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Fear Of Confronting Emotions Is Like Fear Of Reading Road Signs

By December 18, 2013Blog
emotions as signals and signposts

Worry can give us a narrowing field of perception making it more difficult to see what’s really going on.  This is why when we can’t get ourselves out of a mental rut, seeking professional help (like coaching or counselling) can help us to fix problems by having someone with a broader field of perception assist us to see what isn’t in our line of vision.

Many people narrow this field of perception even further by trying to plaster over the worry, rather than confront it.  They busy themselves with other things or overeat or become obsessive about things that aren’t so important, just so they do not have to face up to their emotions.

Why Do We Fear Emotions?

We can become afraid of emotions because we don’t know what the emotion might tell us about ourselves or someone we have a relationship with.  We worry that if we confront the emotion, we may experience guilt of some sort.  We worry that if we face up to these feelings bubbling underneath the surface, we may open a can of worms that we hadn’t expected.  We can also worry that we may not be able to function at work or for the children or others, if we become too down and depressed.

The irony is that it is exactly this subjugation of emotions that creates the down, depressed mental state over time.

Confronting emotions allows you to feel those depressive feelings and then eventually move on, whilst trying to suppress those emotions creates depressive feelings we don’t understand the existence of and, therefore, struggle to move on.

Emotions Are Signals And Signposts

Emotions signal to us that something is not right because it does not feel good.

Emotions signpost us towards solutions so that we can make changes in order to feel good again.

By ignoring or trying to suppress our emotions, what we’re actually doing is failing to utilise the warnings that are built within.  An analogy might help.

If you were driving from starting point ‘A’ to destination ‘B’ and found yourself lost, would you pay attention to the road signs and traffic light signals or would you begin ignoring them because of the stress and worry about being lost on your journey?  You would pay attention, of course.  You would watch traffic light signals to keep you safe and you would look at road signs to stay safe and find your way to destination ‘B’.

In this scenario, you don’t fear the signals or road signs, you pay attention to them.  Well, your emotions serve the exact same purpose!  Don’t ignore them.  Tap into them.  Pay close attention to them.  Ask yourself what would make you feel better and then go to work on implementing those changes.

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