Emotions. Gifts of the heart. The heart’s full expression. All emotions are gifts. Is this how you view emotions? I know in myself and in working with others, so often we view the “negative emotions” as bad or wrong, and the “positive emotions” as things to strive towards. “Stop your anger.” “Jealousy is wrong.” “I’ll give you something to cry about.” “Don’t be afraid.” Did you ever receive these words? Or say them? Or, “Why aren’t you happy?” (As if sad is not ok.) Emotions, the truth is, are ours to behold; everyone one of them. We could not be conscious thinking human beings without the spectrum of emotions in our lives. Emotions are our heart. It is our mind and the recording of experiences that has deemed emotions as wrong.
What might be wrong is how we try to avoid them, deny them, or circumvent them, instead of trying to embrace them. What might be wrong is how we learn to manage them because of our perception that they themselves are wrong. Our way of managing them may be wrong, but denying them and seeing them as wrong, is like trying to shut off a part of our hearts, locking the door, throwing away the key, and saying, “There is not even a room there; what room?”
I was speaking with someone the other day, and we were along in this discussion about all emotions are God-given, gifts, and a part of our heart. The discussion led to: 1. The reality that once we accept our emotions, so often, we then continue in the flip-flopping reactivity in ourselves with the emotions, and 2. How do we manage this reality. What came forth was this illustration and I thought I would share it with you.
We react in our beings and then we counter-react, and then counter-react, on and on. For example, we might have a fear of not being good enough, then inside us, as a response to that fear, we work extra hard trying to boost our own pride, then when we think we have over achieved and are better than, or when someone “knocks us down” or competes, we then become more aggressive. So we flip-flop, back and forth, inside ourselves, with these emotions, in order to try to “look ok” to the rest of the world, while we are in a constant state of flux and stress inside trying to maintain the image and some sense of balance. There are much better ways of professionally or technically presenting this concept, however, bringing it into such rawness, may make a little more connection.
Our beings do want balance. Unfortunately though, often times balance comes with extreme, counter-balancing extreme. Our desire would be to best acknowledge all of the feelings/emotions and ways of expression without judgment minimizing the extreme fluctuations. If you are familiar with tri-corner hats, or tricornes as they are known, they have three corners. (I learned in researching them that the purpose of wearing a three-cornered hat was to channel rain-water away from the body.) To make the illustration now, the tricorne was to be worn balanced flatly on top of the head so that all three corners were balanced. Our emotions are like the three corners, if they can be in balance, with respect, acknowledgement, and without judgment, then the hat will sit flatly on the top of the head. The hat was not meant to be worn tilted or lopsided because then it’s purpose would not be effective; as is true with our emotions. When one emotion becomes too much out of balance or is perceived that way inside, then the drastic counter-balancing occurs.
The moral of the story is that when you find your emotions flip-flopping and reactionary to each other, then remember the tricorne and its purposes for being balanced – so that the rainwater is channeled away from the body (much like our emotions – accepted, acknowledged, and without radical judgment.)
In honor of my German teacher in high school, let me leave you with this song I remember and can actually sing:
Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken,
Drei Ecken hat mein Hut.
Und hätt’ er nicht drei Ecken,
So wär’s auch nicht mein Hut.
My hat, it has three corners,
Three corners has my hat,
And had it not three corners,
It would not be my hat.