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When we Fear Emotion

by Dr. Amy Johnson on November 13, 2014

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A woman was recently telling me how emotions were not okay in the family in which she grew up.  logjam

Feeling bad—and being honest about it—w as not an option.

So she learned to pretend that she was feeling okay when she was not. She began to carry on as if everything were wonderful when she felt anything but.  This set into motion a habit of pushing away anything remotely unpleasant.

Because she was always pushing her emotions away so quickly, she never got the chance to realize how fleeting and harmless they are, and how they actually go away on their own when you aren’t pushing.

Forty years later, she’s still pretending she feels fine when she does not (even though she’s free to feel however she wants now). She wonders why she feels badly so often.

What she’s unintentionally, habitually doing is the equivalent of jumping in the middle of a rushing river carrying a bunch of logs, and then wondering why there is a logjam.

“How do I keep the river flowing with all of these logs in the way?” she asks, not seeing that keeping herself and her logs out of the river is an option.

It’s a fully self-correcting problem, really.  When we stay out of the way, things take care of themselves in the easiest, most efficient way possible.  

You feel what you feel—which is not “yours” or personal in any way—then it flows downstream and you feel something else.

You don’t have to express or voice it any more than you have to resist or deny it. Thought and emotion are fleeting, designed to change on their own.  You have no required role in the process.

Feel free to can stand on the sidelines and watch the flow.



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