It takes practice to get in touch with our emotions and if we did more often we could avoid a lot of conflict.  Western culture prefers logic over emotions.  We get a lot of training in logical reasoning and not much training in understanding emotions and how to express our feelings.  We end up with a lot of argument and fighting when we could have had understanding by feeling our emotions.  Check out Debra Tannen’s book The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words, and Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence for an outstanding review of this.

Experiencing our feelings would lead to less conflict and more cooperation and understanding.  Often we feel an emotion, but it’s an uncomfortable one, and we quickly jump into thinking before we fully experience how the emotion feels.  Our thinking is like a radio we turn on to drown out feeling our emotions.  Eventually we have buried so many feelings under the noise that an explosion occurs, which usually comes out in anger and rage.

We could prevent a lot of conflict by simply feeling our discomfort, including the fear that we will hurt someone’s feelings.  We could experience feeling our emotions and when necessary, expressing ours to others in a way that could actually solve a problem instead of make problems worse.  We could be a grown-up-assertive-person when unpleasant things happen, i.e., “When you leave your dirty dishes in the sink, I feel irritated,” which could prevent aggressive angry confrontations: “You are a lazy slob that I can’t stand living with!”

When we experience uncomfortable emotions, we can go into them and genuinely feel them.  We don’t have to keep trying to escape emotions because they feel bad.  And we don’t have to be either passive or aggressive, we can be assertive.  It take us to recognize that we are feeling something uncomfortable to begin with.

It’s ironic how afriad we are of our emotions because they only result in feelings and really they won’t hurt us.  They come and they go, no feeling is ever permanent.