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Yanking the Fig Leaf off Your Emotional Nudity

Val isn't playing life coach by sharing some useful ideas gathered over 7 decades of life experience and hundreds of books on human nature.

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If you don't know you're in prison, you're not likely to escape..

-- Wayne Gerard Trotman

Child's Self-Criticism Equals Shame

Early in life, more than at any other time, we are emotionally dependent on others, needing their love, their approval and support. And early in life we recognize those signals of disapproval in them -- now realizing that what we "feel like" saying and doing is somehow responsible for that disapproval.

Since our motives for that misbehaving is nothing like "wrong thinking", for which we are not skilled as yet, it's our feelings that we recognize as "bad".

So that innocent emotional nudity became a source of others' depriving us of that steady flow of loving signals -- and it had to be covered with a fig leaf of shame.

We didn't want to be criticized, so we started that unfortunate process of alienating ourselves from our true feelings, developing a sort of "emotional phoniness", just to please those on whose love we so depended.

Our emotionality went through a lifelong routine of "emotional stuttering", as we never again were completely sure how much of our emotions were appropriate or not. That proverbial fig leaf was to stay glued over that free flow of what we were genuinely feeling in each situation.

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How you react emotionally is a choice in every situation.

-- Judith Orloff

Birth of an Artificial Self-Image

Since our genuine emotions didn't seem to guarantee us others' love and approval, we started learning from the society what was "appropriate" to feel in different situations.

We learned, which triggers were supposed to make us angry, insulted, frustrated, jealous, sad, embarrassed... -- and also, what was supposed to give us feelings of content, pride, satisfaction, happiness...

So something like ego got born -- or as I like defining it -- a bunch of strategies for psycho-physical survival. It was to act like our program for an autopilot -- with which we soon ingloriously identified.

That fig leaf was to stay intact and securely glued over our emotional nudity, which got censored out from our emotional repertoire -- not to embarrass us and cost us others' love, respect and approval.

It was a truly sad moment as we started seeing us with others' eyes, since we covered our authenticity even from our own eyes. To feel sad, suddenly meant to be a "wimp"; to feel angry, meant being a "jerk"; to feel happy and playful, meant to be "immature"; and to be confused meant to be "stupid".

Our ego, that arsenal of strategies for psycho-physical survival just couldn't allow any of those feelings, and when they protruded out from that censor, that pretty much drove us into a neurosis, as we suddenly got overwhelmed by intensity of emotions for which we never developed an effective, healthy stress management.

All we ever knew was that emotional phoniness, and now our emotional nudity has caught up with us.

Much of our adult life we spend by cultivating an image of who we are not.

At his point it could be useful to remember that emotions are not "us", but something that we energetically construct with our beliefs, attitudes and thoughts.

Even our language is misleading us, as it literally means our identifying with what we feel, as we are saying: "I am pissed...I am happy...I am curious...etc. You see, to our unconscious mind, that form of verbal expression only means self-identification, like in: I am a human being...I am a man/woman...I am a parent...etc.

So, in the computation of our brain's concepts, "being" pissed sounds as strong and unchangeable as "being" a human. Every linguist will tell you how our brains are very responsive to the words we use.

So, once that it becomes very clear in our minds that our emotions are only our changeable constructs, we may eventually start treating them a different way, seeing them for only what they are.

From that awareness we can emotionally evolve ourselves into someone who is not "stuck" with anything we feel. So that we don't give all that much significance to our spontaneous emotions -- and start seeing the light at the end of our self-made tunnel, where something like choice over emotions is awaiting us.

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Look at your life as your main career and your divine classroom.

Judith Orloff

Control by No Control

Having lost the touch with our true selves, many of us completely forgot what it really felt like to be at ease, playful, genuinely happy and loving; flowing with currents of events. Without bumping into something every step of the way, which was so often leaving bruises that refused to heal.

Even that lifelong continuum of something like breathing became somehow shallow, and often stopping for a moment, as if we are not sure if it's time to inhale or exhale -- with muscle working against muscle, and diaphragm going into a chronic spasm of an ever challenging and testing adulthood.

In all that, one of the biggest paradoxes seems to be that -- in order to control those unwanted emotions, we would have to stop controlling them.

Confusing, isn't it?

All until we accept as true that it's not our emotions that really are hurting us, but our resisting them.

That's right. It's that inner conflict between emotional energy that wants to be acknowledged and allowed to run its natural course -- and our disallowing that.

Here we are talking about stress and distress. Now, even though we are going to keep naming stress as the bad guy -- just because our daily usage of the name is actually referring to distress -- just for a moment let us see that true distinction.

Stress is actually good. We feel it even at sexual activity, in love, in creative expression, at games, in competitive sports, in solving problems, in answering to challenges.

It's that free flow of emotional energy stemming from our gutsiness. But then, as we are so damn used to applying brakes on that free flow, almost as if scared of it -- we cause distress by conflicting it.

In other words -- we control it.

Now we are talking about suppression, and that suppression is the one that's hurting us, not that initial flow of emotions. Thus, while that initial squirt of adrenaline in our bloodstream is just fine and natural, now we are adding more adrenaline necessary for fighting what we feel. Hence those crappy feelings.

So, how do we control our unwanted emotions by not controlling them?

By the mental act called "focusing".

Focusing, in this context means locating in body the physical quality of the emotion that we don't like, and nonjudgmentally just observe that part of the body. So where is it felt? In your forehead? In your throat? In your shoulders? How about in your chest, or solar plexus?

You see, every feeling is a signal to our awareness that an energy is being channeled through this or that psychological outlet, either pleasant or unpleasant.

It wants to be noticed.

I will repeat this for it's significance: Our emotions want to be noticed, acknowledged. And when we locate where they are physically present as that "felt sense", and then we just observe them not calling them any names, but merely as a "felt sense", they get the message that they don't have to be there anymore.

Like they said in Erhard Seminar Training: "When you let your mind be -- it lets you be".

So, there is no need to suppress anything. To reuse my initial phrase of this post: there is no need for the fig leaf to be there anymore, to cover anything, to hide anything.

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Peace is something that comes from within. It is created by your willingness to accept yourself.

-- Jason Nelson

Bliss with Emotional Freedom

In quite a few of my articles I was shamelessly bragging about my ability to produce blissfulness at will.

Now, that mental feat would be impossible without a free emotional fluidity. No stiff demand and struggle of will -- and yet, it really is an act of will, but without a force. Sometimes I call it "mental judo", in which you don't use your own strength, but redirect the opponent's use of his strength to trip him or flip him.

And so it is with producing blissfulness at will. With some training, you mentally "join" the current flow of emoting, observing it, and then gently redirect that same flow into the channel of joy. With a little training you can even feel that emotional metamorphosis from an emotional crap into a bliss. And by staying in that mode, it automatically increases until you feel wave after wave of blissfulness flooding your entire personal space.

At that point you can freely say that you have yanked the fig leaf off your emotional nakedness.

And it simply feels divine. So much so that I gave it a name like "orgasmic spirituality". Not a bad name for something that has absolutely nothing to do with sex.

© 2022 Val Karas