4 Basic Emotions - Not So Basic
I wrote this recently for a creative writing group - the assignment was to write a blurb on anger, fear, sadness, & happiness.. I wasn't planning on sharing, but thought maybe you can relate?! We obviously all experience emotions differently, but we've all experienced these at some point.
Anger; an intense heat that surges up my chest out of no where; this sudden burst of unwanted, fierce pent up energy.
It makes me lose focus, lose my sanity, my peace.
It can sometimes be built up over time.. a series of things you try to push away until that final blow. Like the sledgehammer game at an old carnival; the meter keeps rising until it finally clangs the bell. You don’t even realize what’s happening until you’re insides are on fire and you want to throat punch someone (but you don't - that's important) eventually, you calm down, then the reasoning and rationalizing begins. Often guilt and shame follow. Usually it’s Fear based, or a sense of the uncontrollable, frustration of opposing views. I used to be angry, and shameful, a lot. At life, at my parents, at myself, my kids, at authority, at the hand I was dealt. Luckily I discovered and realized a lot of our anger is fear and judgement based. We are actually born with a sense of fear for only 2 things- being dropped and being hungry. The rest is stuff we learn and that fight or flight thing. We are raised with fear instilled in us (thanks Catholic guilt - the fear if God is real) thanks parents and society (at least if you grew up in the 70s-90s). Our parents, teachers, anyone in authority would threaten us with this illusive power of the ultimate punishment of going to hell. They didn’t know about "personal development" or "psychological damage" back then (we can forgiven them now). They often let their anger rule, making kids fear them and the consequences.. Then we hit puberty and junior high and omg just forget about sanity. We just wanted to "be normal" and fit in and do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Our minds are creative, imaginative little buggers run by our ego. It senses fear and tells us to be scared and to run or die. Fear and anxious are familiar friends of mine.. we go way back. Fear of anything different or new, of failure, judgement, ridicule, being different and not fitting in. When you’re young, these things stay with you- for years, possibly forever. They get embedded on your hard drive and you just believe it.. damn ego. So you discover things that take it away- like drinking, and any artificial stimulation to help you forget - and well – there’s the cure – instant gratification! Cue shame and sadness – it’s a cycle.
But it's so true what they say – face your fear and you will have no fear! For me- getting on a stage, singing in front of people being was so terrifying!! It was something I dreamed of doing but truly thought would never be because of my fear and my not-good-enough-you-don't-deserve- it mentality.. Learning it’s ok to be vulnerable (it really is a courageous thing) and to push through the fear is what you have to do! You have to go through it go get to the other side and then it's not so scary. That voice of fear never really goes away, especially for the unknown - you just get better at learning to say "fuck you" ego! You do it anyway- scared shitless and all!
Sadness- ugg- like a depression- this weigh that you drag around. I’ve spent way too much of my life in this state. Everything is gray and the things that usually make you happy are like gray cardboard too. I thought there was something wrong with me- I soaked in it and lived in it- Sad colorless rainbows. Sadness can be a big thing (like depression -but that's a whole other topic) or small (like your fave ice cream not available at the dairy bar?!) Attachment plays a big part… the more you are attached to something or someone, the bigger the loss, the bigger the heartache. But it's so important to honor the emotion, feel it, give it it’s moment, then you can move on! You’ve to get it out- do not suppress that shit.
Happiness – isn’t this life’s journey? The ultimate destination? We often don’t even realize it’s what we are looking for. For some, it’s the only thing they are searching for. We seem to be always trying to achieve something, some status of success that society has dictated we need to “make it”. A check list of sorts. But if you’re lucky, you eventually figure out (you get woke) that type of happiness is only temporary. It’s fake, superficial. Again – some type of attachment to expectation. They say happiness is a choice. What do you think? Are you choosing to wallow in self-pity? Once you're there it can feel so impossible to drag yourself out - but it's possible. Really; happiness is peace, lightness, acceptance of the now, letting go of expectations and realizing you have everything you need within you. It’s appreciation and gratitude. It's forgiveness - especially to yourself. Its sunshine, blue skies, the beach, nature, a glowing moon, a walk, heart beating, music, art, conversations, color, animals, bliss, the perfect cup of coffee, love, a smile, creating, a funny meme, puppies, laughing with friends, belly laughs!! It’s not resisting, and it's listening to that passion deep in your soul and playing with the muses that call you to create all the things!! It’s doing what makes you free your soul.
Let’s choose to be happy.