Experiencing life to the full

It seems to me that emotions, just like the rest of life, are there to be experienced, whether they are pleasant or not so pleasant.

The other day I was listening on the radio to a British officer, freshly returned from Afghanistan, talking about soldiers in combat accepting that casualties happen amongst their colleagues and yet still getting on with the job in hand. It is only when they get back to the UK that they are really able to reflect on and fully experience the emotion of the loss of a colleague.

Quite different from the denial of emotion, this is deferral. Ultimately though even tough soldiers seem to recognise the need to experience the emotion that’s there and do something with it. The deferral must come to an end.

Yet many of us have got so good at deferring the experiencing of our emotions, that it amounts to the denial of our emotions. Even during a coaching situation people can be very clever at talking about their emotions, analyzing them, describing them, intellectualising them, understanding them – but yet never experiencing them. Our capacity to avoid experiencing our own emotions is truly impressive!

Being yourself, it seems to me, means experiencing yourself.  Intending to reconnect with yourself whilst merely understanding yourself plays up to your intellect and plays down your emotion.

Being more yourself, rather than just understanding more of yourself must mean that you need to live life, by experiencing it – and not just understanding it.

The intellect is a wonderful thing but we can use it to disconnect from ourselves, to suppress parts of ourselves and contribute to our own alienation. Whilst connecting to ourselves – and others – perhaps with the facilitation of a life coach – helps us to marry up our valuable intellectual insights with our emotional experiences.

Ultimately with a little help we – and I – can learn to fully trust our hearts as well as our heads and through doing so experience life more fully.

Andy Turnbull