Awesome Ruhi’s Burning Question: “Though I have been a regular reader of your posts, the one thing that keeps me bugging is how am I going to play around with my emotions if what I’ve been feeling is emotional numbness for quite a long time now… This numbness is because of a few things that happened in my life in the past which hurt me. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but things happened that made me really upset and disappointed. Please, please, please tell me how to tackle this, as we all know LOA is all about emotional scales and feeling good. But what if I don’t have feelings about anything at all? :(”
Dear Awesome Ruhi,
Thanks for your excellent question. The last time I wrote about the absence of emotions, I introduced the Void, which is the state you reside in after making a large shift. When we go from pain to the absence of pain, it can temporarily feel like nothing at all. This can often cause people to freak out and wonder if they’ve done something wrong, while all they really need to do is to chill and relax and allow the more subtle sensations they now have access to, to appear.
The emotional numbness you speak of, however, is something completely different. In this case, we’re talking about repressed anger, which is almost always the cause of a complete emotional shutdown. This, one could say, is an extreme form of denial.
Emotional numbness usually occurs when something happened to an individual that was or was perceived to be incredibly traumatic and/or painful and made them feel completely powerless. Mind you, this type of “trauma” may not necessarily seem all that horrific in retrospect. All that matters is that it was disempowering at the time. Being yelled at as a child may not feel like such a big deal today, but back then, in the moment, such an event could’ve caused you to create a powerless belief.
The anatomy of powerlessness
Powerlessness occurs when something unwanted is happening to you and you believe that there’s nothing you can do about it. Notice that I didn’t say that there is actually nothing you can do about it, but that you believe that there’s nothing you can do about it. This is an important difference.
You see, if you believe that you’re trapped, you are. If you believe that you must suffer, you do. Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking: “What if someone is actually in a trap, or being tortured? Wouldn’t that truly make them powerless?”
This is one of them questions that can get a Law of Attraction teacher into trouble, right quick. But, fearless LOA Goddess that I am, I shall answer it anyway.
The answer is no.
Before you all bust down my door with chocolate, champagne and hot men (pitchforks and torches are so 2013), let me explain:
Why you’re not powerless
You are an all-powerful being. That’s Who You Really Are. You’re projecting part of your consciousness (because ALL of it would be too big) into this physical body, like the coolest, most awesomest virtual reality video game of all time. Now, within that game, you may create circumstances that seem like you have no choice, no options, no power; and in that very moment, your video game character may not have the ability to change the action. They do, however, always have the choice in how to react to each circumstance, which will change their frequency to something other than the one that created the current circumstances and determine the experiences and events that follow. In other words, even if you’re in the most horrific of environments, you ALWAYS have the ability to choose how to react to what is happening to you, and therefore influence what you manifest next.
For example, you may find yourself at the DMV. On a Friday afternoon. With no A/C. The waiting room is filled with crying babies. Who are zombies. And the vending machines are fresh out of brains.
A. Get into the fetal position and cry, hoping they’ll just gum your $200 haircut for a bit and move on?
B. Paint your face like Braveheart, grab your machete and try to whittle a path to the door, while screaming that the babies will NEVAH TAKE YOUR FREEDOM!?
C. Give up all hope and join the DMV?
D. Grab a shotgun and ask your buddy to fling a zombie baby into the air every time you yell “Pull!”, because even though you’re not really into guns, you figure the babies would want you to make this exception, so really it’s for the children?
If you answered:
A. Way to surrender to the situation and let go! Only, you’re doing it wrong. You’re an optimistic fatalist. You hope that everything will go ok, but you’re pretty sure it won’t be. Also, you have a tendency to cater to crybabies. Learn to set boundaries.
B. You fighter you! You have a healthy relationship with anger and a willingness to stand up for yourself. You may also have an unhealthy relationship with machetes. Please see someone about that.
C. You’re clearly a masochist. Why suffer when you can REALLY suffer, eh? I mean, getting slowly gummed to death would suck. But working at the DMV? You’re seriously messed up, man (says the woman making a rather important point using zombie babies.)
D. You make the best of every situation! Your enthusiasm and creativity know no bounds. When the zombie apocalypse hits, I want you on my team. Bring your crazy machete wielding friend, too.
Seriously though, there are going to be times when you cannot make any changes in your immediate environment using action. The path has been laid, the moment has gathered, and you just kind of have to ride it out. You can, however, use your mind to choose the thoughts you’re thinking, even while the shit is hitting the proverbial fan, in order to positively influence the reality you’re shifting into next. This will, over time and as you have the ability to believe it, actually change your physical surroundings.
If you want a real life, non-funny example of the power to choose your reaction, I suggest you read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor who wrote and lectured widely on the power of the human spirit, including our power to create change from within.)
If you’ve ever lost your keys and been frantically looking for them, only to finally relax and immediately find them, you’ll have experienced this phenomenon. As soon as you gave up the action and shifted into a reality where you felt good and calm, the keys reappeared. They had to. Because the missing keys didn’t match your new feeling of “nothing is missing, I have everything I need”. Change the feeling and the physical reality, no matter what it is, will change.
To summarize: You are not powerless. Not ever. Even when it seems like you are.
Ok, so now that I’ve explained this important concept, let’s get back to your question. When we have a belief that makes us feel powerless, we very naturally get pulled towards anger. I’ve written quite a bit about anger, so let me just summarize by saying it’s the emotion that pulls us out of powerlessness and into empowerment. It’s an incredibly healing emotion, but also the most widely misunderstood. Because of this, most people will suppress anger when it comes up. They won’t allow themselves to feel it, much less express it.
If you have a strong belief of powerlessness, meaning, there’s a great deal of momentum pulling you towards anger, and you have another belief that anger is bad and must be shut down, the discord between the two beliefs can cause a type of stalemate. The anger wants to come out (your vibration wants to raise, you want to feel better), but you won’t let it, so it either has to build and build and build until it finally explodes out of you (this is when people just “snap”), or you have to detach yourself from your emotions altogether, essentially shutting down the feedback mechanism. This second scenario would then be called “emotional numbness”. This is the equivalent of asking the mailman to throw out your mail rather than you having to read the overdue bill notifications. The problem doesn’t go away and the notifications don’t stop coming; you’re just choosing not to receive them anymore. This will not go well for long (ok, actually, it can last for years if you’re really stubborn, but you will eventually break down).
How to get your feelings back
Ok, so you’re probably thinking that my advice in this situation is to get angry, right? Yes. But…
The problem with large amounts of suppressed anger is that it’s actually there for a reason. You see, in order to effectively shut down your anger response, your belief that anger is bad needs a bit of help from another belief that facing the original powerless issue would lead to even more pain and suffering than the anger release would. For better or worse, this emotional shutdown is a defensive mechanism, a protective technique. You can’t just go poking at it with a large stick and hope for the best.
In other words, if you or someone you love is currently in an emotionally numb state, I would strongly advise you NOT to try and induce an anger release. Literally, do not go poking them with a stick. Don’t run to the punching bag. Don’t try and remember all the anger producing crap that’s ever happened to you. It’s not that you don’t want to release the anger, it’s that you want to do it at a pace that you’re actually ready for and which won’t result in massive panic attacks.
What pace is that, you may ask? Fortunately for you, your inner being knows exactly how quickly you can shift without suffering more than you believe that you must. And you can use this inner being to help you orchestrate your healing. Here’s how:
- Meditate. Yes, meditate. I know. But it’s a cliché for a reason. It freaking works. As you meditate, you start to gently raise your vibration. It doesn’t matter if you can feel your energy raising or not (this is subtle and if you’re numb you may feel nothing at this stage), just go with it. And keep it up for a while (I’d say start with 90 days. No, this is not a quick fix).
- At some point, you’re going to have the urge to get angry. It may be a small urge at first, barely noticeable, but it will come up. When that happens, do not suppress the anger. Go with it, instead. Get angry. This is the time to punch something, rant and rave or do whatever else helps you get your anger out.
- Rinse and repeat.
The point is to raise your vibration using a method that’s pretty much guaranteed to work for most people (something that most believe will work), so that even if you can’t feel it working, it will be. You can use any other method that you believe works, such as listening to high vibrational audios, spending time with high vibe people, or playing with your dog. A lot.
This raising of your vibration will naturally bring the anger that you have the ability to release to the surface. All you have to do then is to allow yourself to feel the anger so it can flow through and out of you. Your anger may come out in several small releases, one big one, or a combination of the two. Everyone is different. But you should begin to feel emotions again soon after your first release (or first couple, if they’re really small). This will be subtle at first, so don’t expect to erupt in a sea of feelings the next day. Just let them come back bit by bit. You may need a little while to get reacquainted with your emotional guidance system, so take your time.
In my experience, when most people say “I don’t feel anything”, what they really mean is “I don’t know what I’m feeling”, or “I don’t like what I’m feeling so I’m choosing to ignore it.” This is straight up denial. But some people have been shutting down their feelings for so long that they’ve actually gone numb. I’ve had the privilege of working with several emotionally numb clients so far, and in each case we were able to make HUGE strides once the anger was, at least in part, released. What I mean by that is that once this massive, stored up energy was finally given the chance to flow, it brought with it a ton of clarity, positive emotion and manifestations. So, while I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same experience Awesome Ruhi, I’d say that you have something to look forward to.