Emotions inspire revulsion for some people. For others, splashing around in the emotional seas is all-too-familiar territory. Whether we like it or not, navigating life comes packaged with the full gamut of emotions that have the potential to throw a serious wrench into our lives if we don’t know how to properly deal with them.
Resentment can cause us to clutch to the past and to store bitter memories. Guilt can cause us to live a life that is painfully not one of our choosing. And anxiety can calcify the fight-or-flight impulse more enduringly into our emotional DNA. But don’t be fooled: such stereotypically negative emotions aren’t the only ones that can make us feel out-of-control. Unbridled optimism, for example, can exact a similar toll by serving as a means to distract us from a reality that we really ought to face.
Plenty of people are quietly terrified by emotions and their power to sweep away our bearings and wreak havoc in our lives. And for good reason too, they can be very destabilizing!
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to lean towards one of two unhealthy protocols when it comes to emotions.
a) Ignoring Emotion: This is the person that stuffs feelings underneath the rug, doesn’t like being questioned about their feelings, and is mostly content to cope with life by hiding emotions behind a curtain of obscurity.
b) Drowning in Emotion: This is the person that feels all the feels, all the time. They might attest to feeling locked into an emotional rollercoaster with wild, theatrical ups and downs. They may find themselves ill-equipped to process emotion, so they cope by simply throwing themselves into the lawless experience of it.
While these opposites ends of the emotional polarity are extremes, you will likely find a resemblance of yourself in one of the two ends of the spectrum. Of course, both extremes are not ideal because neither are very courageous or responsible. Those that ignore emotion are attempting to flee or escape it (i.e. cowardice) while those that drown themselves in emotion aren’t taking into account their duty to preserve a healthy emotional equilibrium in order to function in daily life.