Lesson #7: The Bigger Picture: Mindful Emotions

Lesson #7: The Bigger Picture: Mindful Emotions mindful emotionsWe've been talking a lot about your life these past weeks. How your life is your construct. (And how this means happiness is your inside job.) We've also talked about how you naturally and often subconsciously co-create your life experience through your cognitive networks. They include:
    • Your thoughts, beliefs, and belief systems
    • Your personal narrative
    • Your anticipations of the future and expectations for certain things to pass
    • Your assumptions about the world, and your place in it
    • Your sensory perception (e.g. how you see things)
    • Your biological reflexes (e.g. how your hand retracts from a burning stove)

The bigger picture

Your life is your construct whether you accept it or not. It's the way things are because you are a human being living on Earth, and these principles hold true for any human being living on Earth. If you were a dolphin, you would co-construct your life experience in significantly different ways. Instead of perceiving mostly through vision and touch, you'd perceive mostly through audition (sonar). Okay, so your life is your construct. And because you are now aware of this fact, you have a choice.

Your choice

You can either do nothing and let things go on the way they have been. Or you can do something, and that is: take more response ability for how you co-construct your life. My guess is that because you've made it this far in the lessons, you're interested in response ability. And I'm assuming that if you continue reading beyond this point, it is your choice.

Taking response ability for how you co-construct your life

When you take response ability you make the conscious choice to find healthy responses to what happens in your life. Instead of blaming outside forces for what happens “to you," you focus on what you can do that's constructive and conducive to building your life as a mindful construct. A mindful construct is a schema for conceptualizing the world and your reality by being aware of and taking into account your belief systems and assumptions about the world, both subconscious and conscious. So that you may exercise more response ability in your life and better realize your goals, values, passions, and potentials.

Response ability is mindfulness

As you can see, response ability and mindful constructs are intricately related. You can't really have one without the other. And you can't strive for either without the basic understanding that: your life is your construct. This basic understanding is a very mindful one. "Taking response ability" is just another way -- a more actionable way -- to say, "being mindful."

The first way response ability means emotional mindfulness

But to clarify, I'm not talking about mindfulness in the mainstream sense of the word. I'm talking about emotional mindfulness. Using mindfulness as a tool for working with your emotions. You need mindfulness -- to accept that you are experiencing an emotion — in order to fully experience it. So that you can later learn from it, and apply what you learned constructively to your life. Emotions are ephemeral — they’re easy to miss, or misinterpret. Which makes them really easy to avoid. Mindfulness helps you pin them them, really experience them. Mindfulness gives you permission to feel. When you use mindfulness to amplify your emotional experience, you move through emotions faster and more effectively. Meaning, you’re much more response able to your life.

The second way response ability means emotional mindfulness

And then there's the issue of that 90% of you underneath the surface, your subconscious universe. In order to "focus on what you can do that's constructive and conducive to building your life as a mindful construct" (taken from the definition of mindfulness), you need to do at least two things:
    1. Reprogram all the dysfunctional subconscious beliefs that get in the way of your doing constructive things
    2. Take inventory on all of your beliefs so that you're only choosing the ones you want in your mindful construct
Both of these require that you become intimately aware of your internal cognitive networks (which includes your dysfunctional beliefs and your subconscious). And guess what? (Well, you already know this.) In order to become intimately aware of your internal cognitive networks, you need to get really mindful of all of your emotions -- because your emotions are the breadcrumbs leading back to your cognitive networks! So again, taking response ability means emotional mindfulness.

Mindful emotions

mindful emotionsAnd what we're really talking about here is partnering your mind and your heart. Your logic and your intuition. Your reason and your feeling. (They're not really supposed to be separated, we just conceive of them that way.) What we're really talking about is having mindful emotions. Or rather, learning to relate to your emotions in such a way that you are fully aware of the what's going on anytime you are experiencing an emotion. And keeping these important things in mind during the process:
    • Your emotions are of value to you. Not only did they evolve for your survival; they can be used as powerful tools for greater growth, self-awareness, and effectiveness in life
    • It's healthy to acknowledge and express your emotions (safely and appropriately of course).
    • After you acknowledge and express your emotions, you can trace the logic behind them.
    • Doing do means being intimately more mindful of your cognitive networks and your subconscious, which allows to you reprogram dysfunctional beliefs.
    • Such mindfulness is the springboard to response ability.
    • And such response ability is the ticket to long-term success (however you define that to be), and naturally leads to greater health and happiness.
When each of these rings true deep inside of you -- there's an automatic shift in how you relate to your emotions. You become mindful of your emotions. You naturally want to express them. You can't wait to hear them out. You look to them for guidance and help. You forget trying to ignore them. You do what you can to uncover them. You stay away from people or situations that are emotionally clueless. And you're no longer afraid of what you'll find when you "go there." Because you know, deep within you, that there's always a way out. That no matter how deep the feeling goes, you will find the means to take response ability again, and do whatever it takes to get back on your feet and keep going. It's pretty powerful stuff. It's the stuff that your life is made of. Now you can see why "Your Life is Your Construct" isn't just the tagline for Mindful Construct. And it isn't just one article either. (And it barely fits in this 10-part e-class!) It's an outlook, an attitude, complex with profound implications. And it's all about you. Next lesson we'll go over the steps for working with your negative emotions, with the goal of being mindful of the process. We'll go over how to turn those negative emotions into mindful emotions. See you there! All the best, signed, Melissa P.S. Did you get here from a link from a friend? This Lesson 7 of a 10-part free e-class that shows you how your life is your construct. Learn more about it and sign up here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen January 14, 2012 at 2:53 am

Thanks Melissa. Am also working through a lot of grief and finding that I can now spot and avoid people who squish their ( and have a really good attempt at squishing mine) emotions. I used to attract them and struggle incessantly with feelings and I wondered why no one else seemed to struggle as I did. Now I cam feely emotions they pass much quicker providing I act with mindfulness and nuturin of myself. My need to please and many other counter productive behaviours have lessened immeasurably and I feel like I am finally ‘growing up’ but in a joyful way. So many many thanks to you. Eapecially your acticle on emotionally distorted people who like to silence any dissent from happy happy la la land where if you wish hard enough you can be and have anything you want. I want happiness in the sense of ‘a meaningful existence’. I am blessed with some amazingly beautiful
People who listen to me express my feelings and hey presto any negativity disapears!!!! Thankyou again x

Melissa Karnaze January 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Thanks for sharing Helen. That’s great that you are becoming more aware of people who try to squish your emotions and learning how to take better care of yourself. It’s a lifelong process!

Julie August 31, 2012 at 6:35 am

Hi Melissa,
I absolutely LOVE how you write. You have a great way of simplifying & getting to the point.
I’m curious….if sensory perception is an integral part of your cognitive network, does that mean children/adults with sensory processing issues have more cognitive distortions about the world? & if so how can we teach this population to be more response able?
How does ADHD & other neurobiological disorders fit in?

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