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Understanding Emotions

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Peter J Granger
In life we are taught a great many things, but for some reason we do not learn much about emotions! For most of us our emotions are something of a mystery. We know that we have them but have little idea where they come from or how we can experience them more positively.

A useful model developed, by psychologist Dr C. Spezzano, allows us to become more self-aware and to better understand our emotions. At any point in life, our emotions will be experienced from any of six different perspectives.

Denial > Resistance > Pain > Guilt > Fear > Love

Denial - Many of our fears and insecurities are hidden beneath the surface of our conscious minds and we can therefore be completely unaware of them and how they affect our lives. We are often in denial of these insecurities - an unconscious strategy designed to avoid us having to face the emotional pain that we believe might overwhelm us if we were to unearth our hidden fears. We hide them away for protection and then try to get on with life. Unfortunately, these insecurities have a nasty habit of reappearing in our lives as emotional trauma, relationship difficulties and even health problems.

Resistance - Life will through all sorts of challenges at us and these will raise the emotional temperature. In a struggle to keep our insecurities at bay and avoid feeling our negative emotions we will tend to resist anybody or anything in life that might trigger these unpleasant sensations. This normally involves some form of compensatory behavior or distraction from anything that could trigger our pain. Trying to be very successful in education or work to gain approval, or trying to be a really 'nice' person would be typical examples of compensations, but there are many, many more.

Pain - Sooner or later, usually due to traumatic events in our life, the resistance is broken and we begin to feel emotional pain. Our reaction is to either bury it again through more resistance and denial or hand the pain to somebody else - we tend to blame other people for our negative emotions. This is what happens in bad behavior, arguments and rows as we judge and project our pain outwards into the world.

Guilt - Under our tendency to blame other people for our problems is a usually unconsciously held belief that, in fact, we are to blame. This guilt is based around our low self esteem and unworthiness that we take on at a very early age and comes out of a belief that we have let people down (often our parents) and hurt people in some way. Self-blame and guilt are always mistakes and much of our work focuses on letting go of these damaging emotions. More information on Guilt & Low Self Esteem

Fear - All these negative emotions are actually hiding our deeply buried fears. There will be many different fears that we are unwilling to deal with, but ultimately these will boil down to our fears about being abandoned, rejected and unloved. As we gain confidence and greater emotional awareness we are able to feel, understand and let go of these fears.

Love - As we face and heal our fears, rather than suppressing or denying them, we discover that they hide our natural state - that of love, spirit and pure positive energy. As we strip away the pain, guilt and fear we are left with the beauty of our essence - full of creativity, abundance and joy.

We usually experience these emotional responses sequentially. They appear as layers in our reaction to people and events in our lives. Our negative emotions can be understood as our defense mechanism to avoid feeling pain, guilt and fear, that usually originates in our childhood. If we want to gain more emotional awareness and maturity we need to work down through our emotional layers and heal or our insecurities and fears. By understanding the layered nature of emotions we begin to understand why we have certain thoughts and feelings and also understand the people around us better. Ultimately we can let go of all the negative emotions and bring more love into our lives and improve our relationships and romantic experiences.

Peter J Granger

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