The Abject Poverty of Toxic Emotions

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent on throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned” Buddha

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I am sure I am not the only person who has experienced a sense of carrying and living out toxic emotions. I am using the word “toxic” specifically to conjure up a sense of understanding that we all have a vast array of emotions that plague the majority of us, yet when we find we are inundated with a sense of extreme frustration, anger, jealousy, fear, or hatred; the emotion then becomes toxic. Thus, when we are feeling a negative emotion at an intense level that is causing a sense of agitation, its toxic and is not benefiting us or anyone around us.

There are numerous theories, psychological, medical, spiritual paradigms of how to manage one’s emotions that are effective so some degree. I find that the lexicon of psychology and medical intervention may be more applicable to those suffering from an extremely unwell senses of distortion, that may benefit from medication or psychological counseling. However, for the rest of us who are just trying to live our lives through navigating the most enjoyable, less stressful, and least suffering path in life; to feel extreme emotions can be a very distressing experience. Obviously, even to the best of our ability, life is unpredictable and numerous things can have adverse effects on our emotions, causing us to explode in an array of emotional expressions that are considered toxic; from the perception of attempting to live a holistic life of balance.

It has been my experience that emotional reactions almost always are caused from an external catalyst that triggers a certain reaction within us, that may not be within our conscious control. In my life, anger has been the main emotion that has come to rest with me on numerous occasions in life, not just in the form of pure anger, but also in the form of frustration and indignation. I now fully understand something that I did not many years ago; first of all, toxic emotions only harm us more than anyone else; second, our outburst of emotions or even acts of revenge will have a negative effect on others; thirdly, we have the power to change our emotional patters if we want to badly enough. I mention this last fact as it may have taken me until this point in my life to fully understand the fact that we can all change our negative emotional patters if we REALLY want to and make a tremendous effort to mitigate and have an awareness of our reactions and the harm that is inflicted when we allow ourselves to react. Of course, even against our best effort there will be moments were we lose it in some way or another, yet this allows us the opportunity to go deeper into what is still triggering this emotional response, rather than feel bad about ourselves.

What can we do to start the process of reducing our emotional toxicity is to first be acutely aware of whatever emotional reaction we are experience, to view it as it is, without any self judgement or criticism towards ourselves. The second most important point is that we must take full responsibility for our reaction, its only our fault, regardless of any external provocation, we are the ones freaking out! We MUST be able to take full self responsibility for all of our actions and emotional reactions and STOP blaming anyone or thing that exist externally, it really has NOTHING to do with them or the situation, it has everything to do with us. We all react differently to people and situations, yet a self empowered person will experience anger due to some situation and realize it comes from their own reaction, not the external trigger. On the other hand, someone who is less self empowered will never take self responsibility, instead they will blame all their toxic emotional reactions on everyone and everything that they can possible find to blame.

Who am I to comment on controlling one’s toxic emotions and do I have any credibility in this area of experiential knowledge. The answer is ‘yes’, I have had a temper that I have carried for the majority of my life, often it would lay sleeping and since I have always had extreme control over my emotions, few saw this most poisonous snake. When I would lose my temper, I would not waste my time with petty insults, instead I have always been highly perceptive to peoples strengths and weaknesses, instead I would verbally strike with lightening speed deep into that persons weakness, stripping them of everything. For, there is no need to insult others when the barren truth is much more severe and painful than mental manipulation, games, or insults. I am not proud of the harshness I can exhibit, in contrary I have experienced how much suffering that cruelty affected the other person, yet more so how deeply it cut into me. I may have a potentially ferocious temper, yet underneath there is a much more vast and deep kindness that prefers to love and nourish others, rather than try to destroy them. 

In every instance of reaction, I was acutely aware of how toxic this level of reaction was and I started making tremendous effort to reduce this energy. I have been doing certain spiritual practices most of my life, which has made a tremendous difference in allowing me to have much more awareness and control over my own emotional reactions. In addition if you can surrender the negative issues up to a greater reality of being, this makes a huge difference and allows a much lighter journey through life. At this moment in time I must say that I do still feel frustration and anger, yet it is far less intense and I am highly aware of what is going on when it comes to the surface. The real value of strong emotions is to find the trigger beneath the surface, for when you are more aware of why you are triggered, then you are less likely to be so next time. In essence, I choose to make a huge effort to find more joy and peace in my life, regardless of what challenges or challenging people cross my path. Thus, an affirmation of attempting to live a more conscious life can yield much fruit if you are really willing to make the effort and necessary work to change the things that are causing you and perhaps others pain.

© All Rights Reserved 2013

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