What is Emotional Freedom?By Dr. Margaret Paul
July 12, 2010
Are you choosing emotional dependency or emotional freedom? Discover the secret of attaining emotional freedom!
My definition of emotional freedom is being free from feeling like a victim of and controlled by our emotions. We are emotionally free when we know how to learn from and manage our feelings so that we are not reactive to them and they don't control us.
How Do We Attain Emotional Freedom?
Emotional freedom is the result of learning how to take emotional responsibility, i.e., responsibility for our feelings.
What does this mean and how do we do it?
There are two different kinds of feelings: wounded feelings and core feelings.
Wounded feelings are the feelings we cause by our own thoughts and actions. For example if you tell yourself that you better not make a mistake in your presentation at work, you will likely feel anxious, and the anxiety is coming from what you are telling yourself. If you ignore your own needs and do not take loving care of yourself, you will likely feel depressed. Our wounded feelings are feelings such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, fear of the past or future, resentment, emptiness and aloneness.
All of our feelings are an inner guidance system, giving us much information. Our wounded feelings are telling us that we are abandoning ourselves in some way - ignoring our feelings and needs, judging ourselves, turning to various addictions to avoid our feelings, or making others responsible for our feelings, i.e. being emotionally dependent on another person for our feelings of self-worth and happiness.
Core painful feelings are the feelings that come from life - from people, events and circumstances. These are feelings such as loneliness, sadness, grief, heartache, heartbreak, sorrow, fear of real and present danger, outrage over injustice, and helplessness over others and events. These feelings are letting us know when someone is being unloving to us, when someone or a situation is dangerous to us, and when we need to attend and take loving action on our own behalf.
While we do not cause our core feelings, we are still responsible for managing them with deep compassion for ourselves, and when we avoid them, then we are likely to cause our wounded feelings.
Core positive feelings are the feelings that result from taking emotional responsibility for all our feelings. These are feelings such as inner peace, joy, love, excitement, passion, aliveness, happiness, fulfillment and so on. These feelings are letting us know that we are on the right track regarding our thoughts and actions.
We take emotional responsibility when we are open to learning about how we are causing our wounded feelings and what loving actions we need to take on our own behalf. We take emotional responsibility when we compassionately embrace our core feelings with deep kindness and gentleness toward ourselves, allowing ourselves to feel and release these painful feelings, and learning about what they may be telling us about others and events.
Emotional dependency is the opposite of emotional responsibility and emotional freedom. When we are emotionally dependent, we see ourselves as victims of others and circumstances. Rather than compassionately learning from our feelings, we do everything we can to avoid them - using addictions to substances, processes, people and controlling behaviors such as anger, blame, resistance, withdrawal or compliance.
Avoiding responsibility for our feelings leads to the misery of our wounded feelings. We create great suffering when we avoid our feelings and responsibility for them rather than compassionately embracing them and opening to learning from them.
The Path to Emotional Freedom
You will gradually experience the joy of emotional freedom when you decide that you want responsibility for your feelings. Inner Bonding® is a powerful process for learning how to take emotional responsibility and attain emotional freedom.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.
Photo by Brooke Cagle
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Notice your anger, frustration or irritation. These feelings indicate that you are not taking care of yourself in some way. Your inner child is angry at you for the lack of care, and instead of attending, you may be projecting it outside yourself to others. Open to learning with your anger and discover what loving actions you need to take in your own behalf.
By Dr. Margaret Paul