I have a very old file cabinet that I bought at a garage sale for $1. As you can tell, it is not a decorator’s dream.
I didn’t care what it looked like, though. I just needed a place to file papers. It now contains copies of our tax returns from many years back, warranties to appliances (some of which we don’t even own anymore), and all kinds of paperwork that we may need some day. There are things I don’t use on a daily basis. I file them so that I don’t have to carry them around all the time.
The way things are filed in that cabinet really matters. It’s not enough to just put papers inside. They need to be filed in a way that makes them useable. I don’t want to have to spend hours and hours looking through every paper to find the one paper that I need. It’s important to choose a filing system that makes sense and is easy to understand.
Let’s liken that to our emotions. We all have emotions. Emotions give our lives meaning. We remember happy times at Christmas. We remember the funeral of a grandmother or grandfather with a touch of sadness -- but also with the feeling of connection, and a recognition of their importance in our lives. We don’t want to eliminate emotions from our lives, for if we did, we would eliminate our sense of “soul” connection.
At the same time, though, it is impractical to walk around with all of our emotions constantly within us. We’d explode -- and we can’t deal with sadness and despair and joy and love and anguish all at the same time………..!
Emotions serve a purpose. They help us define and interpret our experiences in terms of what they mean to us. We make decisions based off of the emotional meanings we give to things.
We want to be able to access our emotions, but we also want to be able to choose appropriate times to access the emotion that is useful at the moment. We need an emotional filing cabinet.
Learning to understand what emotions are, why they are important, and what they do for us, gives us the tools to develop our own emotional file cabinet. That will give us a sense of peace and security because we then have emotional power -- ready to go as needed!