Emotional Beings with Emotional Pain ~ Let Us Unite!
'One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, when one yields - even to sadness.' ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Southern Mail, 1929, translated from French by Curtis Cate
Suffering from strong emotions that cause us pain is as ubiquitous a human experience as eating, drinking and sleeping. Experience of emotion is universal, and deep psychological pain born of deep emotions often becomes much more that just a mental pain or a pain of psychogenic origin. We have all experienced emotional pain that 'cuts like a knife.' We frequently use actual physical body metaphors such as this one to describe this deep psychological pain. If not dealt with emotions become chronic pain that is manifested in physical and spiritual symptoms.
Psychological pain and suffering is an attribute often assigned to women more than men. This is a common stereotype that I have previously discussed in other pages on my website.
Men truly are no more immune to emotions than women. It is just that certain emotions are considered more masculine. Think of anger and all the shoot-em-up movies that are based on anger and injustices as seen through the eyes of men. Then our masculine heroes must seek justice by obtaining vengeance through violence. This is a recurring emotional theme in our action movies. We just don’t usually equate these emotions as "bad" but rather as "just."
The main difference that I see with men versus women's emotions is that 'male' emotions are considered more acceptable in our culture than women's. A man is allowed to express anger, whereas women are not. Men are allowed to express aggression, while women are not. "Masculine" emotions are seen as a sign of strength and "feminine" emotions are seen as a sign of weakness.
Women are allowed to cry when they have their feelings hurt and suffer from psychogenic pain. Men are allowed to be angry and aggressive when they are in psychological pain from their emotions. These are real stereotypes that we still cling to in the Western world.
Several studies suggest that when a woman is emotional, she is perceived as having that attribute internally or as part of herself. That is, if she is sad or angry she becomes a sad or an angry woman. In contrast, when a man is sad or angry, he is just having a bad day, or the emotion is somehow external to him!
According to a Newsweek article, by Sharon Begley, dated June 25, 2009, "The stereotype of the overly emotional female is grounded in the belief that women express emotion because they are emotional creatures, but men express emotion because the situation warrants it." So while he is having a bad day, she is just emotional.
People choose to believe the stereotype, despite studies of the movement of facial muscles measured by electromyography that show no sex difference at all!
Some studies even went so far as to describe an actual situation that caused the emotion in both men and women. This would explain the situation as being temporary. Despite the facts presented as temporary, study subjects still kept their stereotype!
In other words, it didn’t matter if they were given the situation as temporary, the study subjects still judged the men as having a bad day, but the women as being emotional!
Talk about strong stereotypes! If you are a female reading this and it doesn’t give you more psychogenic pain, you are an exception!
Sisters and enlightened brothers, let us reverse the societal judgment upon us! Let us glorify our emotions and marvel at our emotional pain. Let us learn to treat the 'negative' emotions merely as a way to learn about ourselves and understand our emotions as a source of information and insight into our inner selves.
Emotions are information only! They are not good or bad! They just are! If others judge our emotions, let them! We will not! We will understand that without emotional pain there is no growth. Without emotional pain there is no honesty and integrity. Without emotional pain there is no freedom! Without emotional pain we will never understand who we really are! If we do not honor our emotions we suppress them and become zombies!
Instead, let us fully feel our pain and heal it, right in the moment! Emotions affect our body, our souls and all aspects of our lives. If we cannot learn to feel our psychological pain, so that we can release it and heal it, we will only suppress it and create dis-ease. Suppressed emotions create more pain that becomes body-mind-soul issues.
Find creative ways to feel and express your emotions. They must all be acknowledged as information about who you really are, so you can be how you really are.
Emotions are not to be hidden! Nothing is hidden anyway, you just think it is! But your actions, your words and your Body Window will tell on you, if you have unresolved psychological pain that is suppressed and carried around.
You can express yourself and your emotions through journaling, meditating and creative arts. My favorite for accessing and releasing emotional pain is through bodywork like Yoga , Qi Gong, meditative foam rolling, meditative walking and other intuitive movements. Tai Chi is good too. Do whatever you are drawn to, whatever will allow you to express your heart and let out your inner self!
May your emotional pain be healed through your understanding that emotions are real tools to assess your inner self! Acknowledge your emotions so that they do not become body-mind-soul issues.
Just Feel It and Heal It!