Emotions make us who we are – they’re an integral part of every relationship and experience we have as humans. But how do we make sense of all these friggin’ feelings? Given the ubiquitous nature of these slippery little suckers, they’re hard to measure. I think what we need to do is re-examine our relationship to the “bad” ones.
Because emotional well-being relies not as much on the emotion itself, but on what we do with it. What interests me the most about “bad” emotions is that when we push them aside, they fester, and we start to believe that is your truth. They become amplified. See, our internal pain always needs a place to go. And depending on the amount of safe space available (or lack of it), some of us can go through most of our lives just holding on to that pain. Until we no longer can. And then it starts to eat us, sometimes from the inside out. It starts to show up as neuropsychological, emotional, or physical illness.
What if we started to consider this discomfort as just a part of the price of admission? What if we took on this radical acceptance of emotions? Made it clear that accuracy matters when we are trying to identify those feelings we’ve been trying to fight. What do those feelings mean? What if we invite them to stay, to teach us? Maybe there are no bad emotions, just unaddressed ones.
Now let me be honest: I appreciate right out of the gate that this can happen only in doses that we can handle. I completely understand that we can’t be sitting there all the time just bringing on the shit show of shame and trauma. We’re not that good, nor is it necessary. There is a readiness that has to happen before we just dive in—and it often depends on whether there is a regulated other available to help you navigate the rawness of pain.
I’m starting to realize that emotions are not random; they are data. They tell us something and, when we don’t listen, they turn it up louder and louder and louder until we pay attention. What if we consider that you own your emotions, they don’t own you? And it might just be time to create some space to listen to all of them, on your terms.