Learning to accept the roller coaster of emotions

Photo by L Meyer

Emotions are celebrated and repressed, analyzed and medicated, adored and ignored – but rarely, if ever, are they honoured

Karla McLaren

Being successful in the management of one’s feelings is an ongoing process. Few of us ever reach that vaulted and imaginary finish line, where we have mastered times of inner emotional turbulence. Most of us endure times where we might struggle in managing some of the more difficult emotions that humans experience. It is challenging during these ongoing stressful times to not periodically fall into a dark, dangerous pit of negativity or a false, shrill sense of pseudo optimism often referred to as “toxic positivity”.

Having become more isolated from face to face interpersonal interactions during the “third” wave, it can seem overwhelming to sort out the day to day emotional roller coaster ride that at times seems as if we are hanging on by the tips of our fingers. When we do see people important in our lives, it is all too easy to gloss over or avoid expressing our authentic but unpleasant emotions.

For a period of time, many people were describing the “silver linings” that they were finding during the pandemic. Some of these were profound but many so called silver linings could only be described as inane. But the reality for most of us seems to have become a suspension in time. Where we might be simply languishing. Waiting without an understanding of what might happen next. Finding the future path forward muddied and unclear, along with a plethora of feelings – both negative and positive ones. Some okay and some not so okay.

But they are just feelings. Fleeting moments of emotion that we can learn to manage. The urge we might have when confronted by negative feelings is to outrun them, subdue them, numb them, and this is something that many of us experience but struggle to acknowledge. Fear of pushing others away when we need them the most leads us at times, to downplay those moments when we are experiencing negative feelings.

Humans struggle to listen to one another at the best of times. During the worst of times, this becomes a critical skill to support those we love and care about. Creating opportunities for the expression of emotions regardless of what they are, is a kindness that we could all use more of. Easing the hardship of times where emotional expression is a struggle for someone may be an unexpected gift.

Finding our way forward to accept that emotions are fluid, both positive and negative, and that we all share them as a part of our human experience can only be a good thing. Having a world full of people who will listen to what you need too share, is an even better thing.

Stay healthy and safe!

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