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  • Michaela Patel


'I haven't cried Mummy because I am strong!' said my 5 year old son the other day.

He was waiting for me to say 'WELL DONE, Sweetheart.' And if it wasn't for my understanding of what truly makes us humans strong, I would have told him how proud I was...

Instead, I said: 'You are strong even if you had cried Sweetheart.' And to much confusion reflected in his eyes I continued: 'What makes you strong is when you cry and FEEL OK about it.' Whilst he was thinking about what I said, I continued: 'You know, when you feel like crying it is good to cry because you let all that hurts you out. Instead of holding it all in. Because all that energy can cause more hurt inside. You know that after you had a little cry you feel much better, don't you?' He thought about it for a bit and his face suddenly lit up with a smile: 'Yes because I feel happy again!' 'Yes.' I said. To my amusement he grit his teeth, showing off his barely noticeable biceps muscles, hand in a tight fist he growled like a lion to signify the strength of his favourite animal and run off.

How many of us are living with the emotionally damaging equation of 'if I cry I am weak'?

Having lost the ability to cry, are you emotionally crippling your children?

What makes us human, what separates us from the animal kingdom and all other forms of life, is the variety and depth of our emotions. Ironically, our knowledge about them is often poor...

How many of us understand what they actually feel and why? How many teachers and parents are able to teach their children emotional wellbeing? We know much about IQ but how much are we aware of our EQ?

Whilst much has been written about empathy and how very important it is to understand our emotions, our society feeds into emotional ignorance and one's emotional denial.

Overwhelming amounts of NEGATIVE news have much to do with us not wanting to feel as the media dumps pretty painful stuff on us HOURLY. Feeling emotional pain eventually one wants it to stop. And either we seek to numb it ourselves, or block it out denying its existence all together.

Add the hugely popular, parental conditioning 'Big gilrs/boys don't cry', the observation of an emotional denial in action at home on how to disregard our feelings the way our parents do, we are bound to end up CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT WE FEEL AND WHY!

Confused, removed, ignorant, numb is the result of upbringing in an emotionally crippling environment...

Certain spiritual practices seem to be practicing emotional denial by inviting us to 'disregard our feelings because they aren't actually real and just an extension on our thoughts'. To the dislikes of spritual bypassers, who are scared to feel their emotions, I like to explain this misunderstanding further.

Spirituality is about knowing oneself on all levels: knowing how our thoughts work (connecting to our mind), but also listening and understanding our emotions (connecting to our heart) and intuition (connecting to our higher guidance/Soul).

Yes, our emotions come from our thinking. By altering our thinking we are able to ALTER HOW we feel. This is true. But it isn't always possible to alter or 'switch off' our thoughts. We are able to ignore our thoughts in the background of our mind in meditation. Altering an emotional experience can work for someone who is very experienced in practicing self-observation, typically for years. For overwhelming majority of us, this is only PARTIALLY possible. In our hectic family lives we aren't able to sit in quiet contemplation, practicing thought detachment all the time. We react to others crossing our boundaries. We take things personally, get scared and mad. We feel a little bit sad almost every day!

The truth is, we NEED to feel. Our feelings are part of our invaluable, internal guidance system. For most of us right now our emotions are REAL, so we must know how to work with them.

Being IMPATHIC is being empathic with yourself. It means being BRAVE to feel your own emotions. Like empathy is stepping into others 'emotional shoes', impathy is STANDING IN YOUR OWN.

Being there for ourselves is right the opposite of emotional ignorance and self-abandonment. Impathy is the prerequisite for self-love and polar opposite of self-rejection. Self-love is THE condition for true love and everlasting happiness, independant of the ever changing EXTERNAL conditions.

We are the happiest when we are being loving, feeling connected to those we love - starting with ourselves.

It has been said that empathy is the key element in human evolution and the medicine of the world. Feeling with others (empathy), and with ourselves (impathy), implies having clarity over our emotions. Undeniably, working with our emotions makes us stronger. We are more patient and ABLE to tackle what life throws at us as our ability to cry makes us more RESILIENT ON THE INSIDE.

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2017 Michaela Patel

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