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red heart

So I haven’t made an entry for weeks, this is due to my assignment week being hectic as usual. I have a few days to breathe before the next set of reports and papers and statistics labs are due.

The one thing I want to share with the world today is this topic of using your heart. Now, I am not an actively ’emotional’ person. By that I mean to say-emotions seem to happen to me-rather than me being intentionally emotional, if that makes any more sense. I have long been aware of this even before studying psychology and getting to put theory behind my awareness.

I am naturally cognitively reactive; in any event, the first thing that I will react with is my brain. Usually the last thing I react with is my emotions-if at all. A few years ago I read something that said we are more likely to be aware of what we either have too much-or too little of; and I have certainly been aware of my below average emotional IQ.

There are two things in my life that have always featured in my prayers, the first is that God should help me make-and keep good relationships, the second is for God to help me to feel. This might sound strange to a relatively normal person, if you rarely put value on you ability to feel or lack thereof. To someone like me, there is huge value in being able to know the language of your heart.

Let me give you some background that would explain this; I (like most of the human race) have had a rough childhood. Most of that childhood involved high levels of instability and anxiety, (around divorce, violence, abuse, lack of one permanent home). Now imagine a child who grows up in this kind of situation, naturally the body is self-regulating, and will always find a way to create a sense of normalcy in an unstable situation; call it a coping mechanism if you may. For me, this probably came about by blocking out the emotional roller-coaster that I could not handle back then-through developing a highly cognitive, analytic and brain based way of dealing with the world. Since my rough experiences lasted several years, I guess this became the norm for me.

However, as an adult I began to see this as abnormal. Don’t ask me why or how; I just suddenly saw myself being highly deficient in this one regard and thus it became my prayer that I could become ‘normal’ and be able to access-or even begin to understand what appropriate emotion looks like-(sigh!) there I go again!-let me rephrase that: What appropriate emotion feels like.

So, these two prayer requests feature regularly, God has been hearing them for years and years. I do pray about them earnestly, as you would do when you want something you think everyone else has and you are missing out on. Only recently, have I began to notice a change in my circumstances. It started with relationships.

Now I am one of those people who seem to be quite popular-have loads of acquaintances-and no real friendships, and we all know how important real friendship is even if its only one person that you can truly count on. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case; I now have two besties that I can honestly say are part of my life.

The reason though, for this long babbling post is really to share on my second prayer request. I am beginning to see that God has already answered this one. I remember praying this about a month ago-asking God to ‘unplug’ whatever blockages that are there in my heart so that I can experience different emotions and actually know it. Well, be careful what you wish for. At first I thought it was PMS, getting weepy at the silliest things, being angry, laughing hysterically, the usual monthly mess that I seldom have (because I often rationalize and explain away every ‘feeling’ turning it instantly into a thought process) but have heard about. But no, this has gone on for some time now.

I cry a lot, at so many random things. I see a group of kids singing-burst into tears. Seeing an image of Oscar Pistorius heading for the cells-burst into tears, I happened to stop on a movie channel yesterday while looking for the news, 2 minutes of Schindler’s List and I had to actually go outside to bawl in private (something I would never have done-Ever!).

On the flip side, I laugh a lot more easily too. Its like the laughter is there just below my diaphragm and the slightest  prompt triggers an outpouring of real-deep laughter; not the shallow stuff of before. There’s other emotions too, I can feel anger like a vibration through my whole being (lately its been anger at so many injustices around the world, anger mixed with grief for the many dying in wars and crime), I feel anxiety-down into my stomach, I feel hurt as if it were a physical sensation, I feel excitement like it were bubbles starting from my toes working their way up into my head, I feel chilled out like a kite-riding the currents of the sky. I think you get the picture-I can feel!

Yes, I was probably able to feel before-but have never had a conscious awareness of any emotions-not in the way I do now. Its such a new experience for me, at 29! As I write this I actually want to weep in excitement, I feel like a completely new wing has been opened in a part of my being that I never thought I would gain access to. Now starts the work of learning how and when-and what; and allowing myself to live with these emotions. As a counsellor, you tell your client to accept their emotions-rather than nullify them-or gag them, I have been saying this out of theoretical knowledge, now I get to speak from experience.

I praise God for this gift, one that I have been asking for for many years. I hope that someone out there who can relate can be encouraged. Maybe you’re the opposite; maybe you can only use your heart-and don’t understand the language of your head. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there is a right or wrong way to be other than what you are; and clearly-not being able to hear my heart was not something natural for me otherwise I would not have prayed about it so much. It was a part of me I instinctively knew was missing. If that is not you then praise be…,but if somewhere within you there is a sense of a gap, a part of you that is not being fully accessed-then please pray about it. Go to God and ask Him for it, simply, in a non-complicated way, lets see what happens.

NB: There is a song I had been playing on repeat constantly throughout last month, perhaps the words worked their way into my heart too. Heart by Toya Delazy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCaNfQry8GU)

22nd October, 2014

Julie

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