A great many people sadly imagine that they don’t have emotions.
It’s perfectly natural to arrive at such a state – as we grow and mature, we don’t necessarily acquire the ability to compassionately occupy our emotions. Most of us are taught to suppress certain feelings – to hide them – and that is a natural precursor to becoming alienated within ourselves.
If we’re raised by incomplete people, we will quite reasonably also be incomplete.
Although natural, emotional numbness is a plague that destroys so very many lovely people. We hide in little dark rooms in our minds, closing the curtains against storms of emotion.
We absorb stress and avoid conflict until our emotions express themselves as disease.
We stay silent and struggle to maintain our calmness with our loved ones, then suddenly lash out with great anger over some meaningless trifle.
We “reward” or console ourselves with junk food when things don’t go our way or because we “like” it.
We slave away in meaningless work to avoid facing the meaningful encounters of our lives.
We watch hours and hours of television rather than sit in silent companionship with ourselves.
And when these are not enough – when the thunder and lightning shake the caves in our minds – we flee into alcohol, drugs, or gambling.
When we have closed the curtains to our emotions and bodies, we also lose the mystery and joy of love and grace that floods this world – it exists, but our minds “protect” us from it because all that fear, discomfort, and anger is “out there” with it. It takes an enormous amount of mental energy to keep such shielding active, and that loss can be easily misinterpreted as depression or weakness.
The world is not an futile or heartless place, nobody is “weak” or “worthless”, and all creatures are beloved by God. Only wounds keep this truth from many hearts.
Although it’s perfectly natural to have become emotionally numb, and there’s no blame to be assigned to those who raised us, we must recognize emotional numbness as a state of suffering and a sign of wounding. When we find it in ourselves, we must “check in” and try to re-establish contact with our emotions and bodies. When we find it in others, we must try to gently encourage them to come back out of the little dark rooms in their minds.
The foundational spiritual practices of meditation and mindfulness are excellent ways to explore and begin to defuse emotional numbness, dear hearts. In-depth chats with good friends can be helpful too. If the tender and raw wounds that are unveiled in your or your loved one’s inner exploration are too painful, consider a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. Shame and intentional isolation are symptoms of emotional numbness that must be overcome if healing is to be found.
Much love and many blessings; may all beings be whole, holy, and healed.