The article emphasizes why it is important to “lean into” our emotions instead of trying to avoid them, which we are often told by society in phases such as “Don’t cry,” or “There’s nothing to be sad about.”
Here are some reasons why it can be healthy to feel instead of concealing:
When you numb sadness you also numb happiness and joy.
There are times when people avoid negative emotions by numbing them through negative or maladaptive behaviors. However, no one can selectively numb emotions. Because of the range of emotions we experience it’s impossible to selectively numb an emotion without number the happier ones too.
When we experience pain, it makes feelings of joy that much more wonderful. It can be helpful to view emotion as a wave in an ocean that is always ebbing and flowing, because emotions don’t last forever. Instead they teach us what we need and help us to grow as people.
Struggling with your emotions often leads to more suffering.
When we engage in maladaptive coping strategies, we are essentially putting a Band Aid on our pain, which only temporarily relieves it. Instead of attempting to numb our emotions, we can learn to observe them and pay attention to the messages they are sending us.
Here’s an example of how to do this: “Let’s say that you see a friend pursuing their life-long dream of writing a book and you are filled with jealousy. If you take a moment to get curious about what this emotion might be telling you, you may discover that you too are passionate about the pursuit of writing. Or perhaps you are filled with anger and resentment towards a partner. Often feelings of resentment are the result of someone not respecting your boundaries, or an indication that you are not effectively communicating your needs.”
Processing and experiencing your feelings is part of having a full life.
The uncomfortable emotions such as sadness, hurt, and anger are all natural and healthy feelings for a full human experience. When we attempt to avoid this, we are attempting to avoid living a full life.
Part of having a full life is to feel all of one’s emotions, the comfortable and uncomfortable. No emotion is bad. All emotions are necessary.
One way to effectively cope with uncomfortable emotions is to engage in self-compassion. Striving to treat yourself the way that you would treat a loved one when they are feeling an uncomfortable emotion can be a wonderful step toward the path of healing.
Written By: Jasmine Tyson