When I first heard the idea that “bad emotions” don’t exist I laughed. I felt emotions that made me feel bad, and I wasn’t going to change my opinion just because someone else told me different. I guess I am stubborn in that way.
However, this may be one of the most transformational shifts in mindset that I have encountered, and I want to share not only my perspective on it, but the reason I now hold this viewpoint.
Keep in mind, that I am not an expert. All I am about to say is based on my personal experiences, and has helped me tremendously. If you disagree, you are entitled to your viewpoint! We’re all here to be kind and grow, so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
- How do emotions affect us?
Lets face it, emotions can contribute to being quite literally one of the most difficult things we experience in our lives. The reason, is that emotions are part of an “assembly line” to sort and process the experiences we have in life. Sometimes however, our experiences can be processed in an unhealthy way if they get caught at some step along the way.
For me, I was getting caught on something I called “bad emotions”, such as anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, worry, etc. I didn’t know how to process these emotions properly, and because of how I viewed them, I couldn’t process my experiences fully or in a healthy way. I largely attempted to ignore them and pretended they didn’t exist.
This worked… until it didn’t work.
Over time, the volume of these emotions skyrocketed instead of diminishing. I began developing a hateful view of myself, withdrawing from the people closest to me, and falling into habits that hurt me. Slowly I became a version of myself that wasn’t developing toward my own potential, and I began having suicidal thoughts.
- What are emotions?
One of the very first topics my therapist and I discussed, is that emotions are not bad. There is a whole ocean we could dive into about what exactly emotions are, how they function, and their purposes. However, because I am not an expert, I will tell you what my therapist told me.
Emotions are simply messages from our subconscious mind to our conscious mind.
In my own words, emotions are input from our subconscious based on our past experiences.
For example, I when I was young, I was attacked by a swarm of bees. I may feel anxiety when I see a group of bees now because of this experience. This is an emotional response to something that has happened to me in the past.
Why is this important?
Because if we are able to view emotions as they are, we can respond better to them.
Each one of our emotions, or messages, reveals some very important information to us. Anxiety tells me I am avoiding something, worry tells me I am living in the future, depression tells me I am living in the past, etc.
These are just a few examples, and because everyone is different, everyone will have a slightly different way of interpreting these messages.
Regardless of the different jargon used to make these interpretations your own, this crucial information would be impossible to know without these emotions.
How should we view our emotions?
I am glad you asked! Here are three fundamental perspectives I have found to be true for my own life, which I plan on going into more detail later. If you have a different point of view, I would love to hear it in the comments section!
All emotions are valid
This is because emotions are based on your past experiences. In other words, you always have the right to feel the way you do because of the events you have gone through already. I always find this to be a comforting thought.
Emotions are impossible to control
This sounds scary, but its actually quite relieving. Just like its impossible to control your subconscious mind, its impossible to control your emotions. What you can do, is influence them over time.
How do you do that? Check out my thoughts about Letting Go, and Approach Don’t Avoid.
Emotions are not fact
Although they’re rooted in your history, very few situations happen the same. This point is mostly about staying humble, preventing developing “outlandish” beliefs, and is related to your relationships with other people.
Its generally best to avoid assuming that simply because you feel a certain way, that makes it a fact. There is a very fine balance with this, and I realize its probably an oversimplification at current. I would love to hear your thoughts relating to this one!
I find it extremely helpful to view emotions as suggestions from my subconscious. Your emotions are not there to force you into anything, but it can feel that way if you suppress them. The only thing to do, is acknowledge them, listen to them, and make the choice that makes the most sense to you.
- Be patient
These tips are what I have found helpful, but feel free to pick and choose what works for you! If one thing doesn’t help after trying it, that’s okay! Do what works for you.
At first it may take some time to be able to go through these processes, but the more you do this, the faster this will become, and the more growth you will experience.
The important thing is whether you are just starting, or several years down the line, be patient with yourself. Its not about being perfect, its about growing.
I hope this helped! I would love to hear any input you may have in the comments section!