Most of us consider emotions as good or bad. Happiness or love versus stress and sadness. And we treat “bad emotions” as truly horrible things we must judge and avoid feeling at all costs. We push aside bad emotions, we deny them, but what we are really doing is giving them more power to control us.
Bad emotions become stronger when we ignore them, bad emotions can even turn into diseases, like heart problem or depression. Denial is unsustainable, we don’t need to be OK all the time.
There is more to gain if we accept all of our emotions, the good, the bad and the ugly. When we push aside normal emotions, we lose our abilities to develop skills to deal with them and to deal with the world as it is, a very messy place. How many of us have said “I don’t want to try because I don’t want to be disappointed” We must not run away from our emotions, not even disappointment, because tough emotions are part of our contract with life.
You don’t get to have good grades, positive relationships, a great career or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.
Research shows that radical acceptance of all of our emotions, even the messy ones, is the key to resilience and authentic happiness, because our emotions contain information about the things we truly care about.
How can we start accepting our emotions? Words are essential. We should’t stop at “I’m stressed” we should try to analyze and describe why are we stressed, pay attention to detail, embrace every aspect of the emotion, use the information that each emotion is trying to give us about ourselves. Because in seeing ourselves we are able to see others.
Based on the TED Talk “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage” by Susan David, at TEDWomen 2017