grief and death

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Growing Up

Growing Up Emotionally

If thoughts are the spark, emotions are the flame; thoughts are the forest, emotions are the trees; thought are the war, emotions are the battle. We become what we think and we behave the way we feel. Negative emotional reactions are fear based. Our primitive limbic brain is equipped to fit primitive survival patterns, in the fight or flight mode. When we think we are in danger, adrenalin flows into our blood stream, we are prepared to protect and survive, emotional reactions take over and we either run away or fight back. It's hard to separate what comes first, all systems are alerted. Sometimes emotional over reactions take over when we are not in physical danger, but perceive danger real or imagined.

Fear is probably the most profound human emotion, but we are capable of several subtle emotions. Many of them are learned and carried over from our childhoods. It is important to reflect, identify and recognize your emotions. In the English language we have over 400 names for emotions, I have named 108 in How to Grow Up When You're Grown Up: Achieving Balance in Adulthood.

Once you recognize your emotions you can modify them. We all have both negative and positive feelings. Everyone wants more of the positive ones. It is usually the negative feelings that get you into trouble, if so you need to identify and focus on them. If you fly into a rage, or strike out at a loved one, or overreact to something someone says, your reaction is childish. That is triggered by some negative childhood pattern that you have used to protect yourself, just like you did as a child.

Has anyone ever said to you, "Why don't you grow up!" I bet it is usually after a childish outbreak. There are two parts to becoming emotionally grown up. One is to heal from the childhood hurts and pain, that affect how you respond emotionally today. The other is to learn better techniques for handling the emotions that arise from events in the present.