Although most people in the country wouldn’t agree, we in Southern California have been having extreme weather conditions for us: rain and mudslides. You could almost say we’re so used to mild conditions that we become afraid of what others would call “real” weather—weather wimps. Being afraid, ashamed of, or embarrassed by your feelings is like being afraid of the weather, because emotions (tears, panic attacks, angry outbursts, withdrawal, depression, elation, lust, romantic excitement, euphoria) are the weather conditions of the inner self.
Certainly there are weather conditions that are fearsome, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, exploding volcanoes and fierce fires, and we need to control these if we can, and protect ourselves from them. But, like the weather, most emotional climate conditions are pretty mild.
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My clients have found it very helpful to use the metaphors of weather to understand how natural and normal all feelings are. Here are my thoughts on the basics of emotional weather. It’s a concept I'm just working out, so please share your ideas and reactions.
Your smile lights up your face the way the sun lights our day. Smiles, too can come from behind clouds or after emotional storms. The smile signals that all is well, pressure is equalized and the coast is clear to be out and open and have some fun.
Like rain, tears can be stormy or just a light sprinkle, and feel angry, cold, dreary and sad, or even come through the sunshine. Rain often follows a change of weather pressure, and tears can be the result of release of inner tension. People frequently cry from relief that they've been heard or that they can see a solution where there appeared to be a problem. Those who suffer from a trauma or a loss normally cry a little after the first shock of finding out, as the awful pressure of the news is absorbed and the grief sets in.
Rain first carries with it the dust suspended in the air, and then washes everything clean as it continues. Emotional rain, too, can first be painful, and then begin to bring release and clarity. A “good cry” is one that really lets go of the held feelings and continues until relief sets in.
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When you allow the tears to flow until your natural smile returns, you will feel hopeful again—hope is the rainbow of our internal climate. Like a rainbow, hope doesn't exist until there has been a disappointment, and the disappointment has been accepted completely enough to let the sun shine once more. That smile, coming thorough sadness, brings with it a renewed feeling of hope.
Sometimes reluctance to express unhappiness or discomfort builds pressure that eventually releases in a rush, like a storm. Violent storms shake things up, just as strong anger does. Anger that is allowed to get out of control is as destructive as a hurricane, but anger that is expressed in healthy ways can "clear the air" just as a storm does. The aftermath of a healthy, not too violent storm allows us to appreciate the pleasures of calmness.