All too often we have this idea we need to be perfect beings happily going through life without struggle or difficult emotions. We turn on our happy face because life has taught us people like happy people, they don’t like unhappiness or difficulty. This warped understanding is simply not true – our human experience is filled with emotions and feelings and part of what makes us similar is that we all go through hardships in life. It’s never a problem to experience a feeling, it’s what we do with them that matters. Explore all your emotions in a healthy way by thinking about them and what you do with them once you have them.
Sadness and Being Upset
We’ve been wired to think sadness is bad. Sadness is something everyone experiences, it’s completely normal. If you accept that sadness is neither good nor bad and just allow yourself to feel it without placing judgement on it, then it will be easier to learn and grow from it. If you judge yourself for feeling sad because you “should” be happy, then beating yourself down isn’t going to make yourself feel any better. Experience the sadness, but then learn and move on from it.
Anger and Being Mad
Again, these are bad feelings or emotions. Get mad, be angry, but do it in a constructive way. Bottling up or suppressing the anger isn’t going to help you, it will blow eventually. By allowing yourself to feel the anger, but then commit to finding a resolve, will put you in a better headspace. If you allow the anger to control you and you carry it with you the rest of the day, then it can get ugly. Some people find it helpful to schedule a time to be angry or upset and only do it for a set time period. Once the time period is over, it’s over and it’s time to move on. By understanding how anger can spill over into other areas of your life, you can keep it contained and not let it contaminate other spaces.
Happy and Grateful
Practicing gratitude is wonderful – it helps you focus on the positive, even when things can get difficult. It’s important though to allow happiness and gratitude to flow just as evenly as other more difficult emotions. No one can have happiness forced on them. It needs to come just as naturally. Sometimes we try to force a smile or force happiness, and it just ends up causing more pain. Know that everything, including happiness, is a balance in life.
Uncertain and Disappointed
Life is full of uncertainty. While you can’t control or foresee the outcome of every situation, you can learn to live in the uncertainty. Allow yourself to be tossed in the waves knowing that you can handle any situation as it arises. Too often we want to prepare for everything in life, and it’s just another expectation we can’t live up to. By having the confidence that you will be able to handle any situation that comes your way as it happens, it gives you freedom to live in the moment, rather than the uncertain future.
Emotions and feelings are like waves in an ocean, they come, and they go. By allowing yourself to ebb and flow like the tide, you’ll be giving yourself freedom to experience all life has to offer, in a healthy way.