Let it out and let it go!

Posted on Jun 28, 2016 |

Emotions have been running high the past few days and it may be useful to reflect on what they are and why they’re needed.

Just as pain is the response to a physical or physiological problem that requires your attention, emotions are the response to a spiritual issue that demands your focus. I have seen much advice since Friday on how to deal with, reduce, or even suppress emotional responses to the result of one of the most important political decisions for generations. So let’s use the pain correlation to explore this…

Imagine you stub your toe really hard on a table leg and the explosion of pain is enough to make you cry out and hop around the room, clutching your throbbing foot and potentially unleashing all manner of colourful phrases. It’s quite natural to want to scream, cry, shout or turn an interesting shade of purple as you attempt to protect more delicate ears from your tirade.

Your reaction is justified because it hurt. The pain that you experience will be yours and is just as individual in its scope. Some people may be able to get over it quickly, others may be more sensitive or expressive. Either way, your reaction is your own and you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of it.

But… it should (as far as possible) be appropriate. It’s not appropriate to react to your damaged toe by running around and punching people in the face. Yes, you hurt. But is that any reason to lash out and cause pain to others? In that way, you just perpetuate a cycle of pain and reaction. Applying that to an emotional reaction should be easy – be aware of your words and actions and try to ensure that they do not cause an undue and negative spiritual or emotional response in others.

Of course, this all depends on that other person and their reaction to your expression – maybe you’re reflecting a concern within them and this causes a response? Maybe they just don’t like anything you have to say on the matter and are quite willing to push back? Emotions and spirit are tricky things to navigate; after all, it’s not as if someone’s toe is going to become instantly broken just because you broke yours. Having said that, they may feel sufficient empathy to wince, feel sympathy pain, or even vomit!


It’s also not appropriate to continue your immediate and possibly extreme reaction once you’ve calmed down and no longer feel so volatile. One of the Reiki Precepts contains the suggestion “just for today, do not be angry” and certain styles explore the illusory nature of anger: it’s a temporary and extreme reaction to something but the key is to discover what that problem is, then to rationally and effectively deal with it. Being angry once the reaction has been acknowledged serves no purpose other than to cause spiritual harm to you and those you are affecting with it.

It’s all well and good realising this when your emotions have stabilised but not so easy to take to heart when in the middle of the reaction. While dealing with the moment of toe trauma, it may not be easy to calm down and rationally deal with your mix of adrenaline, pain and anguish when people are saying things such as “calm down, it’s not that bad”, “get over it and shut up” or even “well my toe’s fine so why are YOU moaning?”

Those reactions may or may not be helpful in a more balanced moment but they may be inappropriate or downright disrespectful to your experience while you’re going through it. Half of the voting UK have felt hurt, betrayed, scared or angry as the result of being forced out of the social and economic community and concepts that they embraced and supported. It is natural to express those emotions because they are a reaction and indicator to something that has provoked the spirit. With something this important, it is only right that you be given the opportunity to continue to discuss and express. Denying that essential human quality is the equivalent of telling the toe-stubber to “suck it up and deal with it”, which may not be the most helpful of responses.

But as I have said, there are appropriate ways of processing that trauma. By all means continue the debate but don’t resort to insults or threats. Refrain from lashing out in pain and causing that in others. Then when the immediate reaction has passed, you should hopefully be in a clearer frame of mind to discern why you had that reaction; what was it that got you so passionate?

Perhaps it’s the casual or overt xenophobia that a minority of people expressed and are continuing to do so, assuming that the vote has somehow sanctioned their discriminatory attitudes? Then use your energies to challenge those actions and to support your community in standing against such vehemence.

Maybe you feel that you’ve been cheated out of a potential that you wanted to keep, an economic and cultural community that has been pushed further away simply because half the country seemed to want something different? Then keep that desire in your heart and do what you can to foster the spirit and intention even if much of the economics may be beyond your immediate influence.

It’s possible that you’re frustrated at the lies and obfuscations from both sides and now that major promises are being backtracked, you realise that the UK has simply swapped two systems of partially elected government for just the one and that level of deregulation scares you.

There were a multitude of reasons for people to vote the way that they did and there are a multitude of reasons for people to react to the decision. Clutching your toe and screaming “none of you care, you don’t know my pain!” is an assumption about all unsympathetic people, just as assuming that all Leavers are xenophobic and bigoted is untrue and unfair. Some of them might be, but that’s no reason to tar everyone with the same brush.

The same applies to those who voted to Leave the EU. Not everyone who opposed you feels the same way and there’s no need to marginalise, provoke or gloat. Don’t be the person that cruelly laughs at another’s pain. Both sides could learn from the other and understanding why each person voted the way they did is a step towards resolving the divide that has widened across the country. Each group has their own individual concerns, opinions and desires for the future. Denying those of your opposition is just as hurtful and unproductive as them denying yours.

So let it out, then let it go. Scream your frustrations to the winds and your friends, share the information that could provide wisdom for all, debate and discuss rationally and without viciousness. Then continue to do all you can to work towards building a tomorrow that can support everyone to co-exist peacefully and productively.

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you will join us and the world will be as one.”


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