Have you ever heard yourself or someone else say, “I have conflicting emotions about this” and then follow with an explanation of what was in conflict? Most likely what was described were two or more viewpoints on a situation. For example, “I am sad that my best friend is moving, but so happy that she is pursuing her dreams,” or “I want this promotion, but I am scared that I don’t have enough experience to do the job well,” or “I want to have a pleasant conversation with this person, but every time we talk I get so angry.”
Such recognitions are common and healthy admissions that our bodies are not unified with one clear feeling or intention. Acknowledging these moments helps us understand and address complex situations, like the friend moving away. It also provides us with an opportunity to sort out conflicting emotions so that we can make a decision, as with the fear in the promotion opportunity. In this case a person might need to address the fear and see if it is a justifiable reason not to pursue the new job, or simply a healthy challenge that will promote personal growth. Then there are times, like the final example where a conversation is constantly transformed into an angry exchange. Emotions in conflict can be protective measures based on past experience or instinctive perceptions that trigger guarding or warding off a potential aggressor. All of these examples provide us with opportunities to examine and self-reflect as we navigate the bumps in life’s road.
However, what if our conflicting emotions were more like an inability to express an emotion without another emotion hijacking the situation? In such cases someone would want to express anger, but ends up crying along with their attempt to be serious and strong. In another situation embedded fears keep a person from receiving or expressing tender love or sensual touch, and they find their bodies suddenly overtaken with tension, pulling back from the affection they actually desire. These moments of conflict are considered emotional entanglements, where a person wants to express one emotion, but can’t without another one seemingly permanently attached. It’s like a plant wanting to grow and bloom, but it can’t because the weeds entangled around its base gradually grow up the stem and hold the plant back from its potential. Entanglements are formed by life experiences, where a person has received messages or lived situations where these emotions were strongly associated with each other and have resulted in dual expressive states, where a person finds that one emotion cannot be expressed without the other.
Someone who has entangled emotions might think “I want to address the group seriously about something that is important to me, but I keep getting teary eyed and my voice quivers” or “Every time I try to speak tender words of love and caring, I get choked up, so I remain silent and I fear I appear cold and uncaring” or “I feel as if I have been taken for granted and I want to stand up for myself, but every time I try to confront the situation I weaken, pull back and fail to speak up.”
These entanglements may feel as if they are permanent parts of our lives or personalities, and that we must live with these limitations. But that is simply not true. They can be un-entangled. I have seen it happen constantly in Alba Method trainings, and I have personally experienced it within my own study of Alba. During an Alba training, as we practice the embodiment of each pure emotion, we learn to sense exactly when and where another emotion creeps in and tries to attach itself to the other. Through gradual repetitive practice the associated emotion becomes detached from its host, and the two become their own independent emotions again.
Learning the Alba Method of Emotion Regulation not only provides reliable tools for sensing and controlling emotions, but it also helps us free up emotions that have been held back or entangled. It is an incredibly liberating moment to experience, and to witness, when an entangled emotion is finally released from the weeds that held it back and we are liberated from a lifetime of frustration and worry over this confined aspect of our expressive capabilities.
To learn more about upcoming workshops on the Alba Method visit our Upcoming Alba Workshops page or contact Laura Bond at Laura @ breathxpress.com.