No. 25 | The Truth About Emotions
In honor of World Mental Health Day, I decided to write a topic very near and dear to my heart, emotions. Emotions can sometimes get a bad rap. For some reason, we’re taught that to show emotion is to show weakness. If you’re a sensitive person like me, it can be pretty tough to navigate through overwhelming situations without experiencing an onslaught of emotions. You feel vulnerable when you cry in frustration or begin to blush in a moment of confrontation. Emotions can be hard to deal with. They’re finicky, prickly, and sometimes don’t make us feel very good. But they are what help us feel alive. They make us human. And believe it or not, they’re actually good for us. Here’s why:
Emotions tell US what WE need.
Emotions are neurological responses to our internal and external experiences. When a certain event takes place, our brains send signals to our bodies and we begin to feel a certain way — happy, sad, anxious, you name it. In chip Dodd’s book, The Voice of the Heart, he names eight core emotions; hurt, lonely, sad, anger, fear, shame, guilt glad. These emotions are our bodies’ regulators. They signal to us when we are experiencing something good or if we need to make an adjustment to our situation. If we are sad, it’s our bodies telling us that we either need to be consoled by someone or simply release our sadness by crying. There is no such thing as an inherently bad emotion. It’s our reaction to the emotion that either makes it helpful or toxic. If left unchecked, sadness can turn into depression. Or on the flip side, it could help us reach out for help. In the same way, happiness can lead to either laziness or gratitude. Emotions tell us wheat we need but it’s our job to respond accordingly.
emotions connect us to other people.
Emotions have a way of helping us recognize the humanity in others. Everyone has felt sad or happy at one point or another. Because we share those same feelings, we are able to be empathetic towards one another. So for all you highly emotional creatives out there, instead of trying to grow some thick skin and toss aside your emotions for a tough exterior, look at your emotions as your super power. You have the power to relate to others, really connect, and feel what they feel because you share the same language and experience.
Emotions aid in creativity.
Much of the great creative work celebrated by our society is derived from an emotional response. Goya painted war scenes as a way to make sense of his feelings towards the nonsensical violence he experienced in his country. Elon Musk’s famously sustainable Tesla is the product of an emotional response toward the state of the world. Taylor Swift is famous for writing songs as emotional releases towards breakups and growing pains. These creatives and many others like them channeled their emotions into creative work. Their emotional reactions drove them to create. Emotions inspire action. If handled with care, they can inspire us to build things, communicate truth, spin tales, and create change.
Until Next Time,