Chapter Nine


last updated 3.30.21

In order to benefit from the use of both our faculties, heart and mind, it's crucial to understand the concept of emotional availability. Though I never gave the term much thought, my vague understanding of "emotional availability" was that it referred to someone who was kind and compassionate towards others, who was maybe even a little too touchy-feely for my taste. However, an emotionally un-available person can be kind and compassionate, too. In fact, someone could be the most thoughtful and helpful person in the world, yet still completely emotionally unavailable. I had to realize that the term has nothing to do with how we treat others. Being emotionally available doesn't refer to how a person treats someone else's feelings. It refers to how a person treats their own.

As I began to navigate through life with my new compass, I realized that feelings, like the one that tells a person when they're forgetting their keys, are technically in the realm of feelings. They just don't reside in the area of the most common types of emotion like happy, sad, fearful and mad. Like it's already been stated, a blind person whose hearing becomes much more powerful than someone who has sight, the same is true when we rely on one ability more than another, the stronger and more accurate it becomes. For strong, independent people, the topic of "feelings" needs to be dis-associated from being weak. I grew up a hockey player and for my adult life I've been a commercial fisherman, farmer, truck driver, mechanic and construction worker. Feelings aren't really something that gets talked about on the jobsite, but without them what's the point of life? What's the point of happiness? Happiness is a feeling. This part of our lives needs to be understood better if we're going to be of any true use to anyone especially those we care about. Otherwise, they are destined to repeat the same mistakes we've made and experience the same pain we've felt. It all starts with one fact. A person can't care about someone else's feelings if they're not willing to acknowledge their own. If a person is emotionally unavailable there can be no clear path of communication, i.e. exchange of energy, between them and someone else regarding anything deeper than asking directions to the library. To make use of this term and tool, we need to distinguish between feelings emotions and we will identify this difference later, but for now, it is important to realize that they, both, exist in an area of life that is widely neglected in our culture especially for strong, independent people, male or female, at least on the outside. Ironically, strong independent people often have the strongest feelings of all.

Emotional availability is a person's ability to acknowledge their own feelings in order to see how these feelings affect their behavior. In regards to how a person interacts with other people, emotional availability has a lot to do with vulnerability which is really just another form of being honest. When we acknowledge our feelings, we are just being honest about an experience we've had, or are having. Not knowing how to be this honest is like trying to read a map without knowing where you are on it. This type of honesty makes many people feel too vulnerable because they've been so used to covering up the areas of their life that make them uncomfortable. In fact, many of us are taught to do this at an early age. Admitting how we feel, first, to ourselves and, then, to others is a practice in being honest. Honesty is a person's most direct link to the truth. The people we are in relationships with, romantic or otherwise, often need our help, but they, also, need the opportunity to help us, as well, which they cannot do if they don't know how we feel, or if we don't even know. It's, unfortunately, easier for a strong person to rely on their strength in order to avoid the scary task of acknowledging their feelings, but this is actually taking the easy way out.

While on this subject, it is important to make the distinction between being sensitive and being insecure because the two concepts are often misunderstood, thus causing many strong, independent people to avoid both labels altogether. Being sensitive refers to a person's ability to sense things. A good hunter uses his or her instincts, i.e. feelings, to track their prey. In the context of emotions, sensitivity is the ability to sense feelings, both emotional and non-emotional, to track them to their source. This is a powerful ability. Being insecure refers to a person's tendency to be overly sensitive to their own feelings while oblivious to the feelings of others. This is a big difference. The ability to sense feelings is a trait a person is born with which gives them an advantage in certain situations though it can certainly be improved on like the child who someday becomes an amazing drummer. It's not a label that gives a person permission to demand special treatment from others. It's a gift, not a handicap, and insecure people need to stop claiming that their sensitive claiming the term for themselves and using it incorrectly.

Acknowledging how we feel is not always easy for a strong, independent person. Being vulnerable takes courage because we're giving someone else the power to help us and this just might be the scariest thing in the world for someone who's never relied on anyone else, been hurt or believes their job is to help others not receive it for themselves. However, often times, the people who choose to rely on their strength more than they choose to be honest do so because they've been hurt and this is often how the behavior started. It's, also, important to realize that admitting one's feelings is not always a request for help. Sometimes the admission itself is all that is necessary. People don't always need to be saved or fixed. By being honest, it allows a person to locate themselves on the map so that they can find their way which is much more effective in the presence of another person. The truth is a powerful thing and, often times, people just need to be honestly heard and nothing more. Being honest allows light to shine on the truth about ourselves. The power in the truth will do the rest. But, being heard requires knowing how to communicate and knowing how to communicate requires knowing how to be honest, i.e. emotional available. This is the whole purpose of the ability. A plant that covers up its leaves cannot receive sunlight. Energy needs a source and a destination, but, also, a path and it can't be given nor received effectively if we're not being honest. We only need to trust in being honest because it leads us to the truth, the infinite source of energy.

Once a person experiences the positive effects of being truly honest with themselves by acknowledging how they feel, they will experience a new kind of energy. Mastering the ability to be emotionally available is the single, most beneficial asset to possess in reading one's inner compass. A navigational compass operates by pointing true north as a result of its relationship with the energy of the Earth's polarity. A person's inner compass, their heart, operates according to their relationship with this same source of energy pointing them in the direction of the truth. When we neglect the practice of keeping our tables clear, they become buried under a pile of issues and being honest if it's even possible, at this point, may feel like giving up too much control which would risk the chance that the pile might topple over. Many people don't see the point in trying to re-learn how to be honest because it's got nothing to do with making money. In fact, it's often easier to make money by not being honest. Unfortunately, being honest has everything to do with being happy, not to mention helping others be happy, but who needs happiness when you're rich? Those who never try to be honest will continue to focus on controlling the world around them because they have no idea of how to make sense of the world within them. We cannot control how we feel. How we feel is a form of the truth, but we can control how we handle these feelings and behave. We can't control the world. We can only control ourselves. However, in the mind-made world, life and success is all about control, but if we recognize that the natural world which this artificial one is built on top of is already controled by something greater than ourselves, we will begin to have a better and more sustainable understanding of our relationship with it especially since it's already been doing what it's supposed to do for millions of years, including creating us.

Once a person learns how to be emotionally available while keeping their table clear, they become a vessel of positive energy and are in for the ride of their life