Six steps to handle the intense emotions that arise in relationship
Relationship is the most common place intense emotions come up. The emotions are usually very sensitive, and can be the source of many relationship problems. Here is the best way I’ve found to handle them, broken into six steps:
The first way to handle intense emotions is to create space for that emotion. Basically this means, don’t ignore the emotion. There is a tendency to turn away from and avoid the intensity of feeling that comes up for us when we relate to another person. Now, this also doesn’t mean address it immediately and irresponsibly with the other person as soon as it comes up. Really it means simply allow the experience you are having. Don’t run away, don’t obsess, just let the emotion be.
The second thing to do is admit what you’re feeling. This doesn’t mean you need to do anything about the emotion, rather it simply means face that you are feeling that way, acknowledge that you are experiencing this emotion.
The third thing to do is to express the emotion constructively and artistically. For example, if you feel angry and do a collage about your anger, it allows you to get your hands around the emotion, to see it and taste it. By simply doing something with your emotion that is not avoidant, the experience will start to lift and open.
The fourth thing to do is Corework. This is a type of mediation we teach in the Pleasure Course in which one goes to the core of what one is feeling, one confronts one’s experience. Opening with a spiritual practice liberates negative emotions, sooths and calms excited emotions, and enhances positive and turned on emotions. Just as the third step deals with the emotion artistically, this step deals with it spiritually.
These first four steps have been getting into the emotion, really feeling it. Now one is ready for the fifth step: communicate. This step is fifth because one really wants to spend a lot of time being with one’s emotion, feeling it thoroughly, THEN you want to communicate. When we instantly rush to communicate what we’re feeling usually we end up dumping or projecting, and we end up dealing with the trigger of the emotion rather than dealing with the emotion at its root. Embracing and feeling the emotion thoroughly before communicating really makes communication possible.
Finally the emotion can be released. This step actually isn’t something you do actively, it is something that happens naturally if the above steps are taken. If one feels the emotion fully, then shares and communicates, the feeling will release.
To bottom line it, the best relationship advice I have is: do not shy away from the intensity of emotion. Intense emotions will always come up, whether on your first date, in a new relationship or you have the most established and healthy relationship. Go into them, embrace them. Even though this is the opposite of what we usually think to do, you’ll find your experience lift and open.