Every point of resistance is a pathway to self-discovery, an invitation to explore parts of ourselves that we may have suppressed, consciously or unconsciously.
Nothing comes into our energy field unless it’s there to give us a message. That includes our emotions. Your anger, frustration, sadness, shame, anxiety — all have a rightful place at the table in your life. All are part of you.
Where we get into trouble is in believing that we “should” or “shouldn’t” feel a certain way in a given set of circumstances. Emotions are emotions. They are not inherently positive or negative, good or bad. Every emotion is part of our experience and part of us.
When we believe that our emotions are “wrong” and judge ourselves for feeling these emotions, we block the path to self-discovery. We block the path to healing.
Healing means to make whole. You cannot be whole if you deny parts of you or parts of your experience.
Judging our emotions is what Buddhists call “shooting the second arrow.” The first arrow is the initial emotion. Let’s say you get angry or upset or frustrated. The second arrow is your self-judgment. That’s when you say, I shouldn’t be frustrated about this.
Of course, we live in a culture of more. Why stop at two arrows when you can have a whole bag of arrows?
So maybe you get angry at yourself for being frustrated, and then disappointed in yourself for being angry, and so on, and before you know it you’ve shot a bag of arrows at yourself, intensifying the original pain. Then you go off in search of something to numb the pain or to push it away.
All of this separates us from ourselves. It creates divisiveness rather than wholeness.
That initial emotion had a message for you; it was an invitation to explore a piece of you that feels ignored. To explore we must engage with compassion and curiosity, states that are incompatible with self-judgment.