Emotions are a really, really beautiful part of our experience, aren’t they? Good or bad; ugly or uplifting, our emotions are what make us what we are, and I think that all emotions – even the gritty, guilt-inducing ones (or even guilt itself, as snarling and self-destructive as it can be) is what makes our experience, while it lasts, what it is. Without all of these emotions, our time here would be a little less rich; a little less dynamic; a little more flat.
All emotions are valid emotions. Some emotions are more “enjoyable;” some are “healthier” than others and some are “better.” It is, of course, more preferable to be “happy” over “hurt;” better to be “blissful” than “bitter.” But even the “ugly” emotions matter – from the somber sullenness to the dark despair, edging around the murkiness of depression. From the thrashing anger; the hot hot heat of pure fury… to the scheming, sinful manipulations against one another. From heartache to hate, loss to loneliness, all emotions – and especially the gritty ones – are part of who we are as people. And all of them are real; all of them a valid and rich part of being human.
To feel the full spectrum is to be fully alive, I think. Be thankful that you experience all of them, if you do, because it means you are really living.
Feel pain. And feel sadness. Experience the seemingly bottomless plummet of real despair. But feel, too, the dizzying uplifting plume of very real bliss; experience and ride the sensation of happiness so pure and simple, you can hardly rationalize the moment while you are in it.
(Don’t, by the way. Don’t rationalize “happy.” Just feel it.)
Feel the whole range. Feel and accept the good with the bad; the ups with the downs. Feel all of it.
Know what heartbreak really feels like. When you lose a loved one, sit down with the hurt and let your heart hang a little lower, heavy in your chest. When you experience the hardest parts in life – the sort of things that are an inevitable part of living; the sort of things we all experience, in one capacity or another – really experience them. Feel these things. Put names on the sort of things you are enduring. If you feel angry, feel angry. If you feel heartbroken, feel that, too. If you feel guilty, feel it. And if you just feel lost and disconnected, let yourself sit alone for a few days.
And of course, do not linger in these emotions too long, as lingering here makes for a poor psychological situation, in the long run, but at least permit yourself to feel them – for two days; two weeks; two months. Do what feels right; acknowledge it and respect your need to feel it, and then move on.
To wallow in a “low” (or even cling to a “high” as some do), ardently refusing to acknowledge other feelings – even briefly – is to deny yourself a very important component of what you are. Whether your “preferred” or “neutral” state is “up” or “down,” to refuse to acknowledge the rest of your emotions is to not fully experience your own life.
Know your lows.
But know your highs, too.
Know not only what your high is, but also know the difference between real happiness and the forced, artificial one. Know the difference in emotion between marrying someone you love more than anyone else and marrying for the wedding. (With that in mind, know what it means to love someone more than anyone else.)
Know the difference between the “high” of giving away part of yourself to others and the “high” of a buzz. Understand what matters – what makes you feel good in the long term – and what only feels good for right now. And learn to move from the latter to the former, especially over time, over the course of your life.
And then, lastly, learn to navigate the spectrum. When you learn what each place and perspective is, experience what it is to move between them, and feel that, too.
Experience the sensation of slowing yourself against the bottomless plummet; of reaching your arms out and creating friction where you can; of grasping things and holding on; of pulling yourself to a stop, and then pulling yourself back up. Hold fast to things that keep you from falling again; build a new foundation of good emotions underneath you, and climb upward. Know what it is to do this.
To understand all of this – to understand that our emotions make our sentient experience the rich thing that it is; to permit yourself the privilege of feeling them when we need to; to understand and know what the full spectrum looks like and feels for us, personally; and to be able to navigate – and control our own movement, in a constructive way, across the spectrum… is what yields a truly beautiful and rich life.
I wish this for everyone – not just those in my life, but everyone, everywhere. I wish happiness, and I also wish heartache. I wish that everyone might have the full experience of life, and that they might know a richer existence because of it.
I, of course, most wish for everyone to be happy, in the long run.
I wish for all people to understand how to harness their own emotions and maneuver from one to the other in healthy ways, and to successfully pull themselves back to happiness; to experience more bliss than anything else. I want for all people to be uplifted and lead wonderful, beautiful lives – and to understand that, in order to appreciate happiness and maintain it honestly, they have to live it all, and then choose to pursue bliss against every other emotion.