Monday, 23 January 2012

How to Deal with Destructive Emotions

by Matzav.com (See all authors)

In the Kabbalistic literature, our faculties of cognition are commonly referred to as "parents," while our faculties of emotions are described as "children (4)." The significance of this metaphor is vital: The relationship between the mind and the heart, it suggests, must reflect a healthy relationship between parents and children.

When your child begins to holler, you must acknowledge his or her predicament, and examine the cause for their outburst. Yet you cannot run to call the ambulance based on the screams of a child alone without examining it on your own first. A clear distinction must be made between de-legitimizing your child's tears, which is cruel, to allowing these tears to dictate your home and life.

A similar relationship must exist between the mind and the heart. Emotions, instincts, moods and feelings are children. They are cute, spontaneous, vibrant, immature and wild. Sometimes they are on to something very real and serious, other times they exaggerate or distort reality. We ought not to de-legitimize, suppress or deny them. We must be keenly aware of their existence within us. Just like children, we must attempt to educate and refine them. Yet we ought not to worship them and allow them the exclusive right to define our life. As voluble as emotions are, the moral sense of right and wrong must be given precedence over "I do not feel up to it."

 

As Dov wrote on the forum today:

My sponsor used to say to me, "feelings are just: feelings. Not reality at all. Just feelings, not the way things are." (Oh, how I hated when he said that! :-)

 

From an article on Matzav.com over here