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Become Emotionally Who You Choose to Be

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.

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Your intellect may be confused but your emotions will never lie to you.

-- Roger Ebert

Don't Rationalize About a Possible-You

What follows are some ideas that I always wanted to share with someone who had a dream about becoming a different emotional self. So, if you happen to be one of them, don't be bothered by the fact that I don't know you personally as to be able to to find those custom-made words pertaining to your particular dream.

For, I may not know the way you were yesterday, or the way you turn out tomorrow, but if you want to change, I have known you from ever.

My first and last appeal to you is -- not to rationalize about whether such a change is possible or not.

There are those things that are axiomatic in nature, you cannot either add to them or subtract from them by reasoning -- such as love, happiness, peace of mind, harmony...or a miraculous personal transformation.

As a matter of fact, being smart about them could only take you further away from them, not closer.

Why is that so?

Because mind tends to work by considering opposites, so that it somehow always keeps in focus also what we don't want, what we want to escape from. side by side with a desired destination.

And then, as we set ourselves on our path of a change, it always spies on us if we are progressing at all.

Mind also likes to keep its status quo, its well played-in routine, so it unconsciously sabotages all our attempts to make a difference.

Thus, the right way to change who we emotionally are, is to "dive into the change", to surrender to what we want, and not go smart about it.

Remember the saying: "Mind doesn't understand the reasons of heart"?

Deep in our hearts we may have that old wish to change, to re-write the book of our life, not to merely add another chapter to it, which would logically only follow everything from the last one.

So, let us leave all reasoning out of our efforts, all theorizing, all strategies, all doubts, because none of it may serve our heart in its devoted effort to change who we emotionally are.

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I must admit, there are "memories" in my head that are curious even to me.

-- Sebastian Barry

You Are Not a Memory of Yourself

Are you a memory, or someone "having" that memory?

A good hypnotist could make you "remember" something that never happened in your past -- not by changing the event itself, but how you responded to it.

Now, think about it. Events, per se, mean nothing, it's only how we experientially process them, right? Meaning that memories are only our mind's constructs, our creations, not ourselves.

Which brings us to one pivotal realization, which is that:

At time of birth we didn't have any memory, any past to remember -- but we kept creating our emotions as we went along, without having any reference to follow. We were not defined by our emotions which were in process of changing.

And we can start seeing ourselves AGAIN as creators of what we feel, just like at that early stage of our life, not identifying with our creations.

Becoming fully aware of it, may prime us for choosing what we feel more than anything else.

Again, we are not our emotions, we "create" them, and this truism is just as good as saying that we are not our digestion, or our perceptions about the factual reality. We choose what we eat, and in a very advanced sense of it -- we choose what we see, hear, touch smell, and taste.

If you don't like broccoli, the taste of it is not "happening" to you, because you might learn to like them. The same goes for the other four senses.

We are indoctrinated by the cultural paradigm to take our emotions seriously. I hear and I read from people talking about their unhappy emotions somehow "resulting" from their unhappy childhood, a bad marriage, a bad professional luck.

People just allow their memory to dictate to them what is appropriate to feel "again", while identifying themselves with that memory. Look, even the language is not helping much there, as we are saying things like: "I AM sad...I AM bored...I AM - whatever -- that "am" being a verb of identification.

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Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.

-- Hans Seyle

When Present Hurts Mean Just Replays of Old Ones

One day, long time ago, it dawned on me how ridiculous it is to ascribe any of my, then current, emotions to whatever happened in my past.

The truth of it is that we simply use an ever-available emotional pattern to feel some way -- not that anything back there "caused" the way we feel now. With my more prominent right brain hemisphere that loves metaphors -- I automatically got this crazy one, but telling the same truth:

To think that something back there in the past is making us hurt -- is like saying that the pain from accidentally hitting our thumb with a hammer "originates" from the pain of hitting our thumb with a toy.

That's why I never agreed with psychoanalysis which is basically putting a lot of weight on our "childhood traumas".

It's actually just making use of the model of our re-playing the patterns of experiencing which by repetitions became the most popular in our emotional makeup.

We had the same pattern of love, happiness, loneliness, boredom, playfulness, creative curiosity, envy, anger, fear, guilt shame.. and the rest of the emotional available repertoire -- at any age maybe starting with toddler's.

So we are just reusing what's available -- not that any of its past use is dictating that we have to feel it all over again.

During our formative years nobody ever told us that we could "choose" from that emotional repertoire what we see as appropriate -- we were conditioned to repeat it, so that we could be like everybody else.

After reading those novels with a lot of drama, or listening to songs with lyrics like: "You make me feel..." -- you fill in the blanks -- we thought that we had no damn choice what to feel, just like that pathetic suffering singer, poet, or soap opera actor, apparently had no choice.

In other words, culture did its big part in messing us up royally.

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Secret of happiness is freedom.

-- Thucydides

Set Yourself Emotionally Free

Freedom is one of those most magic words in existence, right after love, happiness and peace of mind.

Jesus was free, Buddha was free, Mahatma Gandhi was free...and so many others, who had a clear vision of their choice over their models of experiencing.

Not being free has nothing to do with social, moral, religious, or familial restrictions, but everything to do with our self-imposed limitations.

So, break loose from your own chains which limit your emotional freedom to move swiftly from one impression about you and your life to another one that's much more life-promoting.

People keep feeling differently from one emotionally charged situation to another, but it's like they had no say in what it is -- it's chosen for them by their autopilot, which operates like any other computer.

You type in one word, and it gives you ten options; type three words, and options are narrowing -- likewise, it depends of how many details in present situation are a match to those most used responses in the memory bank.

Somebody back there started the whole racket of what is "appropriate way to feel in what situation", and it became computed into the collective consciousness, for everyone to follow as they stay tuned into it, instead of individual consciousness which means choosing.

Well, we don't have to be an emotional carbon copy of everyone else in the herd. We don't have to respect all that list of things that "have to" make us pissed, angry, guilty, sad, unloved, jealous, afraid -- when fear is nothing but existential anxiety caused by the daily news.

We can walk free in this world, sovereign in our default right to be happy, strong-willed, and at peace.

No one can walk into our skull to push this or that button to make us feel one way or another -- it's all our choice, our responsibility, which doesn't mean "blame", but response-ability, or ability to respond.

We should snap out of the fallacy about "crappy feelings being a part of being human". It's all a matter of the reason, intensity and duration of crappiness. We may feel unhappy without becoming an unhappy person, and we can grieve without becoming emotionally paralyzed indefinitely.

And even in those moments it helps us enormously to know that we are free to feel, but we allow ourselves to feel a certain way.

Ultimately, we can really choose to emotionally become someone else, not staying that self which is doomed to repeat knee-jerk responses to life.

We cannot really be happy, at peace, and loving, as long as it's all depending on circumstances. Life is to be enjoyed, with merely some short trips into inevitable crappiness.

And in order to be enjoyed, life has to be crowned with our freedom to feel, instead of an "obligation" to feel.

© 2022 Val Karas

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