Emotions get slammed a lot as being a negative aspect of us human beings. Being emotional is seen by some as a bad thing, a weakness, but whether we like it or not we all have emotions and it is healthier to accept that we are emotional beings. Emotions are neither good or bad, they just exist and it is not helpful to judge your emotions. Emotions don’t last forever, no matter what the emotion is or how intense it feels it will fade eventually and be replaced by another emotion.
There is a difference between having an emotion and acting on an emotion. You cannot choose your emotion but you can choose your reaction to it. It is okay to feel raging angry with someone but it is not okay to scream and shout at them and make them cry. When an intense emotion arrives you do not have to act on it, all you need to do is recognise the emotion, feel it and let it pass.
Emotions are not facts, just because you feel it, it doesn’t mean it is true. When emotions are very powerful they feel like the truth but they only feel like the truth, they are not the truth.
When thinking about healthy perspectives on emotion, it can be helpful to think about the white bear experiment. If someone tells you that for a minute you can think about anything you like but you must not think about the white bear, you will instantly be thinking of the white bear and be thinking that you mustn’t be thinking about it. This is very similar to obsessional thinking and the thoughts that say, “I am a terrible person if I think X” and then you can’t help but think X. When we have certain emotions that we feel are wrong or bad we may think, “I’m having this emotion, I don’t like it, go away” and we may do all we can to push it away but this is not effective, the emotion will keep coming back to us.
You cannot get rid of emotions, emotions are there because they serve important survival functions. The best way to deal with emotions in a healthy and effective way is to be willing to radically accept your emotions as they arise.