Ventilating Your House of Emotions

· April 25, 2017
We’re all born with a little house of emotions inside us. A place where our basic emotions reside, the ones that are necessary for our survival – fear, anger, sadness, joy, and disgust. Just like every house needs to be cared for and cleaned, this little house also must be opened up and ventilated. It has to be prepared and ready because more emotions are going to move in, and they’re going to live there, provide you with information, and then leave.

“Knowing others is wisdom; knowing oneself is enlightenment.”

-Lao Tse-

But what if one of these emotions stays inside the house permanently and never leaves? Whether it’s because you’re not letting it go or because it’s repressed, it throws you off balance, makes you unhappy, and affects your emotional health.

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

-Daniel Goleman-

Emotions that come and go

At this point in your life, you are responsible for what happens in your house of emotions. It’s important that you know which emotions live there, which feelings and affects come and go, how they relate to each other, and how they act. The emotions that enter this house will determine how you feel and act.

angel woman

It’s in their nature for emotions to flow. Feel them, identify them, welcome them, and allow them to leave. Whether they’re pleasant or unpleasant, once you feel them, you have to let them go.


Ventilating your house of emotions

Ventilating the rooms in your house of emotions involves freeing the ones that are trapped or imprisoned. For example, if you don’t allow yourself to feel anger and you lock it away inside you, it will grow into rage. And if you don’t manage this rage, it can turn into rancor or resentment. If you lock away unpleasant emotions like envy, rancor, or jealousy in their rooms, they’ll end up hurting you and those around you, because they’ll escape at some point and have some sort of negative effect.

Opening the windows to let new emotions in is part of the dynamic process of life. If you’re not letting yourself enjoy or feel love because you’re chained to the pain you feel inside, you’re denying entry to emotions that would be more useful to you in the present moment.

You can’t prohibit yourself from feeling emotions. Even if they’re unpleasant, they’re important and necessary for you to learn something from the situation. You can use them to redirect your life.

Understanding emotions

All emotions tell us something and guide us in some way. They provide us with information about how we relate to others, ourselves and our lives. If we identify them, put a name to them, accept them, and let them go, we’ll be able to understand them and manage them properly and nothing will obstruct us.

They’re pleasant if you manage them properly; they’re unpleasant and cause suffering when you go against the current of life.

girl holding leaf

You feel disappointment when you realize something you thought isn’t actually true. And it tells you that not everything is the way you think it is or want it to be, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be a source of discouragement. It serves to help you learn. Envy and intense, long-lasting jealousy make social relationships difficult. They can be adaptive, but they stop being so when they prevent you from being happy for other people.

Sadness tells you that you’ve suffered from a painful loss that you have to cope with. You have to be aware of it and learn to live in a different way. Anger informs you that something or someone is an obstacle to getting what you want. Disgust and aversion indicate that you should move away from something that’s unhealthy for you. Fear points out danger and pushes you to protect or defend yourself.

Happiness is a sign that you should repeat the pleasant situation. Surprise promotes openness to learning. As you can see, each emotion informs us of something and makes us feel a certain way, and we have to learn how to manage them.

Gratitude is the capacity to see a gift in everyday things: a friend’s smile, a song, a meal…

Sharing your emotions

The way you manage your emotions will make them either positive or negative. They’re all useful in some way, although it’s true that some are more pleasant than others. But whether they’re pleasant or unpleasant, they will do you more good and less harm if you share them. A good social support system will help you put the unpleasant ones into perspective and spread your joy and happiness.

If you feel trapped in a certain emotion, spend too much time being sad or angry, or feel like you can’t enjoy your social relationships, it’s time to start managing your emotions better. Maybe you can act on your environment and remove the stimuli that caused this situation. But if not, it’s in your hands to improve the way you regulate your emotions so that they can enter and exit the little house in your heart without getting stuck.

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