Monday, November 30, 2015

Experience the full range of feelings

Nobody likes to feel pain and sadness. It goes without saying that we much prefer to experience joy and happiness.

Here's the deal, though: If you and I try to numb out the pain so we don't feel the sadness, we will also numb out the joyful parts of our lives—or at the very least, tamp them down. When we are intent on pushing down one emotion, it affects all the other emotions. It's really impossible to simply select to experience this or that emotion while shutting out others. We can try push down the sadness, but it's still there—and will either leak out in strange ways little by little or erupt in a big way some day. Emotions don't come with a control panel that allows you to select one over another.

Far better that we try to be real about all our emotions, experiencing them to the full extent. Of course, it isn't fun to feel sad. However, if we are willing to face the sadness and walk through the grief and pain, we most likely will learn some things. Perhaps we'll learn things about ourselves; for example, we might realize that we're stronger than we thought. Or we might learn who our real friends are—and be totally surprised at how wonderful it can be to be cared for by dear friends when we're going through a tough time. And, eventually, when we walk through the grief and sadness, we will come out on the other side. There will be a day again when the sky is blue and you can hear the birds sing again.

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