It is always amazing how one theme or another will arise among the majority of clients at the same time. Suddenly it will seem like you are talking about a certain issue with just about every client. From a systemic perspective I’m sure it has to do in part, maybe even a large part, with what is going on inside of me. But none the less, it still feels almost eerie at times.
Recently “bad emotions” or “emotions I shouldn’t be having” have been the topic. I’ve talked with people that have had very sad and tragic events occur in their lives. But when they do certain things, a familiar activity or something stressful or even meditate, they have started crying. Almost universally their response has been “I obviously had to stop doing that.”
Other clients have talked about feeling fearful or anxious or uncomfortable as they learn new ways of being or how to experience another person’s emotions. The assumption is that they must be “doing it wrong” because of the fear or anxiety or uncomfortableness.
There seems to be a persistent view that some emotions are “bad” or should be avoided. I don’t agree with that. I believe emotions themselves are beautiful…the full range of them. They reflect what we are feeling which may actually be fear or anxiety or anger or sorrow. The absolutely incredible thing about emotions is that they exist in so many ways so they can always reflect what is inside of us.
Also amazing is that they don’t need to exist one at a time. It is entirely possible to hold different emotions simultaneously…even conflicting ones. You can be sad and happy or angry and in love at the same time. We are complex individuals. The beauty of emotions are that they are capable of existing at the same level of complexity.
While we hear about people striving to be “whole” or “authentic” or “mindful” there is also a concept that we should always be happy or excited or relaxed….the so called “positive” emotions. But in reality, if we are to be authentic we will acknowledge that we do in fact experience the entire range of emotions at different times. And that is okay!
Another beautiful thing about emotions is that they change…they ebb and flow. The main emotions we have one moment can be different than they are the next day, the next hour, even the next minute. You may have the same emotions but in different levels. You may have a lot of fear and sorrow one day with only a small amount of happiness. But the next day you may feel happier and less fearful and sorrowful. And that will be different again the next day.
Emotions don’t create our reality. They reflect it. Just because we have an emotion doesn’t mean things have to stay that way. So stop trying to avoid the “bad” emotions and embrace them. Honor them as a reflection of your authentic self. You can handle it. Welcome the amazing beauty of having and experiencing a full range of emotions. And revel in the excitement that what you feel today will new and different tomorrow.