusting the message about this feeling even when we have no assurances. We can begin with small decisions. Over time we will become better at discerning the messages.
  • Putting the messages into effect as far as possible.

Extra tip:

  • Every disquieting feeling tell us that it is sensible to change something – either our perception, our behaviour or both.
  • Positive feelings can be produced consciously by doing things that are good for us. There is a recipe for all good feelings. What helps you to produce positive feelings?

What is the greatest power of our feelings?

All types of feelings are beings we use to give life to our thoughts. Depending on the intensity and quality of the feelings we place in our thoughts, they will deliver us what we have built in thought forms and given life to with our emotions. Is it not greatly worthwhile exploring our feelings and managing these in as conducive manner as possible? After all, as Einstein once said: “Imagination (your thought forms and the feelings with which you fill them) will take you everywhere.”

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