Lent Series

Listening to Our Emotions in the Midst of Change


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Listening to Our Emotions in the Midst of Change

by Scott Stoner

The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy. —Jim Rohn

An essential clue about the current state of our emotional wellness is how comfortable we are feeling and expressing the full range of our emotions. Imagine that the full range of emotions exists on a scale from 0-10. Now think of 0-5 as the “unpleasant” emotions, like sadness, anxiety, worry, anger, and fear. Next, think of 6–10 as the “pleasant” emotions, such as joy, love, happiness, excitement, and peace.

Most of us are relatively comfortable feeling and expressing the 6-10 emotions, yet it seems many of us try to avoid feeling and expressing the 0-5 emotions. Here is an important insight regarding this range of emotions: if we block out the 0-5 emotions, we will soon notice that we feel far less of the 6-10 emotions. This is the truth being pointed to in the quote above from Jim Rohn.

Emotions are not good or bad, they simply are. They are like a thermom-eter, giving us a read on the world around us. Watch a young child and within thirty minutes you will notice that they are comfortable expe-riencing the full range of 0-10 emotions. They don’t try to build walls around their feelings to protect themselves and don’t get stuck in any one emotion. If we are willing to genuinely listen to and accept all of our emotions without judgment, we too, can avoid getting stuck in any one emotion. The key is to keep our emotions in motion, let them flow in and through us, and watch them pass like fall leaves on a river, floating downstream until they are out of sight, now just a memory.

Making It Personal: As you listen to the emotions you feel regarding the changes you have been dealing with in your life, what do you hear? Are you comfortable listening to and acknowledging the “unpleasant” 0–5 emotions? What about 6-10? What emotion(s) do you sense right now as you listen to yourself?

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