Humans are very emotional beings. The vast range of emotions we are able to experience is a big part of why the human experience is so deep and powerful. Emotions come and go…we have ups, and we have downs. It appears that these emotions control us. And they can. But the truth is we can gain control over our emotions, and not just prevent them from wreaking havoc on our lives, but utilize them in a way that enhances and maximizes our lives.
The first step, I believe, is to accept the fact that we have a whole spectrum of emotions, and that having, feeling, or experiencing ALL of these emotions is okay. We’ve got this idea that we should be positive all the time, or happy every moment of every day, or never get angry, jealous, or frustrated. While it’s good to shoot for the ideal emotions (lots of ups and no downs), we cannot get crushed when how we feel doesn’t jive with how we want to feel.
The next step, the one that can make the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery, and living a life of abundance versus scarcity, is to avoid getting stuck in the bad emotions. This is critical! When we linger in that state of anger, regret, or fear is when it becomes toxic and harmful.
So, the key is to honor all emotions, just don’t get stuck in the bad ones.
We have a remarkable ability to shift our emotions. Like a muscle that never gets used, our emotion resilience is weak if we don’t work on it. We have to be more conscious of our emotional states, note them, then work on shifting them. Once you realize how powerful you can be in regards to controlling your emotions, managing those emotions becomes much less challenging.
If I show you a picture, you will likely have an emotional response (as well as a physiological response). Imagine that I show you a picture of the airplanes striking the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11. You will experience an emotional shift. Some might experience fear, others might experience anger or rage, yet others may feel sadness and grief. That same image will elicit a different response in different individuals. Let’s say you experience anger or rage. These are strong, real, and valid emotions.
Now let’s say I show you a different picture, one of a little baby, curled up on a furry blanket, sleeping. You will have a major shift in your emotional state. You will instantly feel emotions more along the lines of calm, peacefulness, or love.
You could go from anger and rage to peacefulness and love in a moment, and the only thing that changed is the image you are looking at. So, you can see that we can get much better control over our emotions, how we feel, and how we respond to the world around us. Dictionary.com defines wellness as… the condition of good physical, mental and emotional health, especially when maintained by an appropriate diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications. Note the inclusion of “emotional” health. Our emotional wellbeing is essential if we are to be truly well.
So… honor ALL emotions! Just don’t get stuck in, dwell on, or get consumed by the negative ones!