Owning Your Range of Emotions

January 8th, 2014

I’m rather well-known for saying that if there is a God that I worship, it’s the God of range.

What I mean when I say that is I happen to believe that our purpose, the one that we all share in this human experience and in this reality itself, is we are living out the universe’s purpose to know itself.

Here is the universe wanting to know itself through my experience, through your experience, through all of the lifting experiences.  Consciousness is seeking to literally know itself through every avenue and possibility.

Because I believe that fundamentally that’s what the universe’s purpose is, even though we as individuals have our own version of how we want to play that out here.  When I think about range of expression, it feels like I’m in alignment with the very universe’s purpose for me to express my Jennifer-ness in as many possibilities and ways as possible.

Year upon year, day upon day I’m looking to literally push the edges of what I think is a possible way of expressing.  As a long time student of leadership and of creating change in the world, what I’ve noticed is that there are two major polarities that create change.

Behavioral Flexibility and Your Emotions

One of them, which I’m going to focus on now, is behavioral flexibility.  If you notice, the most flexible aspect of the system usually controls the system.  If you have a switch, it’s not all of the circuitry that does it.  It’s literally the switch that can go either in the on position or the off position that controls the entire system because it can be in two different positions.

Now, the same is true in an emotional or human system.  If you’ve ever been in a classroom with teacher and students and there’s one student who is willing to go outside of the norm of behavior and throw a tantrum and a fit, the moment that that kid throws the tantrum and a fit, that kid is controlling the system in that moment.

That’s a funny example, but I wanted to give you a visual.  In that moment he’s got all of the attention and if the teacher’s not willing to exhibit a little bit of behavioral flexibility to restore the system, that kid’s going to run circles around the teacher.

How Trust Ties into Emotion

In leadership there are positive examples of behavioral flexibility, but I think if you want to be trustable to the people around you and really affect them, they need to trust you.  They need to trust that you can hold their sadness, their anger, their joy.

In your own experience, if you’ve ever been around someone who you know can’t handle some of your emotional range, you probably only get out a small amount of who you are.  It’s almost like you don’t trust that you can give them more.  If you were a pie, you give them 20% of you.

To whom are you going to bring the most impoverished parts of yourself that really need to be changed?  Who are you going to bring your shame and your guilt and your self-loathing to?  Are you going to bring it to someone who you feel couldn’t handle the expression of it or are you going to bring it to someone who you feel that their vessel can hold that?

They have the range of expression not only to be right with it, but to be in the presence of it without trying to hide it or fade it or fix it, which is what most people do in the face of emotional expression that isn’t positive.  We try to hide it or fade it or fix it.

Getting Comfortable with the Discomfort

I know for me I’ve developed a way to be really comfortable in the discomfort. I can sit in the discomfort of anger, in the space of shame, in the space of sadness and be with it.

Only in being with it can we really do something real about it and explore it with that curiosity, like the curiosity of a child.  Where did this come from?  How can we see its roots and imagine what it’s trying to teach us?

Because these emotions are our greatest tools.  They’re a focuser of influence and outcome, these emotions. And the true measure of greatness is our capacity to navigate between our opposites, to accept ourselves exactly as we are.

Next week I’ll be delving even deeper into the importance of owning your emotions, so stay tuned!

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