It has come up in several conversations recently about how much time and energy we spend trying to separate ourselves from our emotions. I usually end up asking the question, “Are emotions good or bad?” The answer is important as it indicates how we view ourselves and believe the world should work.
The assessment that emotions could be good or bad is a thought. We try to sort our feelings into thoughts. By creating the belief that emotional responses are bad we create the illusion that we have control of our feelings. Our brains are fooling themselves. Emotions aren’t good are bad simply because they aren’t thoughts. Emotions serve a purpose – to be felt!
Now before you move onto something that doesn’t cause an emotional response, hear me out. There are healthy times to feel anger (when an injustice has happened, a wrong needs to be right). We have sadness and grief in order to mark that we have experienced a loss of something valuable. Envy and jealousy tell us we are not where we want to be compared to others and if we want something better we need to change something for ourselves. In the same way, prolonged uninterrupted happiness makes us think something might be wrong. If you are more than 12 years old and your mother is still cutting your meat at the dinner table, her love might be an unhealthy blurring of lines between her identity and yours.
Instead of good or bad, I offer the hypothesis that emotions are meant to be felt and are gauges of health. Emotions aren’t the indicator that something is wrong, they are the engine that is driving us forward. Being able to observe, understand why, and find a healthy expression of what we are feeling.
So, are emotions good or bad for you? I would challenge you to look at feelings as neither good or bad. What do you need to do to view emotional responses as indicators of what is going on around you? How might your reactions to things change if emotions are useful instead of something to avoid? – www.rhoadscoaching.com
finding meaning and purpose in daily life