There is no such thing as a bad emotion.
It’s not wrong to be angry, merely unfortunate.
It’s not good to feel happy, merely ideal.
Emotional expression is critical beyond the capacity for full understanding. Yet, our collective societies and communities learn to suppress, manipulate, and attempt futile control of them for all sorts of reasons.
But take a moment and really think about it. One of the most natural expressions of humanity is the ability to feel. You relate to someone or something in a particular way, and that provides you a profound personal influence for the future. Is that not a beautiful part of humanity?
I understand that some innumerable scenarios and circumstances support arguments that emotions are bad, but I would counter-argue that the feelings themselves are not bad. It’s our reactions to those emotions that cause us moments of pride or anguish.
For me, a purposeful path through life is spent in as many varieties of experiences I can get. And this comes from a guy who loves controlled chaos, fulfilling a routine, and just the right amount of surprise to never take me out of my comfort zone.
I know, so much work for a ridiculously unobtainable result.
But if I’ve never known disparaging anguish, how will I figure out how to put it behind me? If I’ve never felt a surge of unconquerable joy, how will I learn to recognize and allow the points that created it to happen again? If I’ve never embraced my fears, I won’t have the skill to call my courage to bear.
If you don’t allow life to happen as it’s meant to, then how will you be able to live past the life you know?
Up to this point in my life, I’m a culprit of contributing to generalizations and narrow perspectives; it’s something I’m working toward fixing, don’t worry. I don’t want to fall victim to that here and present all my suppositions, observations, or ideas as to why human beings work so hard to ignore their hearts and minds.
Instead, hopefully, this can offer a perspective to approach the next moment you or I have.
I’m only thirty-three years old, but I feel I’ve lived an abundant life so far. However, I’ve slowed down the last few years, and I realize it’s because I’ve been afraid of something. I’m still not sure what, yet, but it’s slowed me down and contributed to a grand dose of misery and wallowing that I don’t appreciate.
I tell you honestly that I love the hard moments, and I relish those points that test me beyond what I’d ever consciously or willingly wish for. Here’s my thinking: No one of us can perfectly ever know what we need to get better. Take a moment to think back to the roughest, most painful, or excruciating experiences you’ve had and ask yourself the following, “Knowing what I know now, would I have willingly placed myself in this maelstrom’s pathway?”
While there may be some who would do this, I’d argue that most of us wouldn’t. We like determining what our limits are so that when we meet or break them, there’s a sense of immense gratification. But, how do you feel about those times you live through heaven or hell and come out the other end significantly altered? For you, what’s the difference between a controlled, personalized change versus natural, chaotic change?
Hence my love of emotions and everything they bring. You need to feel the life around you, or you’re robbing yourself of all your hard work to live it.
There is an immense vulnerability in this approach, which, in my opinion, is an ability in short supply these days. And it’s not something to be learned from a course, or in any sort of formal setting. Instead, vulnerability is best approached in the moments between moments…when you’re alone with your thoughts…when you find yourself involved with someone or something you strongly relate to…
Spend time with yourself. Feel it all, from extreme to extreme and everything in between. Once you know your initial inclination, then you work on your reactions.
Because here’s the kicker: emotions aren’t the end-all-be-all of life. I would put them as a beginner or starter-pack. Emotions lead us to reactions, which lead us to choices, which leads us to discipline, which leads us to consequence, which hopefully leads us to start the cycle again.
So the next time you start beating yourself up for feeling or thinking a certain way, please don’t. Instead, take stock of it all, learning from your reactions, and use that to make an educated, personal, proactive, positive, and forward-thinking choice. Get to know yourself in all your wisdom, insecurity, magic, and simplicity.
It can only help.