Lately I have been thinking about good and bad emotions. Good emotions run the gamut from a simple flash of a decent day to full blown joy. It is easy to see the negative ones. Fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, sorrow….I could go on. To counter these we can use the positive things we don’t often see as emotions: safety, relaxation, strength, gratitude, pleasure, satisfaction, friendship, kindness, and assertiveness. (From the article How to Tap into Your Light by Kalia Kelmenson in Spirituality and Health)
Most of these we don’t equate with emotion and so we don’t key into them. We don’t see them as positive emotions. We don’t focus on them. That is a major part of the problem.
I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to come home and relate a story about how uncomfortable I felt doing a mediation than that I did a good job. I let the good feeling be lost in the negative emotion. We tend to hang onto the bad feelings and nurse them. We are unwilling to let them go. Think of how often you have been angry about something and just kept bringing it up in conversation or dwelling on it. For some reason we must enjoy holding on to them.
When we don’t let go we experience physical changes. Negative emotions can cause an increase in heart rate and rise in blood pressure. They can decrease our resistance to disease and lower the ability of our immune system to function. They allow our bodies to attack us with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, asthma, ulceration colitis, migraines and irritable bowel. Oh, what we do to ourselves.
We have to learn to focus on the positive emotions and use them to overcome the negative ones. To do that we need to remember what they are and see them when they come. The list above can be added to I’m sure. It’s easy to see how we think when I realized that I had to find that list and couldn’t just come up with one from my head but the negative emotions were right on the tip of my tongue.
I think the most important piece is to be aware of what you are feeling. We can’t change it if we can’t recognize it.
As the song writer Johnny Mercer said “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!”
Today, a friend at church, was showing us the bruises and stitches gotten when she she fell in the grocery store. She fell while buying a bottle of wine. The bottle broke and she was cut by the glass. She talked about going to the immediate med place and smelling like a drunk. I can imagine her saying “but I wasn’t drinking!”
She will have a small scar in one place and that started me thinking about the scars that we all carry. I have one from the time I put my finger in an electrical socket as a child. I have one from falling on a sharp piece of bamboo in the back yard.
We all have scars. Some are physical and some are emotional. I think the emotional scars are harder to heal. The trouble is we keep pulling them out to look and remember the pain. It’s funny how we do that and hardly notice the physical scars.
It is so easy to remember the times that we were hurt and to dwell on them. We can feel the emotions all over again…whether it is anger or pain or sadness. We almost treasure them and tuck them away so that we can get upset all over again.
We have to open those closets inside where we shove those scars and pull them out and throw them away. The sooner we do that the sooner we will be able to move past them. Holding on to them hurts us. Probably the people who caused them remember nothing and there we are still hurting.
I am trying to expose those scars and push them away from me so that I don’t have to feel the pain. In the Lord’s Prayer it says (new version) “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” A version from the New Zealand Prayer book says “in the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.” It makes me think that one meaning we can get from that is forgive us for holding on to those hurts.
Turn them loose and move on.
” data-hasqtip=”18″>John 9:2
And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”
Do we visit our sins upon our children? Or we can ask “what traits of ours are passed on to our children and their children?
Case in point: My father had multiple kidney stones. The doctors called him a stone maker. I’ll be he had a least 50 or more in his lifetime. In college I developed kidney stones. You can inherit the tendency but not the actual thing. I guess I go the tendency. Fortunately I didn’t have the same problem as my father and had only a few stones.
None of my children have shown that tendency nor my grandchildren so I hope that is gone. These kinds of things we pass on are not under our control unless they are a major problem such as Tay Sachs disease and we can have genetic testing to make decisions about those things.
There are other things, however, that we do pass on. Sometimes without realizing it. At one point in our marriage my husband was switching jobs and money was tight.My stress over this was passed on to my daughter. The bad news is she worries about money. The good news is she is careful but not obsessive and always willing to help others when needs arise.
In raising children we sometimes find ourselves repeating the things said to us by our parents. Some things good, some bad.
It is a known fact that abuse and addiction put children at risk for the same problems. I know that I passed on my anxiety to some of my grandchildren.
The thing I have learned is we need to be aware that we can teach coping skills to our children and hope that they can learn from our mistakes and issues. Our own ability to cope can be a positive example to them and others. They can fine hope in the fact that we have struggled with problems and conquered them. This is the legacy we can give them.
Share your experiences with your loved ones. Pass down your struggles and how you coped. It will help them.
There was no sin that caused the man to be born blind. Just a natural event. Our children will not be afflicted because of our mistakes. God doesn’t work that way.