I have often heard it said…
“Emotions aren’t right or wrong. You can’t deny your feelings.”
I do believe that is true.
Emotions are fickle things; they are like slick salesmen…not always to be trusted or taken simply at face value…
I’m not saying that they are ‘wrong’…but they can be deceiving.
The problem with just always trusting, and acting on, our emotions is that our emotions are not necessarily bias-neutral. They spring from our perceptions of the situations going on around us.
Notice I said “perceptions of”….not necessarily the facts of reality.
Emotions may tell us that certain “thing” will make us happy. Sometimes I can get such warm-fuzzy emotions from a successful shopping trip. However, most times, the reality is that my bank account says I should have found some alternate way to find those good feels. My emotions say “Yes! Buy! Oh, it’s perfect! You SHOULD have this!”, but it’s a distorted reality.
Sometimes my emotions tell me things like “So-and-so is mad at you. In fact, they don’t even want to be your friend. Actually…they never really did like you.” While there might be some truth in the fact that maybe something is off…it could also be that my friend is going through some things completely unrelated to me, and just hasn’t been feeling all that social. The emotions offer me a perspective that might not be rooted in reality.
Emotions also take into account my side of any given story…but not necessarily the other factors at play. I don’t, or can’t, always know the details of what is going on with other people, or their own struggles, and the way all of that might be contributing to whatever situation is at hand. Emotions don’t give me a full-story picture. They only filter through my own lens of interpretation of things.
The biggest red flag for me is when my emotions seem to have a vice-grip on me, and I struggle to shake from myself a nagging feeling of dread, sadness or anger. Those bigger-than-life feelings are usually the ones that, while not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, sure often turn out to be liars about reality. When I can manage to realize the how disproportionate they are, I try to force my brain to engage over whatever feelings are trying to control me, and purpose to choose to not buy into whatever the deal is my innards are trying to sell me on. I try to ration with myself…
“There is no reasonable cause for this fear.”
“That person isn’t ignoring you…they have a busy life too!”
“While you may want to just unload and give that person a piece of your mind…in all likelihood, you are really going to regret it if you do!”
(Totally random scenarios to make a point.)
All that to say… I’m not at all an advocate of “stuffing” one’s feelings. I think feelings are good, and helpful…if we learn to handle them properly. They can be helpful…not necessarily always in giving us the honest truth…but helpful, maybe, in sometimes cluing us in to other things that may be going on internally, like insecurity, fear or simply over-tiredness. Emotions are NOT ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…they just ARE. But the question we have to ask ourselves is often more about the “why” that is triggering the emotion.
Emotions are good, we just have to remember they aren’t the end-all and be-all, and they cannot be the only force that drives us. We are not slaves to our emotions. We have to always remember to pair emotions with reasonable thinking and good decision making. They are a vitally important part of the way we are wired as humans…but not the ONLY part. THANKFULLY we also have a brain to engage with our ‘feeler’. Outcomes of actions are usually better when we are firing on ALL cylinders.
Now, if I can just remember IN THE MOMENT to do so!!
Hey, I’m a work in progress, okay?