Feelings are manifested on three levels: physical, mental, and motivational.
At the bodily level, feelings are manifested in the form of bodily sensations (sensations in the abdomen, chest, head, and arms …). The feeling is a bodily experience, not just a mental one.
On a mental level, feelings are manifested through thoughts. Thoughts that accompany emotions are an integral part of them and can appear in the form of inner speech or mental images.
At the motivational level, emotion encourages, motivates a reaction, behavior (for example: running away, fighting, withdrawing, giving up, going to something…
How do emotions arise?
Emotional reactions occur spontaneously, automatically as our reaction to some external or internal circumstances. Circumstances are just a trigger, and rarely the immediate cause of our reactions (I do not include objective circumstances here, such as, for example, situations in which our lives are endangered). Circumstances are as we see them based on our previous life experience, so that the same external circumstances are, as a rule, experienced differently by different people. We have a well-established repertoire of reactions with which we react in different situations, and that makes our behavior quite predictable and consistent. For example, someone who is prone to react with anger in one situation tends to react the same way in similar situations.
What do our feelings, our emotional reactions say about us?
The way we react emotionally says something about what we call the Self. Our emotional reactions speak to what we have identified with, and what we experience as part of ourselves. Within each person, what we call the Self, there is a multitude of identities (experiences that we have identified with and built into our mosaic that we call the Self). Many identities are in conflict with each other. This leads to internal conflicts. Internal conflict is the cause of every mental suffering and every emotional problem. Solving the problem is actually removing those conflicts.
Our Self consists of a series of different identities that we have created during our lives, identifying with a certain point of view that we have taken in an important situation and the goal we have set for ourselves in that situation. For example: if a boy has been frequently criticized by a parent or teacher, he develops the identity of a withdrawn person whose goal is not to be the center of attention in order to protect himself in the future from potential humiliation. Every time a person acts contrary to this goal (being in the center of attention, for example, because of a public presentation of something), the person will feel shame and anxiety. Anxiety is an internal alarm that a person acts contrary to some internal, unconscious (consciously forgotten) goal, and seen from that angle, he leaves the comfort zone and enters the danger zone.
Anxiety is resistance to exposure to an internal experience that a person perceives as unacceptable (which does not fit into the positive image of oneself that the person is trying to maintain convulsively), and with which the person also identifies. For example, a person has the following attitude: I must not feel fear because that means that I am weak (identity: I am a weak person, reaction: fear). Because a person suppresses that identity and does not want to perceive himself negatively (as a weak person), he suppresses every feeling of fear, which results in the appearance of anxiety. If, in addition, the person estimates that he will not be able to suppress fear, panic will occur. Anxiety is a signal that a person is resisting an inner experience, and panic is a signal that a person realizes that they will not succeed. As long as a person resists that inner experience (an unpleasant emotion that is an expression of some of his inner identity), he will experience anxiety or panic.
On a physical level, a person resists the emotional experience by tightening, has tense muscles (for example: tightening and retracting the abdomen, raising the shoulders, tightening the legs, and pelvis, tightening the neck), and restricting breathing (inhaling or exhaling, breathing only the upper chest) and not the stomach or vice versa).
On a mental level, a person analyzes the thoughts that occur within that feeling, tries to challenge them, suppresses them, and simply, immerses himself in those thoughts. By delving into those thoughts, she actually intensifies that feeling and at the same time resists it (does not accept it).
Why does a person resist these emotions so convulsively and persistently?
Because, they are a reflection of internal, undesirable identities (parts of the self that a person does not recognize, deny and suppress). In that way, the person becomes stuck in some identity and tends to react in the same way in future situations. By resisting unpleasant feelings (fighting them), the person actually maintains, nourishes, and reinforces them. All this, the person does unconsciously, not really knowing why he resists those feelings.
How do get out of this vicious circle?
There is only one way out, and that is the acceptance, that is, the awareness, non-resistance, and integration of internal warring identities, hitherto incompatible parts of the personality. When we accept an inner experience, the struggle, anxiety, panic, and drama stop, and peace, freedom of choice, and awareness emerge. This is exactly what I teach people while working on themselves and their problems. Every problem that people face is in fact the internal conflict that he or she has in himself/herself between the opposing parts of / her personality. My task is to help them become aware and accept those parts so that they would no longer be in conflict with themselves and be able to choose their reactions and freely make conscious decisions in their lives.
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