Life: Feelings Acted Out

The Three Steps to Emotional Fitness really do work; there is no doubt about that.

They are effective because they are based on the actual ways feelings operate. They are nothing more than doing what comes naturally. What is described in these steps is just what people naturally do; people, that is, who have not been short-changed in their training about emotional health.

By following these steps, your feelings will not become buried alive and then attack you in the form of addictive behavior, serious illness, or striking out at someone else physically or verbally. The three steps allow the feeling to do what it was born to do: put you in contact with life by getting expressed in an acceptable way.

In other words, your life can be understood as all of your feelings acted out.

The very word "emotion" helps us here. It is from two Latin roots: e means "out" and movere means "to move." An emotion is born precisely in order to move out.

But beyond the satisfaction of being able to "move it out," the three steps will lead you to live a whole life, a life built on a balance between thinking and feeling.

In the give-and-take of everyday living, the steps are not always so clearly separated, one from the other, as they are on these pages. As you are in the process of step one, you might also be beginning step three, and then move to step two. They overlap and intertwine. But they are always three distinct processes: noticing, naming, and expressing, and in most situations they stay pretty much in order.

Remember as you become more aware of your feelings, especially if this is a new experience for you, that the first feelings you become aware of might be negative ones. The experience could be menacing and make you feel out of control and thus hesitant to continue this process of emotional growth. Try not to confuse the experience of negative feelings, like fear or grief, with the process of becoming a more feeling person. The experience will pass; the process will endure and serve you well.

At the very first sign that your long-buried feelings might become violent toward yourself or anyone else, be sure to get help. At the very least, talk to a trusted, competent friend. If you have any doubt at all about the possibility of your own violence, do get professional help. This is an area where it is important to be safe, not sorry.

Remember, you deserve to achieve what you want. You certainly deserve your birthright: an opportunity to live life fully, including the ability to express effectively the whole spectrum of your emotions.

I wish you success.

© 2008, David Kundtz

Related information: Issues, Feeling Books: anger, assertiveness, depression, fear, forgiveness, general, grief, joy, loneliness, shame

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We know too much and feel too little. At least we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs. - Bertrand Russell


David Kundtz is a licensed family therapist in Berkeley, California. He presents seminars, workshops, retreats, and conference presentations in the areas of men's emotional health, stress management, and spirituality. He is the author of Managing Feelings:  An owner's manual for men and has recently completed a second book, Nothing's Wrong: A Man's Guide to Managing His Feelings. He makes his home in Kensington, California and in Vancouver, British Columbia. You may contact David at E-Mail or visit his web site at www.stopping.com

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