Glitch in the System: Emotions as truth
Posted on September 27, 2017 by thoughtisafunnyword
The emotional system can be as vital as a pumping heart when it comes to human survival. Take fear, for example. Without fear, most of us would not have made it this far. We would have been curious about rattlesnakes, been entertained by driving at high speeds the wrong direction on the freeway at age 12, and saved a lot of money by taking up DIY tree trimming. But what happens when we have a glitch in the system, and our emotions can’t be trusted?
Parenting has made me increasingly aware what I would label “righteous fear.” I pride myself on avoiding risk. I have never been to the ER with my children, I haven’t been in a car accident since college, and we are right on time for every regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment. My ego-syntonic fear of the un-dangerous, however, has a cost. While I am allegedly mitigating risk as a hyper-vigilant germ detector/bad-guy barometer/building inspector, I am missing it. I’m missing my daughter’s laughter as she rides the 200 ft high swings at the fair. I’m missing my son’s excitement as he takes his first steps… on pavement. I’m not always happy at the happiest (and germy-est) place on earth. My emotion is telling me that someone is going to die. And my body is preparing to help me prevent that from happening. The problem is, no one is dying, and I’m all geared up for nothing. Not only am I missing these moments, but I’m teaching two of the next generation’s finest that life is like a game of frogger and all we can do is hope to get across the street without getting hit. So what’s the solution?
The solution is, as always, recognize the glitch in the system. Once I realize I am stuck in fear, I can “act opposite,” throwing myself into the present moment. I can force the smile if I have to, which sends a signal to my brain that all is okay, and I can be free to enjoy the moment/take the trip/touch the railing on the jungle cruise… and no one will die. If I do this over and over and over, the fear becomes undetectable…until next time anyway.