Learning Not to Run Away from Emotions
Emotions have a voice. They speak to us and tell us how we are feeling. Emotions help us see what we need in each particular moment. What happens if we run away from emotions, if we ignore them? Well, we can turn off their voices, but not their needs.
We live in such a rush, constantly going from one thing to another. And then we’re constantly hearing and saying things like, “don’t worry“, “all you have to do is …”, “forget about it.” But all emotions have an adaptive function. So if we don’t listen to them, they are stored away and will reappear with more force when they need to come out again. And sometimes unfortunately in the least opportune moments.
For example, sadness tells us we need to stop and be alone. Therefore we don’t feel like going out and being with other people. Joy, on the other hand, encourages us to go out and socialize. Disgust warns us of possible dangers to our body. And fear keeps us on the alert and protects us.
If we learn to listen and not run away from emotions, we will be able to understand what they’re telling us. Thus, by paying attention to them we may get to know a part of us that has been hidden, but has needs we’re not meeting.
What happens if we medicate our emotions?
All emotions in their proper measure are good and functional. However, the problem comes when they get to an intolerable extreme or prevent you living your life. This happens when we ignore them, downplay them, or tip-toe around them.
As we said before, emotions have a voice. What happens then when we medicate functional emotions? We mute their voice. While we manage to shut them up, we miss out on what they’re trying to tell us. If we learn to listen to them, they will do their job and then give way to other emotions.
Running away from emotions looks like medicating or bottling them up with the sole purpose of making them go away quickly so we can always be happy and content, enjoying life. However, this is very dangerous since we’re “forced” to wear masks. We wear them because we feel pressured, often by ourselves, to display emotions very different from how we really feel.
Stop and listen, close your eyes and open the ears of your heart. Give yourself what your emotions are asking for. Maybe you need a few minutes alone when you’re sad or overwhelmed, or space to look clearly at your options so fear doesn’t take over. But we’ll never get there if we silence their voices with an anxiolytic or antidepressant.
To prevent an eventual explosion, it’s a good idea to listen to our feelings so they don’t get stronger and louder. Because otherwise they could turn into voice we can’t control without help.
Learning to listen and not run away from emotions
Living in harmony means opening up our senses, since we live in a society and we adapt as the social beings we are. But more than social beings, we are whole beings, so we need a well-formed, stable identity that fits into the external environment.
Emotions are part of us but they are not “us.” After all, they come and go, some stay longer and others are only with us for a short time. For better or for worse, emotions are not eternal. Their temporary nature is part of what makes emotions what they are; otherwise we would be talking about an “emotional state” and not about an emotion.
From time to time it would be a good idea to ask ourselves, how am I feeling? What emotion might be here with me right now? This little question will help us understand the things that happen to us and also connect with our own emotions.
If I don’t run away from emotions, I now have the ability to create a certain balance. To be well. This balance is based on the idea that no emotion is harmful (in and of itself). It’s simply saying something about what’s going on inside.