From the eternity of time, we’ve been taught how happiness, joy, pride, excitement are positive emotions among others. And how sadness, hurt, anger, fear are the bad boys, among a whole lot of others. We were always asked to seek the positive gang and stay as far as possible from the negative emotions. I stay with my happiness but I run away from my sadness as far as possible, that was the implicit rule.
But as I grew up, I realised how my inability to stay with my negative emotions did not let me even enjoy the positive ones. The moment I’d realise that I was happy, even before I could let that sink, a fear of a negative emotion would creep up on me. And I’d start worrying about being happy, even before I could be happy about being happy. My inability to look at one side of the coin also hampered my perspective towards the other. I was constantly on guard, before I knew.
No emotion is positive or negative. All emotions are natural. Each of our emotions are trying to tell us something. If we choose to hear the message, the emotion becomes positive. And if we choose to avoid this message, the emotion becomes negative. It’s not the emotion that is positive or negative, it is my discomfort or comfort about listening to what it has to say. We think that the happier ones are to be heard because they have a very valid message and the negative ones are to be avoided. But you know what, maybe it’s time we realised that even they have a message.
Imagine being hit by someone and feeling fear or anger. This feeling fearful or angry is telling us that this person is doing something to us that we do not like. If we really listen to our fear or anger, we are bound to communicate our distress to this person and/or distance ourselves from them. Yes, we began with something uncomfortable but now we are more protected and safe, just because we listened to our emotions.
Think of your emotions as clues about what’s going right or wrong for you in your environment. Use them to not only understand what’s happening around but also what’s happening within. It is not these emotions that are positive or negative, right or wrong; it is what we do with them, how we act on them. And most often than not, we act in maladaptive ways when we do not listen to what our emotions have to say.
So I recommend you keep a feeling chart close, and identify your emotions from time to time and uncover what they are trying to tell you. Till now everyone would say that you are a mystery, well now you truly are, for one!
And be grateful for your emotions, thank them, listen to them, take care of them. Imagine having a wound without pain, think of how far from healing you’d be then.