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Tearing the Fig Leaf Off Our Emotional Nudity

Updated on February 3, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of the psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

Deep Down in Our Nature Emotions Are Synonymous with Nudity
Deep Down in Our Nature Emotions Are Synonymous with Nudity

Child's Self-Criticism Equals Shame

There is a great number of folks scattered all over the globe having a hard time getting out of the prison of their limiting mindsets. As the time is doing its part, what used to be only mind-the-jailer, to some of them has turned into mind-the-tormentor.

All that just because somewhere back in childhood they were made embarrassed of their emotional nudity which had to be selectively cultivated and refined into something more socially acceptable.

Along that process some of us glued that proverbial fig leaf on our shameful emotional nakedness, not really sure anymore how much of it was appropriate to be exposed to the ever critical eyes of the world.

The Last Trace of Our Genuine Naturalness Got Run Down by the Stampede of Mechanistic Life
The Last Trace of Our Genuine Naturalness Got Run Down by the Stampede of Mechanistic Life

Long Forgotten Emotional Ease

Especially those of us with particularly sensitive and delicate emotionality took into life this need to cover our most intimate reality, oftentimes to the point of getting alienated from that warm being that we used to be.

Having lost the touch with our true selves, many of us completely forgot what it really felt like to be at ease, playful, genuinely happy and loving, flowing with the current of events without bumping into something every step of the way, often with bruises that won't heal.

Even that life-long continuum of breathing got somehow affected, becoming shallow and often stopping as if we are not sure whether it's time to inhale or to exhale, with muscle working against muscle, and diaphragm going into a chronic spasm of adulthood.

We Are Not Aware How High Our Emotional Wings Can Take Us---with Those Brakes Always in Place
We Are Not Aware How High Our Emotional Wings Can Take Us---with Those Brakes Always in Place

Control by No Control

One of the biggest paradoxes about our emotions is that - in order to control our emotions, we have to stop controlling them. Confusing, isn't it? At least until we accept as true that it's not our emotions that are hurting us - but our unconscious resistance to them. It means going against emotional flow, rowing against the river of energy in us.

Trained to go selective about acceptability of our feelings, instead of allowing them to just run their course and be replaced with something else. You see, there is a big difference between suppressing and replacing.

If I am experiencing a momentary spike of anger, I can let it be, accept it exactly as it is and where ever it is located in my body as that "felt sense" - but then in a moment or two I can replace it with a realization that the situation doesn't deserve that anger, and choose to find it possibly funny or something.

If I was to suppress it, I would instantly cut the energy flow to it, denying it, fighting it, not accepting it as a part of my humanness. In the first case I am not controlling it, in the second case I am putting my heavy foot on emotional brakes.

We Make Those "Bad" Emotions Stronger by Denying Them
We Make Those "Bad" Emotions Stronger by Denying Them

Those Bad, Bad Feelings

In the process of suppressing we don't only stop our bad emotions but good ones as well, which otherwise might replace them. It's also a wrong defense mechanism at work. At an injury we automatically tense up to increase the flow of adrenaline, which makes the pain lesser.

However, tensing up in the process of suppression only makes the "bad" emotion stronger on its way to the unconscious "reservoir", almost as if it is saying to us: "O.K. this time I am backing off, but the next time I'll come out stronger".

This not knowing how to handle those "bad" emotions is called in the popular jargon "poor stress management". At this point it could be useful to remind ourselves that our emotions are our constructs - not ourselves, and we might as well stop identifying with them. Our language is misleading us when we say: "I am sad; I am happy; I am disappointed..."etc., because it somehow mixes with our identity of those: "I am a human being; I am a man; I am a father..."etc. Again, we are not our mental constructs any more than a painter "is" his painting.

Emotions are a magical part of our being human, and their energy is decisive about our state of overall wellbeing - but they are still only something to manage, not something to "be". So, think about it the next time you say "I AM pissed off" - No, YOU are not, you are just producing those emotions.


In a Fig Tree of a Society There Are All Sizes of Leaves, Some Exposed to the Sun, Others in the Deep Shade---but All Covering Something
In a Fig Tree of a Society There Are All Sizes of Leaves, Some Exposed to the Sun, Others in the Deep Shade---but All Covering Something

A Garden Variety of Fig Leaf Users

Indeed, it's amazing what those first few years of our life can do to the rest of our life. Some of us "fig users" turn shy, withdrawn, others are scared of romantic commitments, still others become "Mr.-or-Mrs. Nice".

And yet some others are playing martyrs to their family, sacrificing all their time for the family's comfort and well being. Hey, isn't that a sort of a virtue to be respected? Sorry, but it isn't, because such folks are living someone else's life instead of their own, while deceiving themselves how "family means everything to them."

What about having fun, friends, travel, hobbies, spending weekends in a cozy ambient of home reading a book, or having a long distance chat with someone...? Indeed, all kinds of overdoing altruists, with one or the other version of a fig leaf glued to their emotionality which is so painful to face.

We Cannot Produce a Feeling That Wouldn't Be Ready in Us to Be Experienced---so Why Not a Bliss?
We Cannot Produce a Feeling That Wouldn't Be Ready in Us to Be Experienced---so Why Not a Bliss?

Bliss with Emotional Freedom

In some of my articles I shamelessly brag about my producing blissful feelings at will. That, my friends, would be impossible without a free emotional fluidity. A few times a day, for my self- healing "tune-up" I make myself flooded with those high frequency emotions of pure joy.

No "reasons" necessary, it's simply something to do, and we can do it intentionally, not waiting for something that delightful to happen in our life.

Of course, I don't feel like that all the time, I like experiencing my emotional totality, the full spectrum of it. It's only that I may lower the intensity of those "bad ones", and let them fade away to be replaced with something else. Not suppressing them, why would I, they are not scaring me.

We Have to Befriend Our Emotions Again, After That Childhood Impression That They Will Only Get Us in Trouble
We Have to Befriend Our Emotions Again, After That Childhood Impression That They Will Only Get Us in Trouble

Reclaiming Our Emotional Nudity

However, it's never too late to start ungluing piece by piece of that fig leaf off our emotional nudity. Since our psycho-physical organization always strives towards its healthy equilibrium, our allowing attitude gives the green signal to all that suppressed material to slowly start surfacing.

It's the healing time marked with a period of mixed emotions, while the old mindset hasn't left as yet, and the new one hasn't settled in as yet as a replacement. We may also experience what is known as a "healing crisis", or the body detox, with toxic emotions and their chemical equivalents leaving the body, giving us temporary symptoms of a cold or some other minor discomfort.

Don't let your dark imagination picture something like an emotional "Hoover Dam" collapsing and with you drowning in your own emotions. It doesn't get that way. By the way, our imagination is also just our function to use, not the reflection of the factual reality. So, why not use that imagination to picture an emotional renaissance instead?

For the Pure Joy of just Being

So, the day may come when our emoting will feel something like the fun of surfing on the crest of some upheavals, those small, and those big ones. The trick is to stay on the surfing board, and swiftly climb back on top of it if we happen to fall.

Getting wet is O.K., but not wallowing in water and cursing either the waves or our surfing skill. The feeling of "dropping the fig leaf" is enormously liberating and spiritual. I should know, I lost mine some decades ago, and I just hope no one picked it up.

So, here comes the end of my little metaphoric presentation of this strange phenomenon in our personal evolution of our disconnecting from our pristine emotionality, and our ever waiting opportunity to reconnect with it. May everyone some day experience the divine moment of becoming who they are.

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

      You should be a counsellor, Val, but you are a great teacher of life lessons etc. people could do a lot worse than to take your advice on board. I used to have a fit tree growing in my yard but it died. I guess that was a sign I didn't need those leaves any longer. :)

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 12 months ago from Canada

      Hey, John, old buddy! Thank you for flattering words. Just when I am about to believe that my ego is completely out of commission, there comes someone verbally generous of your kind to revamp it. Just kidding, it's my friendly heart responding to your friendly heart.

      You must be right, if your fig tree decided to part, it must have had a "fig"-urative significance, and just like you say, you didn't need its leaves any longer. LOL

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 12 months ago from Tasmania

      I am reminded of a guy who needed to buy a fig leaf for a fancy dress ball, but could not find one big enough....so he was advised to go as a petrol bowser... Not sure how this fits in with the emotional fig leaf.

      This is a great Hub, Vlad. Thank you so much. It has hit me personally, but I am also sending its link to a few of my friends.

    • junko profile image

      junko 12 months ago

      That was a long read requiring reading comprehension but, the title was well supported by the contents. I wondered where you was going, close to the end I knew of some of the kind of people you target. The pure joy of being instructions brought you to a safe landing.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 12 months ago from Canada

      Hello Alan - Happy to hear that you liked the hub, and even more because you could somehow personally relate to its theme. Well, as you may have noticed by titles of my hubs, I am trying to write on those deeply human topics where my major interests are. It's always a rewarding news to me that someone has found useful some of the thoughts I am sharing. - Be well my friend, and thank you for linking the hub to your friends. - Val

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 12 months ago from Canada

      Junko - Thanks for reading my hub and for interesting analytical comment, I appreciate your feedback.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 12 months ago from the USA

      I have noticed that I sometimes stop breathing, or even stop mid-swallow, when some random disturbing thought/emotion passes through my mind. I have been getting progressively better at my internal "self talk," by validating the feeling, and letting it go. Your hub has been very helpful to understand that I am not alone. Thanks.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 12 months ago

      This one is of those "tempting"' me to point out how closely your hub's thoughts are alluding thematic suggesting some of the biblical teachings. ((Then I restrain myself to comment due to a practical cause)

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 12 months ago from Canada

      Michael, I won't be offended if you disagree with my views. I know how devoted believer you are, and my views touching religion are not in agreement with yours. So, go ahead, and don't restrain yourself from expressing your different views. I will respect them as yours. - All the best, my friend. - Val

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 11 months ago from Tasmania

      Rjbatty, you are entitled to your opinion...but is it any more authorative than that of Vlad? In your profile it gives the impression you are more than a little skepticle of many things.

      Are you able to encourage any person who is feeling low? Someone who is not looking for treatment, just constructive support.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      Rjbatty - As I am trying to find a fair and respectful answer to your unfair and disrespectful comment, I am wondering what you are really trying to achieve with that kind of mockery, other than embarrassing yourself in front of all my objectively-minded readers.

      I understand that you have suffered from depression for some 11 years, and you must be terribly frustrated over the impotence of science to help you. From your "tone" of writing I gather that in that process you also turned some of that hate inwards, blaming yourself for not responding to any treatment available - exteriorizing some of it by projecting it on me and my hub.

      I don't know how much your cognitive abilities have been affected by your depression, but let me try to remind you that this is only a hub, with a sole purpose to be inspirational and supportive to folks who are down. That's what I like writing about. Any of your many therapists so far could have told you that thinking positive and constructive thoughts has a positive impact on depression.

      Whether it's also a "cure", it's just as individual as any of those modalities that you mention in your lengthy inventory of the failure of science. People have been cured by a talk with a bartender or a friend, in a sudden realization that caused that inner shift.

      However, I would really like to know how it helps you to mock me? Does it bother you that I am a happy dude, and that other readers respond positively to my hubs? Would you rather see me miserable, and your mockery as a way to induce that misery? Can you just respect a little article as an attempt to make some folks realize the enormous potential behind positivism?

      Your words don't offend me one bit because I see where you are coming from - with all due compassion - and if you go for something really insulting, I will simply delete it. I am not an enemy, I haven't done anything to you, and if you don't like my hub, why don't you just do what people normally do - ignore it as a nonsense? What is that in you that needs advising me to write about spaghetti instead of these topics?

      Be logical a little if you can. If your knowledge about human nature was superior to mine, then you would not be depressed, you would know all that stuff that I don't know. As it is, some of my readers are constantly thanking me for sharing my thoughts with them. Are your readers thanking you for being negative and insulting and suspicious of everything? Have you ever seen a statue anywhere in the world erected in honor of a cynic, skeptic, critic? It looks like everybody sees it as a cheap stuff that's not contributing to anything of some value.

      When you first started responding to my hubs I thought there was a wish for a discussion. Now I see it only as a burning need to discharge some of that accumulated bitterness and project it on me. Well, my friend, I don't accept serving as a trash can for anyone's emotional garbage - so be so kind and just stop responding to my hubs. HUGE chances are that you will be deleted without being read out. All the best - Val

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      Alan, my good friend - I appreciate your supportive/defending comment to Rjbatty. I hope he gets the message the right way, because no one is really against him. I left the Q&A because of this style of comments exchange, and will NOT continue here.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      Carolyn - Yes, our bodies are extremely responsive to our states of mind - in ways that we can notice, and those that we can't, which are much more numerous. It's great that you are into improving your self-talk, since much of our troubles stem from the unconscious negative stuff that we have been telling ourselves for years.

      Thank you for the nice and praising comment. - Val

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      RjBatty - The Ancient Roman orator Cicero once advised his disciples: "When you run out of healthy arguments - insult your opponent". In one of your recent comments, which I deleted, you said, (among other things that somehow to you sounded like "only disagreement with my ideas"):

      "Where you born yesterday?"

      Well, I was born 71 1/2 years ago, not "yesterday", and with my limited powers of interpreting human intentions I failed to see in what context of your "disagreement with my ideas" it seemed appropriate that I became some "born yesterday punk" who is writing some unacceptable crap.

      I recently got a praising comment from a bona fide psychologist, and before that from a medical doctor, and before that from a biology professor. And there is a whole bunch of other respected and educated readers who are saying pretty nice things about my interpretations of human nature.

      Now, could you give me one single reason why I should care about YOUR opinion? What makes YOU competent to talk about this stuff? And more than anything, what kind of intelligent person - who wants to be taken seriously - resorts to offending remarks to make himself more convincing or something? I am not your beer drinking buddy, we don't know each other, and a basic manners would be the normal way of addressing someone 71 years old who didn't do anything to you.

      I don't really care whether it's maybe your customary style of talking to people. I don't care if your mind style leans towards rebellion of a sort, or whatever you choose to call it.

      I just don't see myself as your sarcasm material, and to me expressions like that will ALWAYS be emotional garbage, no matter in what kind on shiny paper you want to wrap it. And before I leave this theme, try to remember that not all forms of expression fit under the umbrella of the saying : "We are all different".

      As for the subject of my hub, O.K., now we have established that you don't agree with my ideas. It's perfectly fine with me. I acknowledge it for a fact. Is that a signal to me that I should defend them? Why? You seem to insist that depression, precisely YOUR depression is not psychogene but chemogene, with some kind of possible brain imbalance.

      I won't argue that, and I am not particularly interested if you were "born yesterday" to believe in such a diagnosis.

      According to your own mention, depressions can have MANY different causes, and I am perfectly aware of that. My hubs, or some of them are addressing those psychogene ones, caused by prolonged stress, lack of self-love, dragging childhood traumas into adulthood, negative attitude, preoccupation with things over which we have no control, etc.

      I did not write that I had a "universal cure for depression", and I can't see why you are finding it so hard to notice. I hope you did notice at least that much that I never claimed to be a psychologist, psychiatrist, healer, guru, or a famous inspirational speaker.

      Because you are trying so hard to put down my "competence" to write about depression, like my hub is not in accordance with some imaginary credentials of mine. You took the trouble of analyzing paragraph by paragraph my last comment. I am still standing pretty much by every word I said. Not because I am a stubborn old man, but because nothing that you said really convinces me that you didn't mean any of that. You did, and I still think that you are getting some kind of emotional payoff out of degrading me and my hub. How I know? Because I was not really born yesterday.

    • JJ McHale profile image

      Jarrod McHale 11 months ago from The Big Apple, U.S.A.

      My good man Mr. Karas, I've had some fascinating experiences while moving through this writer's community to familiarize myself with my new neighbors and atmosphere.

      I must admit this thread of comments is most perplexing. If I might be so presumptuous as to insert my perception, it will serve as beneficial exercise for me.

      Remembering back a couple of decades, I can't help but recall the healthy attitude of one of my college Psyche Professors, Mr. O'Dell. This gentleman it turned out may have been an educator worth his weight in gold.

      One lecture in particular was one that his students, I am certain have carried with them to this day. This student surely has.

      "A wise man knows when the effort & efficiency of his words are not worth his precious time."

      What is clearly evident here, when cut to the chase, is the struggle & scurry of a person clawing his way out from a deep mud hole into which he intentionally leapt.

      A passive/aggressive insult is an insult, as is a rose is a rose is a rose.

      While 98% of adult readers could easily grasp your benevolent message and it's apparent meaning for precisely what it is, we're always expecting that 2%. That 2% that takes issue for whatever reason in their world. The 2% that must present the obscure view while degrading and berating yours. So be it, I say.

      I understand we have the option to make use of a method to delete a comment (or 2 or 3!) if we so choose.

      In an effort to go forward without unnecessary obstacles of negativity, I would encourage you to make use of that delete option. Perhaps then, you may continue to reap valid, intellectual exchange. (Just my contribution for your consideration, kind sir.):)

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      J.J. McHale - I deeply appreciate your kind advice which I am gladly taking. Somehow I got carried away in this line of futile correspondence. I also want to thank you for your kind mention of a certain intellectual value of the messages I am trying to convey to my readers. Have a great weekend, sir. - Val

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 11 months ago from Tasmania

      For sure the posts were getting a little "stretched in anger," but only in the sense you had allowed that fig leaf to slip, Vlad.

      Better zip up and allow the heat to subside.

      And the exposure is preferable to burying all that emotion under the carpet.

      IMHO.....

    • ValKaras profile image
      Author

      Vladimir Karas 11 months ago from Canada

      Hey, Alan, good to see you again. You see, I am a little strange dude, in a sense that I can say many things sounding like anger while not removing my Mona Lisa smile off my face and my soul - just being assertive. Half a century ago when I was an army drill sergeant I certainly sounded "angry", but my soul was purring like a lazy cat. I let people know when they are not tactful, and I go straight like an arrow - but not angry. "Anger" is self-defeating.

      We could almost say I had some fun, but then again, I got carried away, just like in my overly long participation at Question & Answers, which I finally and permanently quit a few weeks ago. It used to be like a "verbal sport" before it lost all of its fun producing quality. Have a great weekend, my friend. - Val

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 11 months ago from Tasmania

      Ok, can I just draw you out on the matter? Just a little charity-clarity?

      "Anger suppressed and denied is Self-defeating." Could that be one version of a fig leaf?

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 11 months ago from Oklahoma

      Such a thought provoking read!

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 6 months ago from Canada

      Alan - Sorry for this late response, sometimes comments are not among notifications, and I was not aware of this one until now when I am editing this hub a little.

      It's an interesting comment, my friend. A Latin proverb that I am sometimes citing says:" Si duo faciunt idem - non est idem"(If two do the same -is not the same). Likewise, dismissing anger as a part of emotional self-discipline is not the same as suppressing anger - although they may technically seem to be the same mental act.

      Think of a martial artist who dismisses an emotional reaction of a weakness, because it doesn't belong to the mainstream of his mind style. You might see it as an act of suppression.

      By the same token, a persistent student of violin may practice for hours dismissing the temptation of quitting. Is that suppression? In our daily life we resist many temptations, with nutrition and with morality, and in other areas - without "suppressing "emotions. Real suppressing is the result of the fear from that emotion, while choosing something "right", many "wrongs" have to fall off, without being suppressed. Otherwise we would be "suppressing driving on the wrong side of the road". Does all this make sense to you? Maybe this explanation could be also applied to my "coming strong" in my above responses to those comments.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 6 months ago from Tasmania

      Greetings Vlad, it's a glorious sunny morning here, zero wind, blue sky, rooster crowing, after a few days of cold, wet, windy weather .. a bit like the emotional roller coasters we sometimes "must go through" in order to experience Joy.

      Thanks for your reply.

    • ValKaras profile image
      Author

      Vladimir Karas 6 months ago from Canada

      Hello again, Alan - Let me borrow your symbolism with weather. I was born and raised into 4 distinct seasons, and also emigrated into a climate with 4 seasons.

      Well, my impatient heart couldn't wait for the sunshine to come, so I learned to love rain and snow and wind and fog and freezing rain. Each one has its joys.

      Ever took a shower and exchanged hot and cold water? When I practiced yoga, I used to pick up some snow from the ledge of the bathroom window and rub my whole body with it. Incredibly revitalizing, something that you could never achieve with a hot shower.

      And yet, you don't see me going for my holidays to cold Alaska, but to Hawaii, California, and Mexico. As you described that glorious morning in Tasmania, I got envious, while winter is slowly coming to Canada.

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