When it comes to stopping or changing emotional reactions people often approach the problem like they are fixing a car. They ask, “How can I change this reaction?” or “How can I stop my jealousy, anger, frustration etc?”. The assumption seems to be that if we change one thing the whole problem will go away. People are looking for a fix as if it were like changing a spark plug. In my experience this approach and attitude to change emotional reaction does more harm than good.
Our desire to be free of emotional suffering and pain is real and authentic. However, when we express our desire for change with an attitude laced with judgment, rejection, disdain, or frustration, it now becomes another emotional reaction. We are now having emotional reactions about our emotional reactions.
To change emotional reactions we would be better served to think of our mind and emotions as a garden. It is a living growing field of emotional energy that we plant seeds in, water, nurture, and bring to life. We want to nurture the fruit that bears emotions of joy and gratitude and we want to pluck out the weeds of fear and anger. Every expression we make goes into that emotional field. When you express judgments about emotional reactions you are planting and watering another weed in your mind.
We can’t get rid of the weeds by throwing weeds of judgment at them. We are going to need a different approach in order to be effective.
Some people choose denial as a way to stop their emotional reactions. I personally did emotional denial for a long time. Growing up as a male in this society, I was unknowingly encouraged. Fortunately I was so good at denying my emotions that I never felt guilty about it. Think of this as spraying weed killer on the whole garden. You kill the weeds, but you also kill the fruit. You don’t feel much anger and pain, but you don’t feel any love, joy or happiness either. Numb is the word.
Behaviors, perspectives, and beliefs that create happiness will take some time to grow strong roots. You don’t expect trees to bear fruit in one week or one month. You invest some effort and action in the beginning so that you can feed your self emotionally thereafter. This is a garden approach that bears fruit.
You can fix a car in a hurry, but you have to grow an emotional field of joy and happiness with attention and patience.
At the same time there needs to be a continual weeding out of the beliefs and assumptions that create emotional reactions. Keep an eye out for the interpretations in the mind that create reactions. The seeds behind these emotionally harmful beliefs are archetype attitudes of the victim and the inner judge. When we eliminate the seeds of the judge and victim point of view all our energy goes directly to the roots of love, gratitude, and happiness.
Each person has their own personal field of emotional energy that they have grown. I am not saying this as a metaphorical statement. It is a literal statement. I’ll say it again. Each person has grown their own personal field of emotional energy. When we have an emotional reaction, that field gets agitated and we perceive its intensity. In the book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz refers to this field as a parasite that steals our energy. Ekhart Tolle refers to this field as the Pain Body. Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. We don’t see emotions, but they can be powerful factors affecting our choices in life.
Even if you don’t believe each person has an emotional field, it may help to think of issues using this model. It will cause you to change the kind of question you ask. It won’t be about fixing something that is wrong. The questions will shift to, “How do I create and grow love and happiness in this situation?”. When you ask a different question your mind opens to different possibilities. It is also helpful to understand that you can completely transform this emotional field.
One of the reasons that stopping emotional reactions is challenging is that we haven’t been introduced to ways to deal with our own emotional field. It doesn’t respond the way we might think. We might be attacking it like a car when it behaves more like a garden. With the wrong approach our efforts to change emotions only agitate them further. When you become more aware of how your emotional field operates, practice what to do, and what not to do, you can completely change your emotional reactions.
In this episode I discuss how this emotional field behaves, both with an individual, and in relationships. Most importantly I cover what not to do, and why, when trying to change emotional reactions. When you stop doing the things that agitate your emotional field, your emotional reactions dissolve all by themselves. Learning to shift certain expressions is like not watering the weeds in the garden anymore. When you don’t water weeds anymore they die.
Topics covered in this audio are
- Field of emotional energy and how it reacts
- The Four Agreements: Impeccability
- Judgment and rejection
- Changing or fixing emotional reactions
- What not to do
- How the emotional field creates emotional reactions in relationships
- Being the witness observer and why it is so important
- Archetypes of victim, judge, and hero
Understand more about how the Self Mastery Course sessions guide you to change emotional reactions located on my website.