Listen to Your Emotions

May 3, 2016

Emotions control what you think and do. They can create emotional and physical pain if you don’t pay attention to them. The good news is that they can also guide you towards discovering what works or doesn’t work for you in life.

It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a very sensitive and emotional person or one who’s more rational and logical. Emotions are always present because they are the result of the experiences you’ve lived. Emotions mold you as a person. Take advantage of what you feel so you can improve without letting them completely control you.

“But feelings can’t be ignored, it doesn’t matter how unfair or unpleasant they may feel.”
Anne Frank

There are no negative emotions

We have been taught to classify what we feel as good or bad. The reality is that each emotion plays an important role in your life.

What would happen if fear didn’t lead you to protect what you love? Where would you be if you weren’t afraid to make a mistake?

We confuse destructive or negative expression of emotions with emotions themselves. The way we express emotions can do a lot of harm to us and those around us. But if you block some feelings and don’t let them speak to you, you’ll stay stuck in one place for a long time.

Love and fear: two of life’s basic emotions

Love and fear govern everything you experience. The rest of the emotions you experience are simple variations of them.

The emotions that derive from fear are anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, confusion, pain, loneliness, guilt and shame. Among the emotions born out of love are fun, happiness, caution, confidence, compassion, honesty and satisfaction.

These are the basic emotions. All of the others are simple variations of their intensity. For example, anger can be represented as disgust when it is very slight and as exasperation when you’re on the very edge.

“You have to listen to your head to let the heart speak.”
-Marguerite Yourcenar-

Learn to identify your emotions

To understand the message your emotions want to transmit, first you need to know what you’re feeling.

How many times have you not really known how you felt? In other words, you didn’t know how to explain what was happening to you or why.

girl hugging self

In order to recognize it, you have to take time to focus on yourself. Focus your attention on how you feel and ask yourself about yourself. You might even identify physical aspects related to each emotion you feel.

Pay attention to your feelings and thoughts

Our thoughts follow certain patterns unconsciously. Analyze what is happening in your mind during the day. This will help you be aware of the things you love and the ones you hate.

If it’s possible, keep track of these thoughts and the emotions they produce within you. In a couple of months, it’ll be easier for you to be aware of what you’re feeling.

“Everything we are is the result of what we’ve been through; it’s founded in our thoughts and it’s made up of our thoughts.”

Identify your “small and insignificant sorrows”

What are the small things that hurt you but that you don’t deem important?

Many people go through life minimizing the importance of the things that hurt them. We tend to think that we take power away from them this way, when in reality they just take on more power. Minimizing and ignoring our suffering will only make it bigger over time.

Some of these small sorrows have been with you since you were a child. They are emotions that generate problems for you in adulthood. You won’t be able to move forward until you truly recognize and confront them.

girl crying on the gorund

Be specific about the emotions you experience

We tend to confuse our emotions because we talk about them with very general terms.

An example is depression. Maybe know you are experiencing a distancing from your loved ones, spiritual solitude, boredom or a lack of meaning in your life.

If someone were to ask you, it’s probable that you’ll simply answer that you’re depressed. But as you can see, there are many types and causes. By understanding the motives behind your feelings, it’ll be easier to find a solution for it.

Therefore, try to be concrete and specific about your feelings. This will help you know yourself better and connect with yourself.

Learn to deal with your emotions

Don’t fear your emotions. Don’t fight against, escape or block them out. Welcome them, live, experience and understand them. We were born with them. They aren’t good or bad. They’re simply a part of us.

With time, you’ll realize that they’ll dissipate until they completely disappear when you allow yourself to experience and take advantage of them. Just close your eyes and feel them as deeply as you can.