Emotional Awareness and Midlife Crisis Fog

Emotional Awareness and Midlife Crisis Fog

Emotional Awareness is the key to much of the confusion or fog we feel at midlife. I realize that sounds hard to believe. Especially if we’re feeling a tremendous amount of negative emotion or confusion during your crisis. I can imagine the question “If I feel so crummy now, why would I want emotional awareness and take a chance on feeling even more crummy?” That’s a fair question.

However, I have good reason for recommending you become aware of the emotions you’re feeling. That reason is, you can learn a huge amount about yourself and your negative feelings if you know you have them. Here’s an example from a 42 year old man I’m coaching. We will call him W.

W first called me last October after hearing about my book Talking Man to Man. He had recently learned his wife was having an affair with an acquaintance of his. As you can imagine, he was devastated! It was even more confusing when I told him God was calling him to get to know himself. “Huh? He said.

Now it helps to know W is a very devout Christian and, as I was raised Christian, I know how to speak the jargon Christian’s use. I told him, “God is calling you to meet yourself”.

He said, with a hint of disbelief in his voice, “I called you because my marriage is falling apart and you’re telling me God wants me to meet myself?”

“Yes” I answered. He got quiet for a few seconds.

“Why?”

I said “You have no control over your wife. You can not change her. Is that true?”

“Yes” he answered.

I asked, “Why then are you calling me?”

He paused for a minute. “I suppose…” He went quiet again for a few seconds. “I suppose… I want to find a way to make her come back …to get her back.” He stammered.

“So what are you trying to do then?” I asked.

“I’m trying to control her…” His voice faded off. “I am. I’m trying to control her. I had no idea I was doing that but I am. When I actually think about the past twenty years we’ve been married, I’ve can see I’ve been trying, directly and indirectly, to control her. I didn’t realize that until now! No wonder she’s moving away from me emotionally!”

“Wait a minute W. Are you trying to control her reasons for the affair in your head?” I asked.

He got quiet again. He started to talk and then he paused mid-stammer. He started again. Really slowly he answered, “I think I am… Why would I do that? Why am I trying to control her answers in my head? …I think I have some control issues going on in my life…” He grew quiet again.

“W” I asked, “how well do you actually know yourself? Your reasons for doing things? Your motivations?”

“I… I… I don’t think I actually know myself very well at all when I think about my motivations. It just felt like the thing to do when I did it. He answered.

I asked, “Do you understand now why you are being called to get to know yourself?

~

How Emotional Awareness Benefits You

This is the reason I always recommend getting to know yourself starting with the simple question of “Are you feeling anything?” Emotional awareness brings to light the myriad reasons we do what we do, think what we think, experience what we experience, and perceive what we perceive. It affects everything we do in our daily lives! Yet, most of us deny we feel many emotions at all!

Emotional awareness opens up the motivations which influence or even control our lives. And thus, in midlife when we feel confused or lost or depressed or anxious or in a fog, it helps an amazing amount to know we are actually feeling something. The emotions we feel are not us, they are how we feel. There is a HUGE difference! One is your identity and one is how you feel.

Until you can see you are not your emotions, your emotions will drive every decision in your life whether they help you or not. Figure out that you’re feeling emotions behind every action you take and you’ll start to figure out what you really really really want in your life. Your true dreams! Not just your grasping for emotional relief.

I hope now, the reason emotional awareness is so important is a bit more clear. If it isn’t, please write me and let’s talk, I’ll be happy to learn from you and, hopefully, you can learn from me too. Write Blair about Emotional Awareness

Reality and God. What you’re feeling now can de-focus reality.

Reality and God. What you’re feeling now can de-focus reality.

A Photo of Reality and God and Clouds in the Sky by Blair AshbyI woke up this morning thinking about reality and God and how, in reality, God sees me as I truly am; made in the image and likeness of God. There’s a certain comfort in that knowledge. My human made programs are not God’s making but, I am.

I am perfect.
I am whole.
Even if I can only see the programs and pain, God sees me as God’s child. Perfect and whole.
That’s an awesome thought! How’s that for reality?

So, are you feeling anything?

As an emotional being, I rarely feel like I’m God’s child or a child of the Universe. I feel separate and disjointed from the Ultimate Reality. And yet, every religion teaches, I am not. How can it be one way but I feel it’s different? Which is real?

Through the past five years of midlife, I’ve learned many things about me. Like, I’m an emotional being. We all are actually, I’m not any more or less than you are. I might have a greater or lessor level of awareness of my emotions but, even as a professional music composer and author, you and I are still fundamentally the same. We each have amazing sums of emotional energy coursing through our bodies all the time. It’s why, as a species, we’ve grown to 7 billion souls. That doesn’t mean seven billion happy souls. Just 7,000,000,000 people alive.

Are emotions the definition of reality? I doubt it.

Another thing I’ve learned in the past five years is my programming gets in the way of my happiness quite often. Programming?

I call it EPS. Emotional Programs for Survival. Survival is the reason we have emotions. And emotions work well! Remember the 7 billion souls? However, survival is about quantity not quality. Now, count me as a weirdo if you’d like, but I would, actually, rather be feeling happy than unhappy if I’m going to be alive. Yet, emotions, as my friend Tony D’Souza says, are like clouds in the sky. If you give them a minute, they fade away or change shapes. Constantly! Thus, happy feelings are fleeting at best. What’s a person to do if one wants to live a life of quality or, a better description for me, peace and contentment?

Oh, and denying or suppressing your emotions is a bad idea, health wise and psychologically speaking. Remember, we are emotional beings! We have to feel emotions! So, how can a person accept one’s emotions and move into peace and contentment?

This is where the past five years have been an amazing journey for me! I’ve found peace and contentment are always present in my soul. If I’m not feeling it, it’s because it’s not an emotional energy to be felt. It’s a state of being not a feeling. Now, I can imagine, you’re wondering why this is titled Reality and God?

There are several ways to find that peace and contentment inside. All of them are simple yet, usually a challenge to implement. The most effective way I’ve found to recognize my programs are running and thus, I’m playing the EPS game, is to ask myself this simple question. Am I feeling anything?

Yes or No

It’s simple question and there aren’t any wrong answers. So ask yourself, “Am I feeling anything?” and answer yourself honestly. That honesty is really important! If you want to reach peace and contentment. That’s it. It really is that simple… and challenging.

Ask yourself this question relentlessly! Everything you do, think, say or experience ask yourself: “Am I feeling anything?” You’ll be amazed after a few days or weeks (depending on how much you suppress your emotions) how much you’re feeling. All the time! Even the smallest decisions or thoughts have emotions tied to them!

Why will this question help you achieve peace and contentment? The first part of peace and contentment is getting your emotional programs for survival into their proper place. EPS need to be wisdom tools, not the captain of your life. To get them in perspective, you need to see them first and that takes practice. So, start your journey by asking, Am I feeling anything?

Reality is seeing through our emotions. Once we can recognize our EPS, not fall prey to them but instead, use them to our advantage, God can then begin God’s good work in you. It’s starts with reality though….

“Am I feeling anything?”