Defining Yourself By Your Feelings Makes It Difficult To Get Past Them

The emotional concepts we employ and the labels we attach to these concepts, which are our feelings, operate in a space the majority of us seldom take time out to understand. The speed and veracity at which we experience our emotions and feelings make it all but impossible for many of us to understand that we create them as responses to both external and internal events. In order to develop transcendence of our emotions we first need a fundamental understanding of the parts and their functions.

Emotions and feelings are memories. Memories with a function. Emotions are simply signals to move. The root of the word from the Latin mot means to move. They are signals for us to either move towards or away from something. The direction is determined by the words and labels we use to attach to these sensations from the body which we are conditioned to apply. These are our feelings. Over time these applications become habits just like any other, powerful ones. Danger is the signal to move away from something and this is instinct. Pleasure is the signal to move us towards something and this is intuition. Both are subject to conditioning elements. When we are experiencing one the other is present. We are simply not paying attention to or focused on it thus we are not balanced in our perspective. Both emotional states are associated with the sympathetic nervous system. The body states created by both instinct and intuition are the same but the labels we apply to them make the experience different. Fear reads the same as excitement when we look at the biomarkers for them. When we can develop the practice, the habit, of explaining this to ourselves in the moment we are on our way to transcend the emotion.

There is a state that is free of emotion and is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and it is transcendence. When we are in this ‘rest and digest’ state we are in the optimal state of growth. The feelings associated with this state, the feelings of gratitude, unconditional love, enthusiasm, optimism, and abundance, are the transcendent feelings. These feelings are neutral to our emotions. We are neither being pushed or pulled when in the transcendent state. It is in this state where we can receive new information and utilize it. When we are emotional we can not receive new information. We only receive information that validates what we already believe which is limited and conducive to problem solving.

The biochemical profile we have when we are in the emotional states of instinct or intuition versus the transcendent state are different and thus they serve different purposes. The emotional states are survival states and the transcendent state is the thrive state. You think differently, you feel differently and you behave differently in the two states. You can not thrive if you are in the emotional state. Emotion will save your life when properly applied but has the potential to ruin it if it surfaces when it is not needed.

The quality of the connections you have with people are dependent on these states because as a social species we connect with one another through our feelings. When we define ourselves by our emotional concepts and our feelings, we are cutting ourselves off from one or the other. The entire spectrum of our emotional concepts and feelings are necessary for the optimization of our subjective experiences in life. It is in the application where we all need to put in the work. When someone is adamant about their feelings just them “being who they are” they are operating in emotion, in survival, so to stop doing so actually makes them feel threatened. They are in fear of something or feel threatened that something is getting in their way of them getting something they need for ‘survival’.

Transcendence is something everyone has experienced at some point and it is not something anyone can provide you with. Only by understanding what it is and practicing and developing this, like every other emotion and feeling you have, will it become strengthened and put you in a position to experience life like you never had before. You can start by developing a balanced perspective whenever you are emotional acknowledging that both the bitter and the sweet exist and you are focused on one more than the other.

Elliot is a personal development author. His latest book, "The Bitter & The Sweet: Benefits of a Balanced Perspective in Life, and How to Achieve It" out now.