What Good Is Emotional Health?

by Mark Ivar Myhre on September 5, 2007

Hello Mark,
i was just writing today to ask you a question i have never seen asked;

‘what does emotional intelligence and having a healthy relationship with your emotions have to do with practical freedom ie: freedom to have be, and do as you wish (without going overboard of course) in the real world?!’

i thought about this as i watched a news story about an iraqi woman who was killed by her family for falling in love with a man they didn’t approve of (a damn shame – may her soul rest in peace)….this got me thinking about methods that improve your emotional intelligence such as the releasetechnique/sedona method.

if you are living in an oppressive/restrictive environment where being, doing, and having what you want are made very difficult, then how does simply improving your emotional health allow you to live in a ‘free world’ of your own creation.

please explain to me how (or perhaps lead me to an article you’ve written explaining this) this happens, because i only relate emotional health to emotional freedom & well being but NOT practical (ie: real world) freedom..inspite of trying, i just cannot see the link (eg: how would the woman i mentioned above be free by simply learning to let go of her emotions.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Well, first of all, letting go of emotions doesn’t have much to with freedom. To me, the goal is to FEEL your feelings, rather than letting them go. By bringing them closer, by embracing them, you become more powerful. And they release on their own.

But I understand your point, since so much of what most people feel truly is unpleasant. And all they can think about is getting rid of those unwanted feelings….

To me, true freedom only comes through responsibility. The problem is, very few people understand what responsibility means. Most think of blame, shame, negative accountability, burdens and problems. And who in the world wants all that??

Not me!!

Responsibility anchors freedom. It is the substance – the energy – the living energy – that allows you to create your own reality – to create your heart’s desire.

Now back to your question: What’s the practical value of a healthy relationship with your emotions, if you live in a physically restrictive setting? How can you have dominion in such a place?

I admit, it could be much more challenging. I live in America; supposedly one of the most free countries in the world. It’s easy for me to talk about emotional and physical dominion.

But I’ve spent most of my life in prison. And I didn’t even know it. I thought I was free, because I saw no cold metal bars.

About ten years ago, I finally saw my prison. And let me tell you – it was much more horrifying than anything I could have ever imagined. It seemed so real!

It shook my world, once I finally saw my prison. It changed my life, right then and there. Once I got over the shock and fear, I became determined to end my emotional prison. Because sleeping through life was no longer an option.

When you wake up, you see your emotional prison. I imagine most people just go back to sleep – back to their judgments and pity and righteousness and blame. And all the other tools we use to prevent us from waking up and staying awake.

But I hear what you’re saying:

“Emotional freedom doesn’t pay the rent!”

Meaning, it has no practical value.

Well, I say emotions create reality. I’ve proven it to myself. But I can never prove it to anyone else.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about a heart-wrenching story of a woman who’s now dead. To us, it appears she died a senseless death. But we don’t really know.

Even though we see death as failure…. death is the ultimate healer, wouldn’t you say?

No matter how happy or miserable I am, I’m still going to die.

Freedom is a state of mind. Available to all, regardless of physical circumstances.

No one can take away your freedom. Governments can only limit your physical activities; your so-called ‘physical freedom’ – but that has nothing to do with your REAL freedom.

Your physical environment does not determine your freedom. Your physical environment is an illusion. It’s a manifestation of your own making.

So often, we see the suffering of others – their lack of physical freedom – and rightly so, we become outraged. If we’re awake, we can actually feel their pain in addition to our own feelings.

But it’s so easy to miss the big picture. Because all we see is a TINY sliver of time and space. One lifetime is the blink of an eye.

We forget how long and hard we studied for this life. We forget that we determined the time and place of our birth; the parents we would have; the society we would live in.

We don’t remember the excitement and resolve and determination we had before we were born. We come into this life with amnesia. Therefore, everything seems so unfair.

Life is about triumph of the human spirit. Learning to be happy in an unhappy world. Making the best of where you are.

I have glimpses of the horrors that are happening right now in China and so many other countries, to so many millions of people. I feel the pain. It makes me cry. The more in touch I get with my own soul, the more I’m able to feel the pain of the world.

It makes me grateful I’m here in the US. As bad as our government is, at least I can talk about how bad it is.

But what about those people who, say, are imprisoned or tortured? What about the innocent citizens of Iraq? How can I say they create their own reality? Aren’t they really just victims of an invading army? Or, victims of sectarian violence?

Well, I say everyone creates their reality 100%. All the time. If not, then we truly have no hope and no reason to live.

To me, the question really becomes, why would they create suffering?

Which is really just an extension of the question: why aren’t we ALL happy and rich and thin and living in utopia?

It can seem like the ultimate paradox, because we want to put our own interpretation on what it means to create your own reality. We have a tendency to want to make the rules rather than discovering what those rules already are.

To greatly oversimplify things, we have ‘belief thresholds’ that we don’t cross. But they are OUR beliefs. The way I see it, one of the main reasons to be here is to challenge and expand and change those belief thresholds.

Just because you create your own reality, that doesn’t mean you don’t have limits. You’re not likely to step outside your beliefs. I think it’s more a matter of taking charge of the beliefs, rather than trying to control the events that have already precipitated out of them.

Basically we live in a crazy world. A world ruled by chauvinism. A world where domination seems normal. Nobody questions domination; in fact it’s encouraged. And we’ve ended up in a mad world.

The thing about creating your own reality is you can create it so it appears that you DON’T create it.

If you’re born into a mad world, it’s hard to not go mad yourself.

Changing things can be like changing a huge battleship. Changing the world can only happen one person at a time. Maybe that Chinese citizen who dared to speak of freedom… who’s now dying in prison… maybe he is changing the world in some small way. Maybe by holding onto his dignity and his principles, he feels a freedom we’ll never know.

Who really defines what a successful and meaningful and worthwhile life entails?

Maybe that Iraqi woman you spoke of, as her story became known, maybe it changed a few human hearts. Maybe her suffering has a message for us. It’s so easy to see the suffering in others, and so hard to see it in ourselves.

Untold millions of stories exist. We’re only aware of a few. Why?

Why did you happen to come across that particular story? Was it really coincidence?

I would say – your world is constantly giving you messages and feedback. If you become aware of some painful story – and it brings up ANY emotional reaction in you – the most real aspect of the situation involves YOUR emotional reaction. And not the news event that precipitated it.

How you feel carries more significance (to YOU – not her!) than the story of suffering. I understand that’s exactly opposite to everything you’ve been taught and conditioned to believe.

We’re supposed to ignore how WE feel and instead DO something about what we see. Even if it’s only wringing our hands in exasperation and expressing our outrage. Which really doesn’t do much, does it?

The Iraqi woman is dead. Even if she weren’t, there’s nothing we can physically do.

No, our challenge is to respond to our natural feelings of outrage. We can’t change her reality. We can barely understand it. At best.

Speaking from my own experiences: I knew exactly what I was getting into in my life. The major influences. The big problems. The defining moments, good and bad. Because I chose them before birth. (The ‘beacons’ of my life.)

So I’m guessing it’s that way for everybody. Maybe for her a successful life meant understanding and forgiving those who killed her. But of course I don’t really know.

Basically I’m left with only my own life to respond to. And to try to figure things out as I go along.

Maybe the glass is not half full. Maybe it’s 99% full. Maybe all we can see is the painful tip of an otherwise beautiful iceberg.

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