Just as you have choices about how to interpret an event, you also have options about how to express those feelings you experience. Often we limit the range of our expressive options by erroneously believing that there are only two options: either directly expressing them to someone else (e.g., in a personal confrontation), or “swallowing” the feelings and keeping them to ourselves. In actuality, there are many ways to respond to your feelings and express yourself. To some extent, you express a feeling any time your behavior is influenced by that feeling, but the way you express that feeling, and the intensity of that expression can vary widely. This is where decision-making comes in. First, consider what your options are. For example, if a close friend is planning to move away, you may feel very sad about that. You have numerous options here. For example, you can tell your friend how much you will miss him/her. Also, you can make a special effort to spend more time with him/her. These options may be painful at the time, but they give you the opportunity to express your feelings to your friend. On the other hand, you can avoid the friend until he/she leaves town so you won’t have to say good-bye. Or you can stay busy making other friends so you won’t miss this particular friend as much after he/she leaves. These choices may allow you to postpone or avoid painful feelings at the time, but they do not provide the opportunity for closure with your friend. The point is that you have options, and it’s your decision. Here are some useful questions to consider when deciding how to respond to your feelings:
- Does the intensity of my feelings match the situation?
- Do I have several feelings that I need to pay attention to?
- What interpretations or judgments am I making about this event?
- What are my options for expressing my feelings?
- What are the consequences of each option for me?
- What are the consequences of each option for others?
- What result am I hoping for?
- What do I want to do?
- What if I do nothing?
Even doing something like taking a deep breath or going for a walk to think about it can be a way of responding to your feelings. Remember that you have many options when it comes to expressing emotions. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.
Feelings are an important part of you. In order to live fully and effectively, you need many sources of information (e.g., your senses, your thoughts, your perceptions) to guide you, motivate you, and help you make sense of things. Your emotions provide one such source. Often, there is a strong relationship between the events in your life and your feelings–for example, to feel sadness in response to loss, or to feel happiness in response to something desirable. Feelings may also be related to past events or even to expectations of the future. For example, sorrow about a recent loss may evoke sadness from past losses. These feelings can be an important source of information as well. Rather than ignore or exaggerate your feelings, it is helpful to be able to take your feelings as they are, accept them, think about them, and learn from them. When you are feeling something consider asking yourself the following kinds of questions:
What is this feeling?
What is this feeling telling me about this situation?
Why has this feeling come up right now?
Raise your words, not voice.
It is rain that grows
flowers not thunder.
Your interpretations can be made so rapidly and so automatically that you may not realize they are happening. When your emotional reaction is disproportionate to the event, it is likely due to your rapid, undetected interpretation of that event, more than to the event itself. In effect, your emotions can be a valuable signal to you that you may need to re-examine your interpretation. Here are some common examples of self-defeating ways people think about and interpret the events of their lives:
Dichotomous thinking: interpreting events in extremes, in “all or nothing” ways (e.g., depicting events as wonderful or terrible, with no recognition of the grey areas in between).
Excessive personalization: automatically concluding that another’s behavior or mood is in direct response to you (e.g., “She’s in a bad mood. I must have done something wrong.”.
Over-generalization: seeing an event as having more impact, in more areas of your life, than it truly does.
Filtering: magnifying negative events in your life and discounting positive ones.
Emotional reasoning: concluding that what you feel must be the truth (e.g., if you feel stupid, you must be stupid).
Learn to recognize any tendencies you may have to distort events through interpretational styles like these, and then practice choosing and committing to more valid interpretations. The resulting emotions will be more accurate reflections of the events in your life. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
I am, indeed, a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.
Our families helped shape our attitudes about emotions, our abilities to identify emotions, our ways of interpreting events, and our ways of expressing emotions. If you are having difficulties in any of these processes and are trying to change them, you may find it helpful to consider what you learned about them from your family. Many people do not recall being taught “family rules” concerning emotions, but such teachings occurred, whether directly or subtly. A subtle example might be where a parent distanced him/herself from you or left the room whenever you got angry, thus indicating that expressions of anger were unacceptable. In other families a parent may yell, “Don’t raise your voice at me,” suggesting a rule against the child’s expressing anger, but subtly conveying the rule that expressions of parental anger are permissible. Identifying your family’s rules can help you change the ways you experience and express your emotions. Some common examples of problematic family rules include:
- Always treat other people’s feelings as more important than your own.
- Never do anything that might cause dissension or negative feelings for someone else.
- Don’t express anger.
- Use anger to get attention.
- Ignore your feelings, or better still, don’t feel.
- Don’t trust others with your feelings; keep them to yourself.
- Never trust your feelings; trust only your logic.
- Be happy all the time.
As a child growing up you may not have been able to experience or express your emotions in ways different than those prescribed by your family. As an adult you have more options, including replacing those rules which are not helpful. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
All parents damage their children.
It cannot be helped.
Youth, like pristine glass,
absorbs the prints of its handlers.
Some parents smudge, others crack,
a few shatter childhoods
completely into jagged
little pieces, beyond repair.
The relationships between the events in your life and your feelings are going to be less clear if you have difficulty identifying what you are feeling. Naturally, there are times when you are unable to precisely name what you feel. Identifying your feelings may require you to take time to focus on yourself and your feelings. If you find it difficult to notice or name what you are feeling, it may require that you pay attention to your body. Most feelings are experienced in the body. For example, fear may show up as a knot in your stomach or a tightness in your throat. Our bodies are all different, so you will have to pay attention to your body and not just rely on others experiences. Feelings are also connected to your behavior. If you aren’t sure how you feel, but you realize that you are acting in a way that sends a clear message to others, you may be able to infer what you are feeling from your behavior. For example, if you have an angry facial expression or tone of voice when you are talking with a particular friend, it may be that you are angry or frustrated with that person without recognizing it. Making the connection between life’s events and your feelings is very useful. Continuing with this same example, once you recognize your feelings, you may then more clearly understand and articulate your concerns with your friend. Often your feelings are related to your interpretations of events more than to the events themselves. While it is natural to think that you are responding only to the events of your life, in fact you make interpretations or judgments of these events, and these interpretations play a key role in your emotional responses. When you stop to think about it, each event could yield a variety of emotional responses; your interpretation of the event helps link a particular emotional response to that event. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
We cannot tell what may happen
to us in the strange medley of life.
But we can decide what happens in us;
how we can take it, what we do with it;
and that is what really counts in the end.
Joseph Fort Newton
Spiritual intimacy during sex ultimately depends on that desire to be united with your spouse. And that desire is fed throughout the day–by concentrating on what you love about him, by thinking about him, by flirting and playing with him, by saying positive things about him to others. It isn’t something that “just happens”. It’s something that is the culmination of a relationship that you already have. I truly believe that for many couples this is THE major roadblock to sex being everything it can be. Many of us push sex out of the way because it seems like a chore, but what we’re really doing, then, is denying ourselves one of the most powerful tools we have to feel truly connected and accepted by another individual. Concentrate on what you love about each other. Pray together. Memorize each others’ bodies. Say I love you. Look into each others’ eyes. Truly be joined. There really is nothing else like it. From a post at http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
We waste time
looking for the perfect lover,
instead of creating the perfect love.
This is a tough one for some people, but don’t let your mind wander. Sometimes our minds wander because we’re multi-taskers, and we start creating shopping lists in our heads. But I’m not just talking about that. Other times we let our minds wander in order to get aroused. We fantasize. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with remembering something wonderful that you did together that was stupendous, or imaging being on a beach, or whatever it may be for you. But to fantasize about someone who isn’t your husband (wife/partner), or to bring up pornographic images to get aroused, isn’t right. And it hinders your ability to really bond with your spouse. Guys often struggle with this, too, especially guys who have used porn. Images often come into their heads. If either of you is short-cutting the arousal cycle by pulling up pornographic images, ask God (Higher Power) to help you stop, and then practice just being present. Think about your body. Think about your spouse. Trace your fingers along your spouse’s body. Think specifically about what is feeling good and what you love about your spouse, and say some of these things out loud. Keep your mind focused on the here and now, and you’ll find it a much more intimate, and intense, experience. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation,
which depend upon the future.
We let go the present, which we have in our power,
and look forward to that which depends upon chance,
and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.
One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage. From “Strength to Love” by Martin Luther King Jr.
Going to church doesn’t make you
any more a Christian than going
to the garage makes you a car.
Your beliefs don’t make you
a better person, your behavior does.
Your words mean nothing if your
actions are the complete opposite.
Having true faith in whatever it is
you believe must be shown through actions,
believing is only half the battle.
Let your dreams be bigger than your fears,
your actions louder than your words,
and your faith stronger than your feelings.
To experience spiritual intimacy, take time being naked. I don’t just mean taking your clothes off to make love. I mean actually be naked together. Hold each other. Take a bath together. Even pray naked together! Redo that exercise where you just take time touching each others’ bodies. Really feel as if you completely know the other person. It’s actually more vulnerable to be naked while someone touches you than just to be naked while you “have sex”. And so take that time to explore! Take time to be spiritually naked. This may sound weird, but trust me on it: pray before sex. When we unite together spiritually first, it’s as if our souls are drawn together. And when our souls are drawn together, we want to draw together in a deeper way. If you’re uncomfortable with free-form prayer, buy a book of prayers… The words don’t matter; the heart does. When you mean it, and you bow before God together, you really are drawn towards each other in a much more intense way. Look into each others’ eyes. The eyes are windows, and yet how often do we close our eyes, as if we’re trying to shut the other person out, and concentrate on ourselves? I know sometimes you have to close your eyes to feel everything, but sometimes open up and look into his eyes. To actually see him–and to let him see into you–is very intimate, especially at the height of passion. Say “I love you”. It’s such a little thing, but while you’re making love–or even when you orgasm, say “I love you”. Make sex about not just feeling good, but expressing love. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
There are only two
guidelines in good sex.
Don’t do anything
you don’t really enjoy
and find out what
are your partner needs
and don’t balk them
if you can help it.
Spiritual intimacy in marriage is a beautiful thing. When we have it, we can truly make love, not just have sex. I think that’s actually part of God’s plan for sex. Think about it: in sex we bare ourselves physically. But for sex to really work well, we also have to bare ourselves emotionally. We have to be able to be vulnerable. We have to be willing to “let go”. God created people with first and foremost a desperate longing for relationship. We long to know and be known, and in that knowing to be accepted. It’s our deepest need. When we focus only on the physical, sex too often can seem shallow. When we combine the physical with the emotional and the spiritual, sex is stupendous, because it encompasses all that we are. One of the reasons that our culture has become more pornographic–and why things that were once considered sexually taboo are now pretty much mainstream–is that our culture has made sex into something only physical because they don’t have anything else. And yet they know they’re missing something, so they try more and more extreme things. We have the ingredients for an amazing sexual relationship, because it’s real intimacy, not just orgasm. (And, by the way, that makes orgasm even greater!). Excerpts form an article found at http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
Sex is always about emotions.
Good sex is about free emotions;
bad sex is about blocked emotions.