Many people have learned, due to difficult childhoods, dysfunctional families, highly competitive work environments or traumatic events that emotions are a vulnerability.  They are a weakness, a deadend that takes away time and energy from more productive pursuits, uncontrollable, never appropriate, and something to be rigidly controlled or avoided.  There are lots of ways to go about getting them out of the way like food, gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs, or work just to name a few.  I mean, how many times have we heard, “I’ll be all right as long as I have something to do to take my mind off it.”  Well, their mind isn’t really the issue, is it?  The idea is to use the mind as a means to occupy all of our attention and energy so we can’t feel. Same with stuffing food, it takes our body’s energy away from feeling in order to process it. You get the picture.

All of this doing, whether it’s medicating or being severely practical, workaholism or over/under eating, keeps us from our emotions to the extent that we become functionally illiterate concerning our emotions.  This is common to veterans coming back from multiple tours in war zones or special forces in any capacity.  The emotions, other than those very stunted forms useful for unit cohesion and mission completion, are practically excised through training and experience.  Upon their reëntry into civilian life many aren’t able to simply reacquaint themselves with their emotions and move forward.  They have no connection to the full spectrum of emotions and must relearn such simple things as the fact that they are experiencing an emotion, what the full spectrum of emotions are, and how to respond to them in a healthy way while at the same time remembering or learning for the first time what those emotions look like when expressed by others.

What is surprising is how many civilians have exactly the same issues.  They have suppressed their emotions for so long that they no longer recognize when they are having them or when they do they immediately negate them and replace them with something else.  The problem is that you can’t have just the ones you want.  Emotions are your soul speaking to you about deep truths and they contain amazing gifts of wisdom in them.  The only way to receive those gifts and reach the truth is to feel. It is highly productive to stop being on a productivity schedule when an emotion comes up because the emotion is going to offer more wisdom and becoming and health than any one project will.  Emotions will lead to releasing baggage, solving mysteries, shine a light on the path you should take, and help you learn what it means to live the life you deserve.  So how do you access them?  You don’t have to, they’ll access you.  The idea is to stop blocking them through coping mechanisms and that means the first feeling you’ll deal with is the one you know the best, fear.  Don’t worry, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself. 🙂