How to Process Emotions for a Happy, Healthy, Long and Vibrant Life
A mind-body-spirit holistic approach with Dr. Valencia Ray, MD
Dr. Valencia Ray, MD
In this Episode
Dealing with unpleasant emotions can be painful, and it’s not something many people like or even know how to do. However, it’s impossible to talk about health, wellness, and longevity without considering our emotional health.
The common habit of trying to ignore or turn off our emotions does seem to come with a big price and has been shown to affect every aspect of our lives.
Our guest in this episode is Dr. Valencia Ray, MD, a functional, anti-aging physician and an expert in mind-body-spirit medicine. As we discuss, accepting and processing our full range of emotions and feelings not only helps us better cope with adversity but also promotes the long, healthy, happy, and vibrant life we all deserve.
Also in this episode:
- Dr. Patti Shelton, MD, LongevIQ medical communications officer
- Amir Ginsberg, LongevIQ founder.
I like to just think of emotion as a part of being human. I feel, for my long journey and extensive experience with them, that, unfortunately, for the most part, we see them as an adversary, and we are not comfortable with them. We run to the comfort zone that we’ve been conditioned into, which is the mind. And therefore, we’re missing half of ourselves, so to speak. We have thinking faculties, but then we have emotions as well.
- (0:00:00) Podcast and episode intro, medical disclaimer
- (0:02:06) Emotions as a part of human life
- (0:04:31) Why do people repress or suppress their emotions?
- (0:07:52) Do people also repress positive emotions?
- (0:10:47) Becoming aware of repressed emotions
- (0:14:57) Practical spirituality: making friends with your feelings
- (0:22:34) Examples of body sensations of emotions
- (0:24:35) The connection between repressed emotions and bad habits
- (0:27:34) Moving beyond survival and fear
- (0:28:57) What judging others means about yourself
- (0:30:50) The role of emotions on stress
- (0:34:24) Breaking down limiting emotional patterns
- (0:38:17) Spiritual practice and emotional health
- (0:39:23) How our perceptions about fear affect our reality
- (0:40:42) The power of acceptance, forgiveness and self-love
- (0:44:25) How to start process emotions – final thoughts
Related articles, podcast notes & links
- Contact Dr. Ray’s: Website
- Mind-body-spirit & longevity. In this article, Dr. Ray shared how paying attention to some commonly overlooked aspects of health and wellness can be the key to unlocking greater vitality and longevity. see: You are More Than Just a Body
- 5 Mind Body Spirit Pillars of Women’s Wellness, LongevIQ Podcast. In this episode, Dr. Ray discusses certain aspects of health and aging in women that are not always the first to come to mind. However, these are essential pillars of a long, healthy, and happy life that we should all consider. Couples may find it helpful to listen to this episode together as it can help increase awareness and better understand and relate to each other. Listen to podcast.
This podcast episode was edited to improve readability.
Podcast and episode intro, medical disclaimer[00:00:00] Dr. Patti: This is Dr. Patti Shelton, and you are listening to the LongevIQ Podcast. We discuss anti-aging and longevity science and how to benefit from it so we can all live long, healthy, happy lives. Just before we get started, a quick medical disclaimer. This podcast is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or to provide or replace medical advice.
Please use this information to educate yourself as much as possible and share this information with a qualified health practitioner that you trust.
Dealing with unpleasant emotions can be painful, and it’s not something many people like or even know how to do. However, it’s impossible to talk about health, wellness, and longevity without considering our emotional health.
The common habit of trying to ignore or turn off our emotions does seem to come with a big price and has been shown to affect every aspect of our lives. Our guest in this episode is Dr. Valencia Ray, MD, a functional, anti-aging physician and an expert in mind-body-spirit medicine. As we discuss, accepting and processing our full range of emotions and feelings not only helps us better cope with adversity but also promotes the long, healthy, happy, and vibrant life we all deserve.
Also joining us today, as always, is Amir Ginsberg, the founder of LongevIQ. Welcome, Dr. Ray. Thank you so much for being here with us today.[00:01:33] Dr. Ray: It’s my pleasure. I’ve been looking forward to the conversation. [00:01:35] Dr. Patti: We’re really excited to dive into this topic because it’s one that not a lot of people are necessarily talking about out there, although it’s getting a little bit more attention than it used to, and that’s repressed emotions. Maybe talk a little bit about how our emotions affect our physiology. Like how do our emotions affect our bodies?
Emotions as a part of human life[00:01:55] Dr. Ray: Okay. Emotions can be what we would consider wonderful, joyful, uplifting, and health-elevating, or toxic and debilitating on a very scary route. Emotions are just a part of being human. I feel, for my long journey and extensive experience with them, that, unfortunately, for the most part, we see them as an adversary, and we are not comfortable with them. We run to the comfort zone that we’ve been conditioned into, which is the mind. And therefore, we’re missing half of ourselves, so to speak. We have thinking faculties, but then we have emotions as well.
So I like to just think of emotion as a part of being human. They are a part that many of us are going to have to get acquainted with in a way that is more productive and is more inspiring for our lives instead of causing us so much angst or numbness, numbing out, trying to avoid feeling them.
For example, anger causes inflammation in the body. You can say he was inflamed with anger. Have you heard that? Because it’s stirring up inflammation. You’ll have arthritis, more likely, stomach problems, heart problems, migraines, and all kinds of things.
But from a neuroscience standpoint, emotion can cycle through in 90 seconds. You can see ducks fighting. They flap their wings. Shake it off, and they just go back, smoothing down the lane. Because they shook off that surge of this energy, which was there for a purpose. It’s not making it wrong. Anger can be good. Sometimes it can save your life. Anger can be good. Sometimes it motivates you to fight things that are unfair and unjust.
So yeah, emotion, you can go in a lot of different directions, but I will say for sure that it affects everything, your health, your wealth, and your relationships, which are usually the top three things for people. How it does this has a lot to do with perception and how it colors your life. But then, thought is a part of this too. So they work together as a team.
However, we need to take back that steering wheel of our mind in order to really learn how to flow. The element of water is associated with emotion, and you can think of it as energy in motion. And if we are in that driver’s seat and we’re self-aware, and we have a sense of skill over that self-sufficiency and ability to self-regulate, then we can live much happier and healthier longer lives. Yeah. It’s not just about living a long time; it’s about living Well.
Why do people repress or suppress their emotions?[00:04:25] Dr. Patti: Absolutely. Such a good message. You alluded to numbing out or escaping emotions. Why do people repress or suppress their emotions? [00:04:34] Dr. Ray: So emotion, you know, you can go into the historical realm and say, well, we are living in a time of danger and survival.
And people often go there to the beginning of time somewhere. Then emotions could get you potentially in trouble if they were loving and you’re being attacked, and your tribe is being burnt to the ground. Therefore you need to lock down those emotions and just be this warrior.
Contextually, yes, there’s a time and season for everything under the sun. So I’m not saying that with our emotions, let them rip and fly. That’s not wise; that’s not self-regulating. We don’t do anything else out of control like that.
So it’s really something that we are programming ourselves, consciously or not. We are programming or being programmed over time. You can grow up in an environment where emotions are respected and honored, and sadness is not made to be like something horrible. That’s a part of life. Grief is a part of life. It’s hard to really have the whole spectrum of emotions and tap into joy when you’re busy trying to numb out and not feel certain ones. All of them get crushed under there.
And then, the dominant theme of the culture can take over, which in ours is fear. Okay. No doubt about it. Okay. It’s sort of like, be afraid of this, worry about that, and not realizing that’s very harmful, et cetera.
So let’s go back to childhood. Two things come to mind. One is the boogeyman under the bed. We aren’t even taught, as children for the most part, to just kind of bring in even some conversation about that or not be shamed about that. And so we learn very quickly if we don’t want to feel rejected or shamed, et cetera, we tend to stuff it and not deal with it. It goes underground to the subconscious. Now we’re walking around afraid of something that doesn’t even exist under the bed in the first place, or in the closet, or in the attic in the first place, but we haven’t been guided to address the feelings and be made to see them as natural or how to deal with it, or how to change your story or mind or whatever.
And then, as we all know, boys and girls can be shamed just for crying. You be cry baby. A thought often can begin the process by you telling yourself something’s wrong with you, or mommy doesn’t love me, or whatever, and this feeling comes in. They dance together. And then some people might be more introspective and feel feelings that don’t feel like yummy, great, happy, and joyful. They feel it, and then they create the story about it. It is a dance between two. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? It can depend, and it can depend on where you are in the journey of this particular storyline.
But when we don’t have the skills. You know, we have skills for everything, but how to deal with our emotions. We are just taught to shame them, run away from them, stuff them, drug them, and sex them out. Just the one feel – just numbness. Then, of course, we don’t have any skills, but it starts early.
When they’re born, children don’t usually have any qualms about screaming, yelling, and doing all kinds of things. Just you know, a bundle of emotion.
Some of it might be conditioning, personality or tendency or, you know, our genes are affected epigenetically through our family systems, things like that.
Do people also repress positive emotions?[00:07:50] Dr. Patti: When you alluded to repressing negative emotions, a lot of people might think about repressing anger or sadness or shame, but what about repressing positive emotions? Like, could people repress love because they’re afraid they’ll get hurt? Or could people repress joy because they feel guilty about having it? Are people running away from positive emotions too? Like running away from all emotions? Or is it particular ones usually? [00:08:15] Dr. Ray: That could be looked at two ways. So let’s say, love, yes, it is conceivable that, oh, I feel this love arising for this moment or this situation. And because they’re so conditioned to be afraid of rejection or disappointment, then yes, you can shut down the love.
Now, most people want love. Most people want joy. Most people want peace. But what I have found, I know even in myself over time, if you are afraid of being hurt, still there is this emotion of fear of being hurt, fear of rejection. So when that love comes up, because of that stronger conditioning of fear of what it feels like to have a negative emotion, then you repress any inner joy or inner love trying to percolate up and keep your heart slammed.
So it is a duality situation potentially going on. But then, over time, you do that enough, and what I find is that most people are numb. They’re just walking around, unaware that they’re repressing anything. They’re like frozen and stuck. Most people live lives of quiet desperation, leading these kinds of lives where they’re just going through the motions.
And numbness is not only a type of feeling; at its core, it is something you’re using to distract yourself from feeling. And for us in this society, it’s usually, I’m so busy like it’s some kind of badge of honor.
It’s okay to be busy doing what you love, enjoy, you’re passionate about. If anything, that tends to fuel your energy, not stress you out. You can work for hours when you enjoy, have a sense of big-picture life, and work toward love and goodness for the whole. You feel good and uplifted.
That’s different than this kind of busyness where you’re numbing out, you don’t feel, you come home, you have a drink, or you eat yourself to sleep. That’s part of that numbness. So it could be either or, you know, like afraid to feel so I better slam the door, or I better run away from this person, or whatever, versus love, doesn’t even come up because I’m afraid and I’m so numb. Yeah.[00:10:21] Dr. Patti: So it sounds like you’re saying people repress positive emotion because it’s twined with negative emotion, and they want to repress the negative one, so they repress the whole thing and try to avoid all of it. [00:10:32] Dr. Ray: Yep. That’s a great way of summing it up because that’s where that numbness comes in or why people don’t have very extensive emotional vocabularies. They’re out of touch. How are you today? Fine. It’s not like, oh, I feel because most people don’t really know how they feel.
Becoming aware of repressed emotions[00:10:47] Dr. Patti: That gets into a great conversation, which is how does somebody know if they are repressing their emotions? Like they’re not aware at all of what’s going on, kind of under the surface. So how can they start to become aware that they’re actually repressing some things? [00:11:01] Dr. Ray: That’s where mindfulness can be helpful of both your thoughts and your feelings. Waking up out of this kind of slumber of the body mind. So it would take intention from my standpoint unless you’re so shocked.
Like you hear people having a nervous breakdown, that’s where this overwhelming event or life-threatening event, like something just blew open the doors to making you be in the present moment.
And the nervous system is overwhelmed by all the energetic baggage coming to a bam like that. It is a type of nervous system breakdown. You feel discombobulated. I’ve had little mini ones over my life. It’s almost like they were nudges from the universe to come on; why wait for this drama?
You don’t have to do that. I used to call it the Royal Boot to move along.
I’m personally grateful for those moments because after you go through the shock, and it depends on your personality, of course, the more conscious you are, the more you can be determined that I am going to continue on and get through this. Or, unfortunately, some people are not aware enough, or they don’t want to deal with anything, and then that’s when you get into trouble with mental health and all these other things.
So essentially, I became self-aware of addressing these things that I didn’t know, that I didn’t know from a combination of some of those royal boots and turning points, you’re at a fork in the road. Are you going to do or die? Okay? So you can wait for that, or you can start to become more self-aware of those thoughts through breathwork or mindfulness. They’re not the cure-all, but they help you to become more conscious and aware of your thoughts and feelings.
And you can start to see how your thoughts can lead to a feeling or your feeling can lead to a thought. And start to become more self-aware in your life, where you notice your reactions to people. Then you notice your projections onto people. You notice, wow, I’m judging them. But life will show you where you’re doing the same thing, and all you’re doing is throwing your emotion over there on them.
I look at it cosmically as well. Some of us have more spiritually expansive life journeys. We came here to grow in our awareness, in our human evolution, an inspiration to the whole to bring some new gift, talent, or concept to the whole. It can be a little more intense for you because it’s like, that’s what you signed up for.
And then some people may not this lifetime have that kind of intensity. So I’m not being prescriptive here. This is not one size fits all. I like to say she or he who has ears to hear, let them come. From my experience, the process has to begin with becoming conscious of the unconscious. And that tends to take an intention.
Otherwise, if you’re just floating through and you’re numbing out, and you’re distracting yourself, the only thing that’s going to shake you awake is some drama. Boom. And then, that might get your attention.
I’d rather do it the; I’m going to be conscious because there’s a call in my heart where I really want to be healthier, and I really want to take responsibility, the ability to respond and not just be tossed to and fro by the news or the internet, or somebody on social media.
I want to have more self-control than that. Then you just consciously start to notice your thoughts, notice your feelings. There are other tools you can use as you go. But that would be the first step.
It never stops in terms of your ability to grow and expand for sure. Yeah.
Practical spirituality: making friends with your feelings[00:14:57] Dr. Patti: You started to touch on this. Techniques that people can use to begin to get more in touch with their emotions. And I’m sure this is a huge, huge, huge conversation, but what might be some ways, like practical tips, that people might be able to use to start to get back in touch with those emotions? [00:15:16] Dr. Ray: I like to say practical spirituality or bringing the left and the right brain together. So neuroscience says we have this storytelling brain that creates autobiographical memory, the story of who we think we are. And we have these survival parts of ourselves that help us to acclimate in certain social settings and different parts, et cetera.
And over time, we’ve built up this part of ourselves that thinks that doing is better, that somehow being still means you’re lazy, you’re slothful, you’re going to be poor because you’re not working. Go, go, go. You know? Proud that I work 20 hours a day and I only need two hours of sleep. Okay?
Depending on how that is like ingrained into your brain and nervous system as a pattern, it’s going to be harder or not as hard to slow down. Because if you’ve told yourself the story that to survive to be loved, I get my validation from all my achievements. Look at me. Go, go, go. A part of that go, go, go, you don’t have time to feel anything. And that’s why a lot of people start having issues with their health because they’re pulling all their energy up and out. And they’re not restoring, and they’re not resting, and they’re not sleeping. I mean, All of this is one big pie.
Now you’ve decided, I want to meditate because I hear all this stuff about meditation. But there’s this part in your psyche that says, no, it is dangerous. You can’t sit still. You got this to do. And you got that to do. And that part hasn’t even taken the time to discern. What is its purpose in life? What it’s really passionate about? It’s just chasing money and doesn’t even know what it’s going to do with it. So it just piles it up in the bank, and it has to get some more to feel more secure. And at the end of the day, that part is a real part of you and your psyche. So now you’re going to sit down and try to meditate.
So just be aware, without blame, without shame. Don’t shame that part. Don’t get mad at that part. Notice it. That’s mindfulness in itself. Just to notice there’s a part of me that can’t sit still in the chair.[00:17:22] Dr. Ray: And so literally, I did that where I started to, trying to learn what meditation was. This was over 20 years ago or so, and I didn’t have anybody in my world that I could really turn to help me.
So I did what I thought it meant. I just lit a candle, went into the room, and shut the door. I could not control my thoughts, that were just flying all over the place. I found myself bouncing out of the chair. I’m not joking; every minute or two to go do something. I could not sit still for five minutes when I first started, which is a scary thought. That’s a nervous system pattern. Period.
I got a little yellow pad and a pen so that I could stop bouncing out of my chair to do something else. I had to do sound entrainment to slow my brain down. These alpha theta delta meditation tracks that would bring my out of control beta wave down into alpha and then theta. And It would knock me out. My brain was so busy that these wave entrainments would just make me fall asleep for the most part.
But I came to see it as, well, at least, I was beginning to flush it out.
Nowadays, there’s a lot more sophisticated technology in terms of sound and tools to help you to do that. That might be your path of mindfulness.
And just build it up gradually because as you slow down these beta waves and this busyness that has been numbing you out so you can’t feel pushing your emotions down; those emotions are going to start rising up when you’re sitting still. That’s why most people don’t want to be alone. They don’t want to sit still. They start to feel their body.
So part two of this would be, here comes the emotion. You got the thoughts that are flying out of control, and you’re trying to calm down, so they start calming down and opening the lid or opening the door to this stuffed energy. Emotions are energy. They literally are energy in motion.
The human biofield[00:19:15] Dr. Ray: And we have a human biofield. This is science. Just like we have cell phone energy in the air, these wireless towers, satellites, and all of this. We can call Europe from the United States, but you don’t see tangible, materialistic phone lines running through the ocean.
We are bio-energetic fields. You have energies and vibes that other people can feel. We have this capacity in our brain, too, for intuition. Everybody’s born with that.
Now, some people might have developed it more than others. But you have this as one of your senses, this right brain ability to sense before the left brain can understand, and so you can walk into a room and feel the vibe, so this vibe is like talking about your energetic field. Is it a high vibe? That’s what emotions essentially are. Relative vibes, high energy, and low energy.
So they have a tone that affects the hormones that are released in your body. The physiology of your body affects your perception, turns on or off the survival mechanism, et cetera, et cetera.
Fear and survival all of those are related to this emotional staircase, so to speak.
And so now you are meditating either by sitting still, focusing on your breath, focusing on your body or soundtracks, something to help you slow down. Now you start to feel. And that’s where you have to be conscious to respect and honor your feelings as well. You don’t run away from them bad, bad feelings, but in order to not run away from them, you have to remember, you have a part that’s entrained in your brain that says, run. You know, Here they come. Okay, get busy. Shut down. Go get a drink. You have to be aware that this is a part of you, and you can help calm it down like a scared child. You have to reparent yourself. Nobody’s going to do it for you. Drugs can’t do it for you. They’re just going to make you more toxic.
Also, the mind can’t separate something real from imagined. So there’s a real capacity for imagination that turns on and off your physiology. I can do a guided meditation and have you salivating just because of the way you focused on that lemon in this meditation, and you can feel your salivary glands at work actively, but there’s no lemon in the room.
I often teach people to use guided meditations to help them navigate these feelings when they come up. Not in a way that makes them bad, wrong, or shameful, because these parts of yourself carry emotion, and you don’t want to shame the parts of yourself, just like a child wouldn’t want to be ashamed.
You meet people where they are. Not everybody is the same. But this is a process of different things to be aware of as you go emotion hunting or wanting to actually just begin to feel.
It’s going to be a process. The more conscious you can talk to these parts of yourself and just, yeah, I acknowledge that feeling of grief is there.
And sometimes, give yourself space to cry, have a coach or guide that is not afraid of their feelings either and have them help you process that. It gets easier and easier. Just like anything else, you learn to play the piano, and initially, it’s awkward. Then you end up being a concert pianist one day. Who knows? So, it’s that same process.
Examples of body sensations of emotions[00:22:34] Dr. Patti: Maybe talk a bit about feelings in the body with certain emotions. What kinds of sensations might people clue into in the body to know what’s coming up for them? [00:22:45] Dr. Ray: Now, that’s subjective, but in general, let’s say, where do you often feel fear? Does it feel like nauseating? Like you want to throw up? Does it feel constrictive in the chest? So like, we can say we have a nervous stomach, nervous tension in our stomach.
The emotional energy of excitement and stress can look identical if you’re trying to measure it objectively, so to speak, or the sensation. But the story you’re telling yourself around it, is it causing you to be more open hearted and expansive and excited? Or is it causing you to constrict and want to run away or be alone? It’s usually somewhere in the trunk or face of the body, not like out in your fingers. Notice palpitation, hard to breathe, or feeling like you can’t breathe constriction.
It can be bad enough that it’s a symptomatology or a symptom of chronic disease. This can come from that over time. People can walk around feeling joint pain and contraction. The body’s trying to tell you something, and you keep taking suppressive drugs to cover up the body trying to tell you something. So you have to be brave enough to start to listen to the symptom by feeling it.
So this is like getting acquainted with your body. Again. If you’re too busy, you are numbing out the body, you’re not trying to feel. Until it’s so painful, now you have a problem. You need to get your hip replaced because all of that emotional energy has caused all this excessive release of detrimental chemicals in the body and breakdown of tissue in the body and lack of recovery in the body. And now you can’t walk, but it took years to get there.
The connection between repressed emotions and bad habits[00:24:22] Dr. Patti: So that kind of long term effect that you’re speaking to, can we maybe dive more into that? What happens if we just continue to ignore emotions? How do they start impacting our tissues over the long term? [00:24:34] Dr. Ray: So let’s just say, for example, you have these emotions of fear of survival. And so you are always busy jumping from one thing to another, working long hours, and pouring all this epinephrine and cortisol into your bloodstream. And you are not taking care of your health. You’re eating foods that aren’t the best for you, et cetera. You also have comfort eating, perhaps, where you’re eating too much sugar and things that kind of make you, in that moment, feel a little better, but it’s just clobbering your gut lining or your ability to self-regulate the sugar. Now it’s cortisol going up at night because you’re eating, and it’s throwing off your melatonin, so you don’t get deep sleep.
So all these things are going on. Some people burn out and bottom out. So now they’re in fatigue. Some people might have a longer runway, but all that cortisol damages their brains. And now they have brain fog and memory loss. Some people get blood glucose imbalance. So now they have diabetes, and they burnt out their pancreas because no one checked their insulin levels in the process, which was off the chart. All that epinephrine and constriction and damage to the walls of the vessels. Now they have high blood pressure.
But then, emotions aren’t even addressed, which are often triggering the behaviors leading to all these things I’m talking about in the first place. So not only do you have the physiology of the emotion itself in the body, pausing certain neurochemicals to go at it, but these emotions are causing the behaviors in the first place too. To go eat and comfort too much, stay up on the computer on Facebook trying to get likes or something or whatever.
You see what I mean? It’s one vicious circle, and the emotion is actually one of the most important factors in it all because your emotional composure allows you the patience to go change your behavior or to go grocery shopping instead of eating fast food junk. Slow down, and what is important to me? What is my life purpose? What am I here to do? How can I find my passion and joy?
Moving beyond survival and fear[00:26:39] Dr. Patti: And that’s such a key insight there in what you just said, where a lot of people have these sort of bad habits that they really want to break, and they just try to use willpower like, I’m going to not do that thing. But you’re saying step back. Why was I doing that in the first place? What’s underneath that behavior? And then you’re getting to the root of what was happening. [00:26:57] Dr. Ray: That’s the absolute important key. Like functional medicine talks about getting to the root cause, focusing on food or the tangible things we normally all look for. That’s important. But don’t forget what’s driving the behavior that was causing this dysfunction in the health and address that too so that you don’t have to try to willpower your way through it, which is a form of stress in itself. “I’m going to will this thing”…instead of just ease and take the time to bring this meaning into your life.
We’re here not just to grind and die. Okay? I mean, like what makes you happy and you being of service, so that takes this kind of expanding spiritual picture to want to be of service to the whole, not just to yourself. Right now, the vast majority of people I see in the world, and I was in that corner too, are more service to self than anything which is tied to survival. And then, if I happen to make an impact on the whole, yay. We are usually not that honest with ourselves to say it like that. That’s where all this stress is coming from. Survival. That’s where all this greed and grabbing is coming from. All this othering. It’s not, I don’t really care about you, I’m just trying to protect myself.
That’s a paradigm because we could create a world that is good for everyone and is big enough that allows people to have different ways of looking at things without encroaching their will on others.
That’s a different world. That’s a different paradigm. But you can’t even get to that paradigm as long as you live in this survival fear. It’s about me, myself, and I. Then if I have anything left over, you know, I’ll give it to you. But we don’t understand how it cuts off our nose to spite our face because it still robs us of joy. It still robs us of love and connection because we’re so feeling like, you know, it’s all about me. I’m right. I’m right, I’m right. You’re wrong.
What judging others means about yourself[00:28:51] Dr. Ray: And I would say another thing that’s really important as you’re going through this is around self-compassion.
I’m of a firm belief that to the degree that you see people attacking others, making others wrong, othering others, okay? Instead of this kind of unity of connection of the human collective. You can pretty much mark it down. They don’t have self-love or self-compassion either because you can’t give what you don’t have.
And that’s one of the reasons why people are self stuck in their emotions. They lack self-compassion and feel shame when this emotion comes up, or they feel weak. I mean, there’s a whole story around it. They don’t want to look at it. And so what do you do? You take that anger, you take that denial, you take that repression. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. Pretend like you’re perfect. You got it all going on while you’re busy judging and pushing it out. It’s toxic to the whole.
But I want you to remember this. You can’t project what doesn’t run through your circuitry first. Okay? You can’t be triggered unless the gun is already loaded, so to speak.
You can’t shoot somebody or shoot the messenger without it running through your circuitry first, and you can feel it. You can feel this anger or this resentment, or this angst. It’s not like, ah, I feel so great, and by the way, you’re awful, and you’re terrible, and I can’t stand you. Let’s remember that. Remember that you are hurting yourself first. That’s that old saying, judge not, lest ye be judged. You, in your judging, you are being judged because that same energy is flowing through your circuitry before it even hits the target.[00:30:40] Dr. Patti: Super powerful message. I wanted to give the ever patient Amir a chance to ask some of his questions too.
The role of emotions on stress[00:30:49] Amir: You said something huge, and that’s a connection between chronic stress, which everybody knows and somewhat accepts, and what could be the cause of that stress, which is repressed emotions.
So maybe we can talk a bit more about that because we live in times where people accept that they’re stressed out, and they may look for things like techniques to relieve stress, taking herbs, or even medication. But I don’t know if they’re considering the emotional part of that.[00:31:17] Dr. Ray: I love that question. That’s some of the things I often talk about. So now here we are running around with pills, potions, and all of this stuff, and nobody’s talking about their feelings. Yet, what’s the root cause is all these things we have been talking about where there’s this chronic story of sometime somebody did me wrong, I’m angry, grief that’s not dealt with, resentment, regret, envy, shame, jealousy, on and on stuffed in there that’s triggering all of these neurotransmitters, cortisol, epinephrine.
So at the end of the day, it’s not about making anybody bad or wrong, don’t make yourself bad or wrong, but if you can get to the bottom of why I feel like I feel, forgiveness is a superpower. It’s the most underrated, neglected aspect of the human journey.
I said something to myself years ago. I wrote it down. It was about forgiving my anger, I gained my destiny, or I gained my peace, or I gained my joy. Forgiving to the universe, to the spirit, or recycling in the ethos, your whole perception can change. Your whole perception about yourself, about other people, about life, about how life is tough. You know, that used to be my motto. I don’t live in that world anymore.
Einstein says that we decide whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe. And, whatever you decide, I can tell you, you’ll be right because your brain will only see those things that you believe in. Be it unto you as you believe is really about that. It’s about having the emotional courage to know that everything going on outside of you isn’t your fault. We are a collective. So, of course, you can’t control everybody else.
But your microcosm and your world and your close relationships and your finances and your health, you have more control over it than anybody on the planet one way or the other. If you make choices to let authority figures tell you what to do and you don’t do your homework, and you just go buy it, you know, that’s where we have to be gentle with ourselves when we start realizing, oh, I’ve been giving away my power.
But instead of the blamed game, et cetera, we all can take that first step and start to realize that joy is a medicine. Forgiveness is a medicine. These are the ways you get to that peace. And then, when you get to that inner peace, the body is in homeostasis and can heal itself. You’re in the way of your body doing what it’s supposed to do to stay healthy in the first place.
If we would remove the environmental toxins, the toxic emotions, and all the problems that toxic emotions bring with relationships and all the things we’ve been talking about, as we take our power back and start to do our part that we can do, we can help change the field of energy, of the collective. Maybe even get inspired to have new ideas to help the collective. We can certainly inspire the people around us. It is a chain domino, but you have to pull yourself out of the matrix. Nobody’s going to do it for you.
Breaking down limiting emotional patterns[00:34:23] Dr. Patti: Other than repression, do you also see people getting addicted to certain emotions? For example, people who love to feel outrage and anger at the world, or they kind of love to feel resentment at a certain person? How can people notice and break out of that kind of pattern? [00:34:38] Dr. Ray: For sure. I believe that some of that is even like this lesson that they’re here to learn. That was what I had to learn too. So, let’s say you feel powerless. You’re a little kid, and you’re in this family dynamic that doesn’t let you speak your truth, tells you to shut up, go sit down, or all kinds of authoritarian things.
There are like two paths to that. You can either become this repressive emotional side where you just slap that grin on, become a pleaser, and you’re just a rug for everybody to walk on. You can go that route. There are lots of people like that. So you end up in these codependent dynamics, victim-perpetrator. You probably won’t reach your empowerment unless you dig up. You know, I’ve had enough.
And some people can maybe do that effectively without going to the other pole, but it’s not uncommon to go to the other pole where you become this angry perpetrator, and it’s like control or be controlled. And that’s, that’s the path I initially went down. I started out sweet and passive, and by the time I was going into adolescence, you already have hormones flying, and you’re at this fork in the road – am I going to be this passive person who has to get to the back of the line because somebody butts you or am I going to speak up?
There was this turning point, and I remember the whole drama like it was not that long ago if I go back and think about it. It was like a conscious declaration. You will never hurt me again. Boom. Heart slams, bam. Warrior comes out like a Fire. Okay. And hey, it controlled the environment I was in. It made me feel safer. Now it was dysfunctional. It didn’t take too long to start messing up relationships because your nervous system and that part of you goes, oh, this is what we need to do to survive.
Now, that’s a powerful conclusion to a story. My survival depends on this. My survival depends on being controlling. My survival depends on being angry, that loud, obnoxious, squeaky will. So you can either burn down your life and ultimately get heart trouble, which I was starting to do in my twenties. Wreck relationships over time because you’re so volatile and easy to trigger, or you find yourself surrounded by weak people who let you control them.
So at the end of the day, you have to make a decision to unaddict yourself. But absolutely, you can be addicted, and it can go to one extreme or the other. It can be the repressive side where you kind of shrink, or it can be the reactive side where you just like roar. And neither one of them are healthy.
A healthy balance is clearing the helpless part, the part that felt victimized. Stop feeling like a victim and turn yourself into a victor, which takes work, but it’s still something you have the power to change, but you have to work with the feelings of it too.
It’s not just an intellectual thing. That’s the key. You can’t just talk yourself into it. You have to actually take those steps we talked about earlier to learn how to feel the feelings and how to realize you’re not your thoughts. You start to see your thoughts like a bubble, like a cartoon bubble. I could sometimes feel like I was playing in a movie and watching myself. When you can do that, you know you’re present, watching, and literally being an observer. So you can start to catch yourself earlier. It might be unnatural. It will feel unnatural, frankly, because that’s not the way you normally had gotten yourself into a habit pattern. But then you have this pause where you can shift. Take a deep breath and notice your thoughts, but don’t react.
Spiritual practice and emotional health[00:38:16] Dr. Ray: And for me, a spiritual practice matters because it helps you intuitively access a whole power of being that is beyond just being human. And that power has this ability to carry you. It’s like the peace that passes all human understanding, and it’s very real. Like so many times, and it still happens, I don’t even know how I’m so calm in that moment. And I know it’s not me, you know, me per se. It’s more of this present of stillness that is there.
And if you’re not tapping into that, it’s just a lot harder to plow through it. So there is this piece where we have to go out on our own, and we have to start with ourselves. You have to model it. You have to lead by example, not just talk about it. And that means you have to have the courage and the resiliency and the tools to be able to access the thoughts, be able to access the feelings, to be able to allow your intuitive mind to take you back sometimes to where it started. But there are tools, and the good news is that just like we have tools for other things, we have tools for this. It’s just not commonly practiced in our society because we’re so afraid.
How our perceptions about fear affect our reality[00:39:22] Dr. Ray: Fear, for the most part, is fictitious evidence affecting reality. Fictitious. It’s a story. It’s a story that your perception will find to make it right.
For example, this story that all people in this group are like that. You will ignore the 90% of people in that group who are not like that and only focus on the 10% that are like that, whatever that is. And so this story finds this evidence because your brain is looking for it. It affects your reality because you’re going to base your decisions, actions, choices, et cetera on that body of perceptual baggage and act accordingly.
Your reality will look like this. People can’t be trusted. You will find the most untrustworthy people and blow off the trustworthy ones because you won’t even match. You won’t even be a draw, and then someone will deceive you, and you go, I knew it. I knew that guy wasn’t to be trusted.
I always attract whatever. Or all guys….That’s what people tend to do -generalize. Most people don’t tend to say, I attract because X, Y, Z. It’s like all of those people with that belief are like that. So that’s fictitious evidence affecting reality.
The power of acceptance, forgiveness and self-love[00:40:42] Amir: We said something super powerful. Emotions are not negative and you gave an example of anger or even fear. They can save your life sometimes. It looks like our perception, the story we’re telling ourselves, might be the key here. And I think it’s important because nobody likes to feel like all these negative emotions. We try to escape from them or avoid them, but it looks like it totally backfires. And the right way is just to accept it. [00:41:10] Dr. Ray: You know, I think deconditioning with the intention to accept them, but deconditioning has to be a conscious process because you’re on autopilot. The time between stimuli and response is like, boom. So you have to learn to short-circuit that by putting some space between the stimulus and your reaction and acknowledging the emotion.
So let’s talk about anger for a minute. I’ve told this story to you where I was talking to someone who was shouting at me and turning red and saying, I don’t get angry. Okay. So I, I find that many women, because we’ve been socially conditioned that there’s something wrong with women showing anger, that they deny it and they think it’s bad.
Well, Good luck with that one. Making friends with feelings and being able to get the anger out of your system or just neutralizing it. And then anger is not something you have to often reach for. You can be assertive without being angry. You can speak your truth without being angry. But sometimes, you have to get that boatload of triggers out before you can actually do it.
Now, I’ve seen people who are so nice until you hit that button, boy, and then you better duck. Okay? Because they have never really resolved that anger. And how can you resolve that anger when you won’t even look at it, and you won’t even acknowledge you have it?
So that would be a place to start. Yeah, I have anger. It’s okay, but I’m learning how to resolve it. I’m learning how to take my power back and be in self-control without repressing it. Because if you clear it out, It’s not like it’s sitting there on the hard drive, ready to pop out at any time.
It’s like the duck who shook off the feeling, and now he’s back gliding on the water. You can be in the present moment, but as long as we have all these emotions that are not dealt with and denied and repressed, they’re sitting there in the background, clogging up your biofield, making you sick, making your muscles contract and your joints break down and inflammation.
Consciously see that inner child of you that was doing the best it could at the time. That probably helped you in some way. I can see people who have compassion for others, but they won’t have compassion for that inner part of themselves. And this is where that whole self-love piece is so important to your self-esteem because it’s through that you have self-compassion. Can address the issue. See it as what can I learn from this, release the person who perpetrated it, which is not easy to do to me without spiritual support of some kind. So find out what works for you too.
What helped me to learn to forgive? Well, that heart issue, because I’m like, uh oh, you mean this affects my health? Seriously, that’s what actually got me really going deeply down the path of emotion because I realized it was causing the beginnings of chronic disease, and I highly value my health. I’d have to say that was the number one thing that motivated me. I realized it wasn’t even, and I’m just being honest. It wasn’t even like for the other person. I realized it was for me. And then, the other person. They could be gone about their life, not even knowing you are throwing darts at them. Those darts are just bouncing off a shield for the most part. You’re not hurting them. You’re hurting yourself. And when I got that, everything changed.
How to start process emotions – final thoughts[00:44:24] Amir: A lot of people that listen would probably ask themselves, okay, how do I even get started? How do I even know what emotions I have if everything is repressed? Is there a place they can start with, like an exercise, or just asking themselves some really basic questions like, am I happy? [00:44:40] Dr. Ray: I think having self-reflection and contemplation absolutely has to be the gateway because it’s how do I feel, You know? It’s not even about some tangible thing you’re doing outside. It’s being quiet and listening.
And the more you do it, it’s a habit pattern. Remember, the brain is always wiring. If you’re walking around focusing on the world is bad, how could they do this? Blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to be here, blah, blah, blah. That’s what you’re wiring.
So I would start noticing, do you really have enthusiasm or gratitude? Start to cultivate the little things. Some of the things we talked about earlier about thoughts and emotions and noticing them, acknowledging them. Not making them bad, not making them wrong.
Telling yourself a story. You have to sometimes speak those things into existence, and then they’ll manifest. Your brain will start to look for them. You will start to find them. Seek, and ye shall find, okay? You have to start to look for them and move the body and the attention, and the energy goes wherever the attention goes.
But you got to set an intention and then put your attention on that. And that starts to shift the nervous system. It’s like a missile. It’s going to where you’re focusing. The news in the world keeps us focusing on fear and separation. That’s a Debbie Downer or a David Downer. So that’s going to keep our attention on what we don’t want instead of what we do want. What you focus on expands. So that’s one of the keys.
It’s a process. But I think the universe right now, the zeitgeist of our times, I can say with certainty from my beginnings, it has never been easier to shift than it is now. What’s happening in the world is that our emotional pot is being stirred up. The baggage is coming into the light.
The best thing to do is to take back the steering wheel of your mind. As I started saying earlier, learn some skills, be brave, and co-create the life that you’re meant to live. But that takes intention. Nobody’s going to hand it to you on a platter. You got to not see yourself as a victim. You see it as a challenge, but you can rise to the occasion.[00:47:06] Dr. Patti: What a powerful, wonderful message. Absolutely a perfect place to kind of leave everyone with this really powerful message of empowerment. Thank you so much for being here with us, Dr. Ray, and for sharing so much wisdom on so many different levels. [00:47:24] Dr. Ray: My pleasure. Yeah, thank you. [00:47:26] Amir: Oh, thank you. That was amazing.