What is in a name? In many cultural stories knowing the name of the enemy gives the hero the power to defeat it. Stories about witches and wizards often have them using magic words and proper names of their target in order to cast a spell. Knowing the right words to say is the magic that manifests into whatever outcome is desired. The most well known story of this type is Rumplestilskin, where the princess is able to beat the little man by pronouncing his name, and saving her child.
The same can be said for knowing the words for the emotions we’re feeling. Emotions are complex and messy and mysterious, but they have such power over our lives so knowing how to define them and organize them gives us the power to control them.
To observe and describe the emotions you are experiencing is like casting a spell, and you have to know the correct words to get the spell right.
By observing your emotions you learn to be seperate from them. You learn to compartmentalize them and organize them. This is not the same as burying them, because we still have to feel the emotions, but by identifying them as they are experienced we are better able to allow them to pass through us and move along like clouds passing through the sky. Identify your emotions as part of yourself, something you experience in waves that ebb and flow. You define the emotion, the emotion does not define you.
A quick word about Pickle Rick for those who know who he is:
I highly recommend re-watching the Pickle Rick episode and pay particular attention to the speech he gives the therapist and her reply. I have found myself in the predicament of losing respect for my therapist or being just bored. As soon as a therapist talks down to me or gets boring I tune out and glaze over and consider the time a tragic waste. But the therapist in Pickle Rick (voiced by the talented Susan Sarandon) tells him she knows therapy is not for him, but tears into him anyway and points out his problems for what they are.
She tells him he would be bored senseless doing the work of repairing maintaining and cleaning his relationships but in order to live a healthy life its work that needs to be done. It’s frustrating and worse, boring at times but it’s important.
I admire a lot of things about Rick Sanchez, but I also see his blatant alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, and emotional pain and I know I don’t want to live like that. So as much as I adore Pickle Rick and find endless entertainment in this show, it’s not something I want to emulate in my own life.
More about Rick Sanchez in a future case study.