In yesterday’s study you may have noticed that there were some emotions on the list - anger, fear, etc. To clarify, an emotion is not a shortcoming. All of our emotions are value neutral. They are simply indicator lights that tell our body, mind and heart that something is up with us. All emotions serve the purpose of helping us pay attention - which is a good thing, even a sacred thing. But they become a shortcoming when we habitually over-rely on them. When we ask anger to give us energy because we are depressed, that is over-using the emotion. If we use fear to give us an excuse to never do hard things, that is over-using the emotion.
For example, I can feel anger when my neighbor kicks my dog. I can feel fear and horror when my neighbor poisons my dog. These emotions fit the event. But if my neighbor wore a blue shirt when he kicked my dog and I witnessed it and now I am afraid of blue shirts - that is a trauma response - not a shortcoming or defect of character. It serves as a warning light. My fear of blue shirts teaches me that I need to go visit a counselor who understands trauma and can help me lean into and heal from this event. However, if I do not heed the warning light in a responsible manner, and instead throw out all my blue shirts and demand that everyone else in my life stop wearing blue shirts too - now, that’s a shortcoming. I am harming myself and others because now I am trying to avoid feeling fear by hating on blue shirts. My over-reliance on my emotions is a shortcoming. When I ask my emotions to serve purposes for which they were not intended to serve - act as facts, drive my decision-making, give me energy or the power to disconnect or the ability to judge others to make myself feel better about myself - my emotions have become a shortcoming due to over-use or improper use. Remember: These shortcomings do not need to be judged; they need to be healed!