life skills : Be constructive with emotions

Many people cope up with their work with difficult emotions or emotional

patterns by repressing them. Emotions cause trouble or create feelings of discomfort, so they are hidden. But now is the time to find ways to work with emotions constructively, especially those that cause the most trouble. It is time to begin the process of taming the tiger.

One of the greatest obstacles to working with emotions is fear; fear of the unknown and fear of the unexpected. When beginning to work with emotions it is natural to feel afraid. It has been hard work caging that tiger, keeping her under control. There is so much to lose if all those efforts fail. But, ironically, the tiger has been breaking free and raising mayhem in the community on a regular basis. There is no cage that can ever be constructed strong enough or thick enough to keep her always locked up. It is time to negotiate.

The other thing we fear most is that of intense, uncontrolled emotion. Because we have not learned to work with emotions effectively, when we experience them, they tend to explode. Remember the last time there was an explosion? Even with happy emotions, we tend to inadvertently step on the feelings of others as we revel in our success. The sheer intensity of emotions becomes so self-absorbing that we lose touch with our surroundings and stop paying attention — and when that happens we make mistakes. So, we need to find a way to work with these intense emotional outbursts when they occur.

Don’t be swept away by anger, greed, jealousy and passion. Learn to minimise their impact. Then you can learn how to express your feelings constructively. Of course many people will think, “But I’m already doing that! I keep myself under control most of the time.” Repressing emotions is not the same, however, as learning to work with them. Even if emotions are kept under control there are times when they come rushing to the front — during times of trauma, losing a job, experiencing a death, or dealing with divorce.

When strong emotions occur it is essential to pay attention to them. When strong emotions occur, more needs to be done. Give yourself space and time to experience what is happening around. This may mean getting away from what you are doing; taking an hour or so away from work; going for long walks. Don’t ignore your feelings or pretend they don’t exist. It may be particularly difficult to acknowledge extremely painful emotions such as grief or anger constructively. The bottomline is — don’t ignore your emotions because you fear them instead work it out. — Agencies