It seems to me I’ve never stopped feeling anything. Healing seems to only ever take two forms. We can either distance ourselves from the emotion, which feels like temporary hiding, or find something to drown it out. This poses a unique problem as I retract from the New Age touchy-feely man I was to focus on building my freedom.
The last two years in Southern California were an emotional playground for me. I was able to learn about myself and how to relate to people more than ever. I learned how to be a magnet and radiate happy freedom. I learned how to open up and receive a far wider range of feedback as positive. The world and I were bright and crazy.
This year I’ve settled into Texas to focus on building my future. I have decided to avoid relationships and emotional indulgence in order to focus on work, business and other projects that may potentially set me free. The job I have is incredibly supportive, both financially and in terms of work-life balance. It’s a uniquely respectful environment and I’m blessed to be in the company of considerately brilliant technical people. That said, it does not provide what I would consider an ideal arrangement for maximizing my ability to give to the world.
I am certainly an idealist and a dreamer. But I’m also an engineer and problem solver. So I set myself to work on building dreams. This year in Texas is for focus on work and business projects. Focus on work allows me to appreciate what I have without wondering what I’m missing. Focus on business projects is my active prayer for the manifestation of my dream.
What that dream will look like is a story for another time. You now have more background information than perhaps you wanted. That said, backstage has been set. Now to front stage.
Two of my best friends moved to Dallas to join me last week – a gift I’d never imagined to receive from anyone short of a stalker or fatal-attraction relationship. These two friends are a gift in themselves, let alone their relocation to my world. They’ve been the source, foundation, support and inspiration for my emotional growth over the last year. They’ve been the push and bait for many adventures. They’ve been the core of my social world – a world that I’ve now backed away from.
I reunited with A last night on a basketball court in the rain. Practical catch up and the settling of hanging questions made way for wild conversation tying the deepest corners of interpersonal psychology and introspective philosophies to abstract road maps for our future. A simple exchange involving the accidental disposal of a water bottle and a gift from the perpetrator was more than sufficient context for an exploration of our present differences. While I have a strong understanding of the dynamic between love and admiration in myself and the roles they play in my life, suffice it to say that such a severe difference in the way we now evaluate the world is sufficient reason to suspect our bond may suffer through this period.
On my drive home, my heart opened up to excitement and appreciation for having A back in my life, which can hardly be seen as a negative experience by anyone in their right mind – but I’m in my left. I experienced a natural expansion of the appreciation and a focus shift to include others in my life and then began to suffer. Not everyone is as accessible as A now is. Most are thousands of miles away. Some have parted or vice versa for functional or emotional preservation. Still others will never be as understanding of me or my calculated personality adventures and fluctuating situation needs as A. And I could ramble on for days but at last we’ve come to the topic of today’s essay: emotional preservation.
As I see it, there are three methods of emotional preservation – blocking, masking and embracing. Each has its merits and downsides. Each has an appropriate time and a place, though one may be helpful to you more often than another. One may be better suited for a quick fix and yet another for the long term. Some may result in healing and personal exoneration while some leave permanent scars.
The effect of the method is entirely situation-dependent. One may work brilliantly most of the time and still other times do more harm than good. In any case, don’t be discouraged, if you learn nothing, you’ll be no worse off than you started. If you learn something, perhaps you’ll be better equipped to overcome emotional challenges in the future thus stealing periods of your life back that would have otherwise been spent in sadness, remorse, depression, anxiety, guilt or regret.
Blocking is the act of avoiding an emotionally loaded memory. This includes running from problems, becoming emotionally hard, or developing and supporting a delusional understanding of yourself or your past in order to avoid confronting an issue. This is recommended for use only when absolutely necessary and only for short periods of time. For example, you may have responsibilities like a job or children that will neither wait nor be an appropriate place for another approach. For a more extreme example, if you are a soldier on the front line and your buddy just lost his life, it is not an appropriate time to emote – block or mask, continue to act and I pray you have a dissimilar future in which to come to an emotional understanding with your experience.
Masking is the act of engaging in something of a similar but more intense nature in order to override your emotional experience with the other. This is most common in the case of a serial monogamist or anyone with a pattern of repeating mistakes. Please note, there can be entirely unrelated reasons for serial monogamists or pattern sufferers. Masking is recommended only in the case of being presented with some untimely opportunity and should never be expected to stand as a permanent solution to addressing unsettled issues.
Embracing is the act of opening up to yourself and facing your points of emotional tension with love, acceptance and understanding. For the intellectualists, your path may reveal that all is always as it was meant to be and is therefore perfect – this tends to provide a positive emotional cornerstone by which objectivists and nihilists may understand their realities with a sense of gratitude and optimism. For the sensualists, your understandings will vary but your strength of love and acceptance may be significantly developed – this tends to allow you to actively receive the world more positively with fewer negative reactions until the world feels only beautiful.