GIVE INTO GRIEF
emotional honesty practice emotional honesty practice emotional honesty practice
When it comes down to it, everything we feel has been felt by someone else to some degree or another. While our individual life situations vary, how we react and respond to what happens always results in some sort of emotion. Whether we’re stuck at home an hour drive away or a 10 hour flight away from our family during the holidays, being kept apart is being kept apart. The feeling stays the same. Thus if we boil down all of our fears, anxieties, and worst case scenarios, we would find a bottom line of emotions.
If we take a step back and consider this bottom line, we’d see that at the end of the day we’re all suffering from the same types of grief and celebrating the same types of joy. This connection can be used in everyday conversation instead of shielded or shunned away from. The more we can openly share our emotions with one another -and ourselves- the freer we’ll be.
The following practice consists of two parts: internal and external emotional honesty. Both require the same amount of effort (and honesty), so the challenge is to practice both equally in your daily life. If you only partake in half, you’ll notice the lack of balance. This makes it difficult to find your true center -who you really are and how you really feel. Thus you must practice emotional honesty in all aspects of your life in order to live authentically.
Internal Honesty: The first step in practicing internal emotional honesty is to notice and question your emotions. Especially any unknown emotional responses. Pay attention to emotions or responses that don’t seem to have any cause. Perhaps you have a constant headache, a heavy feeling in your stomach, or a recurring twitch. It’s essential to notice when these reactions occur to see what the underlying cause could be. Sometimes emotions occur and we don’t realize how they transform or express themselves in our bodies. So in order to practice internal honesty, we have to be curious and aware of what’s actually happening inside of us.
The next step is to consider the cause of each emotion. If it’s a known emotion -like an angry response to being insulted- then the cause is clear. Thus we can address it immediately so that it doesn’t linger and cause us any further internal damage. But if the emotion is unknown, we must identify its emotional response in our body and attempt to trace its origin. The pit in our stomach could be our fear of an upcoming event, or the constant headache could be built up annoyance at our partner. Once we dive deeper into our unknown emotions, we can identify the problem and then work on finding a solution.
External Honesty: Once you’ve explored how your emotions affect you internally, you can begin to share them with the outside world. For instance, if someone asks you how you’re doing or how you’re day is, consider answering with some emotional honesty. It’s possible that if you share something you’re struggling with, it could really resonate with that person. Then perhaps they might respond with some empathy, advice, or encouragement. For all we know they could be struggling with something similar and by opening up you can offer each other solace.
This external emotional honesty doesn’t give us an excuse to go around complaining or dumping our baggage on everyone. It means that we should consider stepping out of our emotional comfort zone, especially when we feel a strong or overwhelming emotion. So rather than allowing your immediate emotional response to overwhelm you, try and state your feelings fully. For example, if you’re in a heated conversation with someone and you notice a strong emotion building, don’t just scream and yell. Instead, take a pause, examine what you’re feeling -and why- and do your best to explain your emotional state.
While being honest about your feelings might not stop or improve the situation, it can release the inner tension. And when you feel lighter you can respond to other’s in a more productive manner. Because when you share your feelings, everyone knows where you stand. If everyone were emotionally honest we could see past their facade and into their truth. We would know why they believe, say, and do what they do. Thus we’d have an easier time finding common ground and building a lasting bond.
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