photo by Steven Depolo
I am looking for help with emotions. I have seen and looked at a couple of specific emotions (anger, depression, etc.), but my problem is that mine are completely blocked off…I feel NONE. The root cause is from my father telling me as a child that men do not display emotions (cry or laugh were his actual words) and any time I gave any type of an emotional display I was punished…what I am looking for is some help clearing this block. What can I do?
This is a very common problem. Many people have been taught that emotions are bad or a sign of weakness. There are a few ways you can deal with this type of problem.
1) Start With The Emotions That You Feel About Not Feeling Emotions
When we seek to feel emotions and notice something is lacking then there must be an emotional charge of some sort. The feeling of not feeling emotions or not being allowed can create anger, disappointment, feeling like a failure, or frustration. This is a great place to start because you are feeling something here. By clearing some of the charge you feel about the situation you are going to open yourself to being able to deal with the situation itself. Tapping for this might look like:
Right now I feel very frustrated that I can’t feel emotions like everyone else…I know that emotions can be overwhelming…but emotions are also a great way for our system to give us information about ourselves and the world…the fact that I feel frustrated about not feeling emotions is a good thing…this frustration is rooted in the fact that I would like to experience more in the world…even though I can’t do that right now…the fact that there is a part of me that wants to do this and is willing to feel frustrated is a good thing…the frustration has done its job…I now see that I want to feel emotion and the frustration has done it’s job in pointing out what I would like to see different about myself and my experience…
Tapping in this fashion should take the edge off the situation and will help you to see things more clearly.
2) Point/Counter Point
Often times we know rationally the truth about a situation even if our emotional self doesn’t. In this case the rational self knows that it is okay (and even healthy) to feel emotions while the emotional self feels that it is unsafe. When this happens I find it very useful to tap on what both parts believe. To do this all you need to do is first make a list of all the emotional beliefs you have about the situation.
- Emotions are a sign of weakness.
- Only girls feels emotions
- Real men don’t cry
- People will think less of me if I show emotion
After you come up with this list create a list of counter points that you rationally know to be true.
- Emotions are just a way the system communicates a truth that we understand.
- Everyone should feel emotions.
- It is ok for anyone, even men, to laugh or cry
- Some people are going to respect me because I feel emotions, because they see I can feel deeply and understand them.
When doing this strive to come up with three or four counter points for each of the items on the first list. Once you have the two lists you can use them for tapping phrases. “Even though a part of my system believes that emotions are a sign of weakness I want my whole system and whole self to know that emotions are just a way the system communicates a truth about how I see the world in this moment.”
Work your way through the list a number of times.
3) When A Loved One Gives Us A Belief
There are many beliefs we have about the world that have been given to us by loved ones. Some of them are given to us in very direct ways in the words they use (like when a parent tells us “Real men don’t show emotion.”) Other times we get these beliefs in subtle ways (like when someone we love is afraid of bees, therefore we become afraid of bees).
When we take on beliefs about the world from loved ones there is a part of us that can feel like it is turning its back on our loved one when we give up the belief they have given us. In other words, by rejecting the belief we are rejecting them. This can be so powerful that we will cling to destructive beliefs to keep ourselves in the good graces of a loved one. This can be true even after they are dead.
When this happens we can tap on something like this:
My father told me that real men don’t show emotions…that I would be seen as weak…that I would be seen as a fool…I now know that this is not true…that my emotions are healthy and are a good thing to feel…there is a part of me that is worried that if I let go of the things that my father believes that I am also letting go of my father…it might feel like I am turning my back on my father…it might feel like I am saying my father is wrong…my father grew up in a different time…people saw the world in a different way…they didn’t understand emotions the way we understand them today…my father was not perfect…like I am not perfect…it would be wonderful if my father only passed along true lessons to me…but that is not the case…it is possible for me to learn new things and not reject my father and my past…it is possible for me to change and not reject my father…my father did the job he did as a father…it was far from perfect…but that is what it is…now I can move forward…I can transform…and still respect my past…I don’t have to hold onto all things old to appreciate where I came from…I give myself permission to move forward…I give myself permission to grow…and I know that I am not letting others in my past down…even as I grow past the lessons they have given me…I don’t have to let them go.
If you take these three steps you will be well on your way to opening yourself up to feeling emotions.