If I ask you to think about the worst day you’ve ever experienced in your life, you will become filled with certain emotions. If I then ask you to think about the greatest day you’ve ever experienced, you will become filled with a completely different set of emotions.
Have you ever responded to a situation in a way that you regretted, knowing that you did so in a heightened emotional state? And then wished you had waited to respond, knowing you would have been more rational, more level-headed, and more understanding? It is the vast range of emotions that we experience, and the fluctuations of these emotions, that allow us to have heightened experiences, connection to others and the world around us, and simply put, allow us to be human.
Most people think that emotions just come and go. They believe these feelings just happen to them. And that is true in a sense, as we get flooded with certain emotions when certain events occur in our lives. However, one unique attribute for us humans is having the ability to gain control over these emotions. A key to success in ALL areas of life is being good at managing those emotions.
Some people let their emotions get the best of them. They get described as being an emotional wreck, emotionally unstable, emotionally weak, overly emotional, or sensitive. Being too emotional is often looked at as being a problem.
On the other hand, there are those that might be described as being emotionless, emotionally empty, cold, or hard. While having too much emotion can be an issue, this lack of emotion comes with its own set of problems.
So… if being too emotional or lacking emotion can both be problematic, then there is likely a certain amount of emotion that is considered “appropriate” for specific situations. But as these emotions appear to come on without our control, how do we gain control of our emotions to help us live fully and function optimally. With emotions flooding our bodies on such a regular basis, all day long, day in and day out, how do we experience less of the detrimental emotions and more of the ones that will help us?
The truth is, the emotions come. The emotions coming are real and raw. To think that we can shut some emotions off, so they never come, or turn other emotions on, so we are constantly living in harmony and balance, is a myth. That will never happen. We can’t control the emotions that come… but we can control how we manage these emotions. That’s worth repeating… we can’t control the emotions that come, but we can control how we manage these emotions.
It is normal, healthy, and human to experience anger, frustration, fear, grief, resentment, and more when life deals you a blow. To ignore or suppress those emotions would be detrimental, leading to bigger problems. So the key is to acknowledge and honor those emotions, but do not get stuck in them. Look for the other emotions, such as gratitude, happiness, contribution, connectedness, love, and purpose, as those emotions are there too.
Getting stuck in negative emotions leads to wasted time, increased sickness and disease, and a life that is limited and unfulfilled.
One thing that I have learned in the past couple of years, having been hit by a lot of loss, is that, as a multitude of emotions come flooding in, it is critical to honor ALL emotions, but avoid getting stuck in the bad ones. Once again… honor all emotions, but avoid getting stuck in the bad ones!