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How to Deal With Your Emotions

When repressed emotions come flooding in from the past, they distort the present moment, and you find yourself reacting like a hurt child instead of responding like an adult.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

* All quotes by Leonard Jacobson from Journey Into Now

1. Unment Needs From Childhood

"The process of repressing feelings began in early childhood. As a child, you needed your parents to be very present with you, but that need was not met.

In a very subtle way, you felt isolated and separate. You needed your parents to be unconditionally loving and accepting and, for the most part, that need was not met.

Because your needs were not met, you felt hurt over and over again. And in response to feeling hurt, you became angry.

You soon discovered that these feelings of need, hurt, and anger were either too much to bear or were simply not allowed, and so, with the ego's assistance, you began the process of repressing these feelings within you."


Leonard shows us clearly how the process of repressing emotions begins. It all happens so subtly and innocently. We wanted our parents to be present with us, and to accept us unconditionally. But that need was not met.

  1. Do you harbour some kind of resentment toward your parents for the way you were raised? Or can you see that they did the best they could according to their level of consciousness?

  2. "In a very subtle way, you felt isolated and separate." Are you familiar with that feeling? If we have carried it around for most of our lives, we may not even recognize it.

  3. Notice, today, the lack of presence in your interaction with people. Is anyone giving you their undivided attention, really listening and seeing you deeply? And how present are you with those you meet today?

2. Reservoirs of Repressed Emotions

"There are reservoirs of repressed emotions stored within you. There is a reservoir of loneliness and isolation. There is a reservoir of unfilled need. There is a reservoir of hurt, sadness, and pain. There is a reservoir of repressed anger.

These feelings tend to leak through into your day-to-day living. They distort your sense of self and they adversely affect your relationship with others.

Sometimes they are dramatically triggered. The dam bursts and you are flooded with feelings that have absolutely nothing to do with the present moment.

Some people are constantly flooded with past emotions and their lives are full of unnecessary suffering."


Leonard beautifully describes our repressed emotions with this metaphor of reservoirs, leaking daily and sometimes bursting to create a great flood.

  1. Look at all the repressed feelings that are listed: loneliness and isolation, unfulfilled need, hurt, sadness, pain and anger. We carry so much within us, unconsciously. The first step is to become conscious of it all.

  2. These repressed emotions are tampering with our daily life. They affect how we see things, including ourselves and others. They give us a distorted view of life.

  3. If we don't take care of these repressed feelings, we can lose touch with reality at any moment and be flooded with past emotions, creating a life "full of unnecessary suffering."

3. Triggering Overwhelm

"If you are feeling lonely, it is a signal that it is time for some companionship. That is all it means. It does not mean that you have to find someone and get married.

As a responsive and awakened adult Being, you would simply call a friend and meet for lunch. It is just a tiny feeling of loneliness, which invites an appropriate adult response.

But if that tiny feeling of loneliness triggers a release from the reservoir of loneliness and isolation dammed within you, you are suddenly overwhelmed with childhood feelings.

Instead of calling a friend, you withdraw. You are convinced, at an unconscious level, that you are unloved and unwanted. You feel like a failure. You feel ashamed and you hide out, hoping that no one will see you like this."


Loneliness is a feeling all of us are familiar with. There is much heaviness and negativity associated with it, and yet, here we see that it doesn't have to be that way.

  1. Re-read the first paragraph of this quote. Can you appreciate the simplicity of what is being said here?

  2. Now re-read the last paragraph. Do you see the drama that the mind creates around the feeling of loneliness?

  3. There is a "reservoir of loneliness and isolation dammed within you," within most of us. If you're not aware of this, your repressed emotions can take over your life. However, when you become conscious of the fact, you are empowered to respond in a different way.

4. Reacting Like a Hurt Child

"The feeling of hurt is an indication that you are not getting what you want or you are getting what you don't want. Anger indicates the same thing. You are meant to respond to these feelings by calmly and lovingly asking for what you want or stating clearly what you don't want.

But if these feelings are flooded with hurt or anger from the past, you can no longer respond appropriately. No longer an adult who is present, empowered, and responsive, you are a hurt child reacting as you did in childhood, either by withdrawing and sulking, or by becoming very angry and full of blame and resentment.

You will have to empty these reservoirs of repressed emotions so that you can deepen into Presence and remain fundamentally present in your day-to-day living and relationships."


Are you reacting like a hurt child or responding like an adult to what is appearing in your world today?

  1. Do you sometimes find yourself sulking, blaming and resenting? If you do, calmly accept that you recognize this, without the need to then heap more blame and guilt onto yourself.

  2. Once you recognize this tendency to overreact to situations, something wonderful happens. Now you have the choice to pause. In this pause, reaction transforms to response. Previously, you were triggered and reacted unconsciously. Now you are "an adult who is present, empowered, and responsive."

  3. In this new, responsive state, you are free to simply express how you feel, without any repressed emotions behind your words and actions. You can calmly and lovingly say what you want or clearly state what you don't want. Such direct communication is rare and much appreciated. In today's hypersensitive world, there may still be offenses, but see this as another opportunity to pause and respond appropriately (which sometimes means staying silent).

5. Restoring the Right to Express

"When emotions arise, it is important that you do not try to get rid of these feelings. You are simply inviting them to arise and express authentically.

The feelings will surface with a story from the past. Allow the story to emerge, but do not believe in it.

It is as though you are playing two parts.

On the one hand you are needy, sad, hurt, angry, or blaming and you express it fully and authentically. On the other hand, you are fully present as the feelings arise.

You are witnessing the whole event as it emerges from within you, and you know that it has nothing to do with the present moment. You know that it is simply the past emerging for completion.

This is not therapy. You are not trying to fix anything or get rid of anything. You are simply correcting that earlier decision you made as a child to repress difficult feelings. You are restoring to the feelings their right to exist and express.

But as an awakening Being, you will do so responsibly. Anger expressed responsibly leads to laughter. If sadness arises, then cry. It will soon pass and be replaced by joy."


"When emotions arise, it is important that you do not try to get rid of these feelings." And yet, it seems that we are in this default mode of pushing our feelings away, which is like trying to keep a ball full of air underwater. Our unwanted feelings keep coming back again and again...

  1. "You are simply inviting them to arise and express authentically." It may feel strange and counterintuitive to invite your feelings instead of pushing them away, but remember that this is because they have been ignored and rejected all these years. Don't listen to the voice that is afraid of inviting them. Just invite them to be here with you now.

  2. "The feelings will surface with a story from the past. Allow the story to emerge, but do not believe in it." Be aware of your story - everything you've been believing about yourself, others and life. Anything to do with the past is your story: "They didn't understand me, I was mistreated, I've never belonged..." Notice it all like a spectator, looking in on this person's life story.

  3. Remain present as the feelings rise up knowing that, in this moment, it's okay to be upset and overwhelmed with emotion. You're giving those feelings the right to express themselves freely. You are setting them free after all these years or innocently repressing them. The past is emerging for completion.

6. Responding Appropriately Moment to Moment

"Feelings that arise in the moment are your friends. They are messengers. They tell you how to respond appropriately to whatever is occurring in the moment.

If you are feeling hungry, eat! If you are feeling thirsty, drink! If you are feeling lonely, call a friend! If you are out with friends and you feel overwhelmed, leave. Get some space!

There is nothing complicated about it. Your feelings are clues and signals about how to respond, moment to moment.

So respond, rather than react. It is very simple, as long as there are no repressed emotions flooding in from the past to distort your experience of the present moment."


Leonard shows us what it looks like to have balanced and healthy emotions, without all the complications of our story.

  1. Read the first paragraph again. Notice the words "in the moment." When feelings arise in the moment, they are a response to your life situation, guiding you to take action.

  2. There's nothing complicated about this. The complication only comes in when you start analyzing and inventing all sorts of reasons why something is happening or not happening. I like the example of being with people and feeling overwhelmed. Imagine all the thoughts that can go on in the mind, all the self-judgment and conclusions you can come to, when all you need is some space away from the crowd.

  3. Now re-read the last paragraph. Do you see the beautiful simplicity of not having repressed emotions flooding in from the past to distort the present moment? Do you see how you can live day-to-day with a delightful absence of stress? Your feelings no longer have to bother you if you recognize them for what they are - reactions from the past, coming up for expression and acceptance, or responses to the present, signaling what you need to do.

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