Most of us have had little training in understanding emotions or how to effectively deal with emotions in life. What we learned from our families growing up was usually some sort of extreme —families either ignoring, shaming, being completely disconnected from their emotions, or families being entirely consumed by drama and emotion. Few of us have had a balanced approach in dealing with our feelings modeled for us within our childhood families.
We’ve been left to figure out emotions on our own. They don’t teach us emotional health in school, they don’t show us a video on how to manage our emotions well. Yet, studies show that emotional health (or emotional intelligence) determines about eighty percent of success in life.
Here is an excerpt from my new book, Peace For a Lifetime, that explains what plumbing can teach us about our emotions. Plumbing isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of emotions, but adequate, functional plumbing is necessary for the overall functioning of a house. If something is wrong with the plumbing, the aftermath isn’t very pretty. Likewise, when our emotional plumbing is leaking, or has a stoppage, the aftermath isn’t very pretty either. When our emotional pipes are aligned and functioning well, they allow us to find the balance we need to build a strong foundation for abundant living.
When I was growing up, my dad was a plumber. Talk of flappers, traps, valves, drain fields, seals, connections, and fittings was normal conversation at the dinner table. My dad loved his job and was devoted to excellence in everything he did.
Dad would often take my brother and me with him to work, partially to instill in us a strong work ethic, and partially to educate us with the hope that one day, one of us might want to follow in his footsteps. Okay. Maybe the hope was more about my brother following in his footsteps and I was just a tag-along, but let’s not tarnish a memory!
I wanted so much to please my dad and learn whatever he was teaching, but as soon as he would explain something, I would forget what he told me almost as quickly. He could show me an Allen wrench or a tube cutter and, ten minutes later, I’d have a distinct look of confusion on my face when he asked me to hand him one.
What I remember most from those days with my dad is he always gave me the job of painting the ends of the PVC pipes with purple primer. I somehow felt that my job must be incredibly important, so I worked diligently to be the best purple-primer painter anywhere.
Obviously, I was not exactly mechanically inclined, but what I did learn from those experiences with my dad was that the way the pipes worked had a profound impact on the overall functioning of a house. If the pipes were laid out, connected, and sealed properly, the plumbing would function well. However, if there was a leak or a stoppage, the flaw would affect everything else around that failure in the system. You might not see the cause, but a leak could destroy the structure all around and result in an expensive repair.
Our emotional interior is much like the interior of a house. We, too, have emotional pipes that if connected, flowing, and functioning properly, allow our individual selves to function at optimal performance. However, if there is a leak or blockage in our emotional pipes, the result is either a flood or a back-up. For some, there is a complete emotional disconnect. Sadly, they feel that if they can cut themselves off entirely from their emotions, they will never have to experience the potential pain or messiness that can result as a consequence of feeling.
Yet even for those who have cut themselves off entirely from their emotions, the emotions don’t simply disappear. They will drain into, contaminate, and infect some area of their lives whether they want them to or not.
We cannot run away from our emotions. We cannot push them down or close the door on them – not permanently anyway. Emotional Abundance empowers us to find the proper balance between our thinking and feeling, and equips us to become more calm, more present, more thoughtful in responding to the challenges of life.
You do not have to remain a prisoner to your emotions. Nor do you have to expend so much energy to keep your emotions locked away. There is so much more God has for you! There is hope, there is freedom, there is abundance we can experience in our emotions.
I share simple, practical life steps in my book, Peace For a Lifetime, that can help you connect your emotional pipes and create balance and clarity within your heart and mind. This material will empower you to build a life of indestructible peace – not just for today, not just for tomorrow, you can experience peace…for a lifetime!
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