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Are emotions good or bad?

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

The word ‘emotional’ conjures up images of hysteria, people flying off the handle at the slightest provocation or drowning in sorrow for no apparent reason.

Our emotions take us by surprise, often making us wonder why we get so swayed by them. Our relationship with our emotions is a complex one.

While emotions by themselves seem mystifying enough, the fact that we have beliefs about our emotions add to the complexity and confusion. Like we see and understand the world through the filters of our beliefs, our perception and understanding of our emotions is dependent on our beliefs too. Our beliefs come from family, culture, social norms and also from our direct experiences in the world.

We are afraid to acknowledge our emotions or express them due to painful past experiences or messages we received about their appropriateness.

Based on our beliefs we label some emotions good and others bad, we give ourselves permission to feel certain emotions while completely avoiding or denying others.

We might believe that suppressing emotions is a sign of strength and that pausing to address our emotions is a waste of time. As a result, we may choose to deny or suppress certain emotions, avoid situations and people that trigger difficult emotions in us, indulge in certain emotions or feel embarrassed or guilty about having them.

Read the following statements and assess where you stand using a scale of 0 to 10 – 0 means completely disagree and 10 means completely agree.

  1. If I allow myself to feel this emotion, I’ll completely lose control.

  2. A strong person is fearless.

  3. Emotions like anger, fear, and hurt are dangerous and destructive.

  4. If I grieve, I will be sad forever.

  5. My tears will not bring someone back, so what’s the point in crying?

  6. Anxiety is not a normal response; I have to get rid of it.

  7. Good people don’t get angry.

  8. If I take the time to feel this emotion, it will mean putting my life on hold.

  9. Having strong emotions makes me a “drama queen.”

  10. If I tell other people how I really feel, they will think I’m weak.

  11. I should be able to control my emotions at all times.

  12. If I admit to having emotions like jealousy others will reject me.

  13. To be acceptable to others, I must keep any negative feelings to myself.

  14. If I am too happy, it will go away.

  15. When I feel anxious or worried about something, its best to ignore it or distract myself.

  16. Don’t show your joy, others will get jealous.

  17. If I ignore negative emotions, they will go away.

  18. When I see happy people, it reminds me of how unhappy I am.

  19. Its ok for other people to be angry, but not me.

  20. I have to get rid of these negative emotions immediately.

  21. I dislike that I am so emotional. Others seem so calm and composed.

  22. I am a cheerful person. I never feel sad.

  23. I am a calm person. I never lose my temper.

  24. I hate it when other people lose their cool.

  25. There is a right way and a wrong way to feel in every situation.

What stood out as you answered the above questions? These questions are aimed at building self-awareness, so there are no right or wrong answers.

Often our beliefs are so deep-rooted that we mostly operate on auto pilot. Taking a pause to reflect on them, brings them into our awareness and awareness is the first step towards transformation.

Emotions are simply energy in motion.

They are neither good nor bad, they just are. They are messages about our state of being and offer opportunities for tremendous growth or great suffering depending on how we interpret them.

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