One of the toughest battles we face each day is the one internally. The one with our emotions and thoughts. Especially emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, pain, or depression can make life a misery and a continuous battle. Facing towards this battlefront, charging head-on in is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. You have probably seen scenes of Lord of The Rings or Narnia and the large battles that are being fought in these movies. There is always one to go first. One king, or queen that prances on its horse and charges at the enemy. That’s exactly how it feels to go into your feelings and experience them.
It’s both exhilarating and scary at the same time. You feel like a hero when doing it, but seeing the “enemy” straight ahead makes you wonder what will happen. One arrow to the heart will do it for you. One-shot will finish this journey for you. Luckily it isn’t the same with emotions. Although it may feel like you are battling with your emotions they can never kill you. They can shoot arrows of grief, trauma, fear, pain, and suffering at you, but these won’t kill you. They will hit your armor, hurt you, but in the end, will bounce off.
Still, that doesn’t make the battle any less scary for me. And I doubt it will for you. Why? Because we still feel like we are going to battle every day. That battle is scary, whether you die or not, whether you get hurt or not. A battle is scary because you never know what will happen. You don’t know how it will end, and who you have to fight in the process. You don’t know if you’ll get hit, if you get hurt, or if you will have to retreat. That’s the scary part of the battle we fight with our emotions.
For a long time, I have fought my emotions. As the hero, I thought I was. Fighting them with affirmations, thinking positively, pushing them away, making them feel like they were useless, or worthless, or even ignoring them, simply continuing with my life. And I am mostly talking about uncomfortable emotions, like fear, anger, anxiety, stress, suffering, and jealousy. I felt like emotions like happiness, and joy were on my side. I even believed that love was on my side but this was the biggest illusion of them all…
Part One: It’s Not a Fight
Love wasn’t on my side. Neither is it on your side of the battlefield. It will never be. Why? Because love doesn’t fight. Love doesn’t choose sides. It’s the one in the middle, running from the battlefield in search of a solution that will cease the fighting and make peace without bloodshed.
But I thought that it was on my side. That it was fighting alongside me to battle my fears and anxieties. But love had already left the battlefield far before the battle started. In search of the solution, the peaceful solution I needed to face my demons. And when it returned with the help I needed, everything changed.
What was that help? Did it come back with reinforcements to conquer the enemy of hate? It didn’t. Love returned with just itself. No one behind it. No magic weapon. All it did was walk unto the battlefield. Right in the middle, and sat down. It softly started to speak to me. Telling me to cease the fight. That I didn’t have to fight. That it found another solution.
I didn’t trust it and continued fighting, but the battle never seemed to end. Each time I felt like I struck down another fear of mine, or broke a demon, another appeared. It exhausted me. To the point where I couldn’t fight anymore. That’s when love stood up, walked up to me, and sat next to me. And shared with me the lesson I needed to hear. That stopped the battle within my mind at once.
“We don’t need to fight with our demons, fears, and pains. We should instead invite them in as if they were our guests. Making tea and sitting down at the table with them, whilst they poured out their hearts to you, so they can leave your house again unharmed, and untouched.”
That’s what love taught me. On that day when I didn’t feel like fighting anymore. It didn’t stop there. It explained to me why I shouldn’t fight.
“We fight an internal battle with our emotions, only because we have created enemies out of some of our emotions, whilst others have become our allies. Fear, doubt, stress, pain, depression, and all the other enemies you are facing, you have created yourself. You have labeled them as enemies. You have declared war with them, you charged in when all they wanted was to come into your house and have a cup of tea with you. And spill their hearts. All they wanted was for you to open the door for them, and allow them in.” Love said to me.
And I listened, and in my exhaustion of fighting this inner battle, every word it said struck hard and true. This was the truth, the light I needed to hear. That there was never a battle, to begin with. That we don’t need to fight our negative and uncomfortable emotions. That we have created enemies out of them when all they were, were guests that passed us by before leaving our house again.
Part Two: Opening the Door
Love then asked me to return home, and it accompanied me. Our home is our heart. A place associated with love, compassion, and openness. And when I returned there, having stopped the battle with my emotions I felt peaceful. For the first time in my life. And one by one the emotions entered my house, as uninvited but welcomed guests.
At first, resentment entered, it spilled its heart. It shared with me the resentment and anger it held over the past. Over the unfairness of life. And I listened to it. I experienced the moments again. I felt resentment and anger. Yet something was different this time. I wasn’t the resentment and anger anymore. I noticed that they were guests, just spilling their story, and I knew that they would leave my house again. I gave them nothing but my undivided attention, and soon enough they thanked me and left my house. Now my heart was filled with nothing but emptiness, peace, and joy.
I had never known that joy lived in my house all the time. Neither did I know that peace and emptiness lived with me too. They lived in my house as friends, yet I never noticed them being there. I was so caught up in fighting off the uninvited guests, that I never paid attention to the once-living within my heart all the time.
It’s this lesson that we can use in our everyday life. I told it to you in the form of a story. But this story is what I faced, and many others face every day. We feel like we have to fight our negative thoughts and emotions. Which in this story were the uninvited guests. These guests make us uncomfortable. Fear isn’t a pleasant experience, but it becomes more unpleasant when we keep the door closed. If we let all these negative and uncomfortable feelings out they will only come knocking on our door harder and harder.
That’s why love taught me to open the door to them. The moment I did so I was overwhelmed by the experience of these emotions. One by one I experienced them. I experience pain, sadness, grief, anger, resentment, stress, anxiety, and many more. But I didn’t fight them anymore. That made me feel peaceful, relaxed, and joyful in a strange way. Because if we do not need to fight our negative emotions anymore and instead open up to them we do not use our energy to fight, but instead to build and to love.
“Self-Compassion and self-love will make you became a child again. That woke up from a scary dream, and was embraced by loving parents who came to him and gave him kisses and allowed him to sleep in their bed with them.”
The compassion and love I felt for my fear, and anger made me feel loved and happy about myself. It was like I became a child again. That woke up from a scary dream, and its parents came to him and gave him kisses and allowed him to sleep in their bed with them. I felt loved, comfortable, and joyous. That’s what it felt like when I opened my heart to all emotions. To all feelings. They all came and shared with me their stories. All of them left at once, only peace, love, and joy stayed. For they are our companions in this life and will never leave your house.
Part Three: Learn to Experience
But love didn’t stop there. It didn’t stop teaching me more. After I had sat with many of my emotions drink gallons of tea, I noticed that they kept returning to share the same story, over and over again. I wasn’t moved by it anymore, but I wished that they would leave for once and for all. Love noticed this and sat with me at the table.
Then when resentment entered again love spoke. Loud and clear. “You are loved, resentment. You can rest now, you have shown us your pain, and it is okay. You have done all you can. You can rest now. You have shown us that you cared deeply about the opinions of your parents, and when they didn’t give you love but instead pushed you to do more you felt unheard. But that is of the past. Go home, and live a quiet and happy life.” And when love spoke those words of compassion and kindness my resentment left. Never to return with this particular memory. It did come back at times, but never with the same memories. It always returned with new ones. I and love sat at the table and listened to it. When it was done speaking we thanked it together and loved it for who it was. Then resentment took its leave again and didn’t come back for a while.
I once more experienced all the emotions I never wanted to experience. The ones I would fight a battle with each day of my life. But this time I not only accepted them, and invited them in. I loved them, for that was all they needed. It’s what each one of us needs. We don’t need to fight with our fears, and resentments, or all the other emotions we rather not feel. We do not have to be scared of them. We have love on our side if we cease fighting. And when we truly listen to their stories we will always find that all they want is to be loved.
If you feel angry towards someone it is most likely because you didn’t feel appreciated by them for who you are. There’s no shame in that. I felt the same too. I felt angry towards my parents for always pushing me with school when all I wanted to hear was “I love you” even though I wasn’t always getting the best grades. Often the emotions that make us suffer only need acknowledgment and love. But we do not give it to them, because we are too scared of them. But trust me, they are not here to harm you. They just want to hear that they are loved.
“We all face negative emotions, it’s part of being human. Blocking them out will make you dull to the experience of life. So instead, try loving these negative emotions, open up to them. For that will make you open up to the entire experience of life.”
This is what changed it all for me. I started learning and appreciating my negative emotions. I started loving my fear and learned from it. I saw that the things it feared, were the things I wanted to do most.
I started loving my anger and learned from it. I noticed that I was angry because in the past I didn’t feel appreciated for who I was. And so I started loving myself for who I am now. With all my flaws, with all my shortcomings, and all my greatness.
All emotions are welcome in our lives. It’s part of the human experience. Fighting them will only keep the battle going. We all want to feel alive and experience a peaceful, joyous, and loving life. To get to that place we need to recognize that even the ‘negative’ emotions are welcome. If we do this, we will finally see that there are no good or bad emotions. They are all guides. All teachers. All experiences of life. And each one of them makes our life more complete and rich.
So I encourage you to learn to love and experience all your emotions. The experience of each one of them will make you say Today I Lived! I made the most of every minute.