Emotions Are The Best Teachers
I spent a great deal of my life trying hard to appear strong. I was really being cautious about showing the softer side of me. I have long fought with my feelings, as they kept showing up at the worst of times. I long believed my strong emotions and feelings were a sign of being weak. Showing them made me feel very vulnerable. At times, showing them made me feel like a failure.
This has all changed now, and I want to talk about it. I want it to be OK for guys to show their feelings. I want it to be OK for all of us to embrace our emotions. I want it to be OK to cry when I feel like crying.
Showing emotion isn't a weakness. It truly is a sign of strength Click To Tweet
I have attended many funerals in my life. Attending funerals has always been a very stressful time for me. The problem is when I get to a visitation, or the actual funeral I’m very overwhelmed with emotions. Regardless of how well I actually know the deceased or the family, I am overwhelmed. I just want to cry. I want to embrace those who are grieving, and comfort them. Yet I am afraid to talk as my emotions would come rushing out with the words.
For most of my life, I have held the traditional and expected belief that men don’t show emotions. Because I thought of emotions as a sign of weakness, I believed showing them would leave me vulnerable to the world around me. I thought to get ahead in my career I needed to be the master of my emotions, and as such worked hard to keep them boxed up. It didn’t matter what situation I encountered, I wanted people to see the calm, cool and collected Mike working steadily forward.
What’s in an emotion?
Have you ever hiked a marked trail through the wilderness? Many of the trails my wife and I hike are marked with small plastic arrows nailed to the trees. As you walk, you just need to continually be looking ahead for the next marker. When you loose sight of the next marker, I have learned through experience the best thing is to stop, and step sideways until you see the next marker. These markers have been placed along the trail I’m walking to help me stay on course towards my destination.
I now see emotions like the markers on the trees. They are telling us something about our journey. Emotions are not a sign of weakness. In fact when we listen closely to our emotions they serve us well. Here’s how I see some of my emotions now:
- Fear is a sign I’m at the edge growth. Often growth requires doing something I’ve never done before. So I have to accept the vulnerability of stepping forward into the unknown
- Anger (or upset) is a sign I am not being true to myself in some way. Although the emotion may come out as anger towards another, the real source of this anger can be found within. There’s something in me I am really uncomfortable with
- Sadness is a sign I have lost something important to me. Sadness is a time for awareness and reflection about what the thing lost meant to me. Sadness is a bridge towards renewal and moving forward.
Crying. Crying is not just a small plastic arrow nailed to a tree. For me, crying is more like a big, flashing, loud sign post in the middle of the wilderness. When tears emerge, I now see them as a powerful sign of something very important in me showing itself. It’s as if you are so full of an emotion it overflows in the form of tears. Tears are a powerful sign for me.
Emotions Are Strength
I have become very connected with my emotional self. When strong emotions show up I now step into them to learn what is there. My emotions are my guideposts that keep me moving towards the things I am most passionate about, and away from places I no longer want to be.
My dream is for a future in which our culture makes it OK be our emotional selves, as it’s the only thing we can possibly be. I dream of a time when it’s OK to cry, even in the work place. I dream of a time when it’s OK to step into our emotions rather than trying to control them. I dream of a time emotions are seen as a strength.
Your emotions are a beautiful part of you. Your emotions give you strength.
what marker is in front of you?
Mike Edwards, Certified Coach
When I listen to my heart I get the most precious gift in this world; freedom. Freedom to follow what is important to me. Freedom from the masks I used to wear through life. Freedom from trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be. It’s an amazing feeling to be free, making life so much easier. I am humbled and honoured to work with people who are passionate about transforming their lives. www.mikeeedwards.ca
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