I’d like to continue our discussion from yesterday’s post “Emotions are indicator lights.” In some cases, emotions are not indicating something that needs to be addressed, but rather are highlighting an experience that you’re having and are fully present to.
A very important friend of mine is moving away, to the east coast to live at the beach (her lifelong dream). Last night we had a “farewell/launch” dinner for her, and when we embraced to say goodbye, we both were sad and crying.
We weren’t crying because there was some issue that needed to be addressed….we were crying because we both would miss each other, miss the regular face-to-face chats and meals, the connection that physical proximity provides (that is hard to replicate through the internet/telephone) — simply put, we were sad to say goodbye, but happy to see her launching the next phase of her life.
Here is what she shared with me, “When I feel sad that I’m leaving my friends, I don’t think anything needs to be addressed – there is nothing wrong; nothing needs to be changed. I am just experiencing the feelings around loss – to me they are sweet and tender and vulnerable feelings and a big part of who I am. Now, what I choose to do with those feelings in the long run is something to consider, but if I’m being present to the moment, I feel the sadness, know it as a reflection of the fullness of my heart and then get in my car and move on.”
I’m sharing this with you today, because it’s important to be able to discern what type of emotions you’re having. If you’re having emotions that are indicator lights pointing to an underlying issue, then “just being with them” will not resolve them — you will have to address the cause.
But if you’re having emotions that are the embodiment of your experience in that moment (i.e. sad when someone leaves or dies, happy with tears of joy when a child graduates or is born, etc.), then there is nothing to do, but be with the feelings.
You might ask, “How do I do that?”, and it’s a great question. To be with your feelings, you allow yourself to fully feel what you’re feeling, without judgment or evaluation. If you’re sad, then be sad. Cry, weep, moan, sob, whatever feels right to you — until you feel calm again. (Note: in cases of grief, like when a loved one dies, the sadness normally isn’t processed just once, but in waves, over and over again, until it subsides. That is completely normal.)
The key point in my posts for today and yesterday is that emotions are healthy and natural — an integral part of being human. They are not something to be shunned or seen as “unevolved” feelings, but rather are integral emotions that we can welcome (either as indicators, or as expressions of our experience).
And so I’ll end the same way I began, with a wonderful lyric from a country song, “You can feel bad if it makes you feel better….”
What are your thoughts about emotions? Please share with us.