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Embracing our sadness, anxiety, anger or frustration in the face of current turmoil in this city

A few weeks ago, I hurt my back due to intensive exercising. During the week throughout my injury, I can feel the pain whenever I move my back even for very simple movement. Even though my trainer suggested me to continue in mild exercising, I tried my best to avoid moving in order to avoid feeling pain. This experience reminds me of a rare genetic disorder, Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP). In the surface, it is tempting to think that it must be a blessing to have CIP because we can avoid feeling pain. However, with second thought, inability to feel pain may be a curse because it makes us unable to receive feedback signal from our body when we hurt or injure ourselves.

A parallel condition for emotional awareness is known as Alexithymia.  This is a phenomenon of inability to be aware of and describe one’s and others’ emotions. People with Alexithymia are unable to use emotional signals to make decisions, take others’ perspectives or to understand one’s own emotions. In view of this, to be able to feel sad or angry is a blessing.

In the face of the current turmoil in our city, it is common for us to feel emotionally disturbed. Sadness, anxiety, anger, or frustration are some of the common emotions we may experience. These emotions will cause uncomfortable sensations in us and we may want to avoid these uncomfortableness.  We may view avoiding to experience these emotions as analogous to struggling when one falls into quick sand. The more we struggle to escape, the quicker we sink into it.  Instead, if we lie flat, we may be able to pull ourselves out of the quick sand. That is, if we get in touch with our emotions, it is more likely that we may be able to get out of it.

Whenever we experience emotions, we may try to get in touch with the bodily sensations associated with the emotions. For example, increased heart beating and sweating when feeling anxious. Then we may embrace our emotional experience with acceptance. It is also important for us not to judge what is happening within us. In this way, the emotional experience will come and go like waves in the sea. Let’s experience the gift of our life: the different colours of our emotional experience.

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