Chapter Nine

EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY

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 concept much thought, my vague understanding of "emotional availability" was that it referred to someone who was kind and compassionate to 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 unavailable emotionally. I had to realize that the term has nothing to do with how we treat others. Being emotionally available doesn't refer to how sensitive a person is to the feelings of others. It refers to how sensitive a person is to their own.

As I began to navigate through life with my new compass, I realized that feelings, like the one that tells a person that they're forgetting their keys, are in the realm of emotion. They just don't reside in the area of the most common types of emotion like happy, sad, fearful and mad. Like a blind person whose hearing becomes much more powerful than someone's who has sight, the more we rely on a faculty, 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 all of 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 in this world, 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. While feelings and emotions differ from each other and we will identify this difference later, for now, they, both, exist in an area of life that is widely neglected in our culture especially for strong, independent people, male or female.

Emotional availability is a person's ability to acknowledge their own feelings in order to see how they 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 very 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 practice at being honest. Honesty is a person 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.

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 alltogether. 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 emotinal and non-emotional. 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. It's not a label to demand special treatment for. It's a gift, not a handicap, and insecure people need to stop claiming it for themselves and using the term 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 how the pattern is continued. 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. The truth is a powerful thing and, often times, people just need to be honestly heard and nothing more. 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 with oneself. i.e. emotional available. This is the whole purpose of the ability. A plant that covers up its leaves cannot recieve sunlight. Energy needs a source and a destination. 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 true to 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 assest to possess in reading one's inner compass. A navigational compass operates according to its relationship with the energy from the Earth's polarity. A person's inner compass, their heart, operates according to their relationship with the energy from a source greater than themselves. 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. 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 to 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 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 artifical one is built ontop of is beyond our control, we will begin to have a better, and more sustainable, understanding of our relationship with it.

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



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