Why emotional health isn’t the same as feeling ‘the right way’
Many of us have an idea of how is best to operate in the world, even if we don’t match that standard all the time.
By this I mean, we know that we shouldn’t gossip, and we shouldn’t say a bad word about someone, or lose our temper, but sometimes, we might find ourselves doing so. The best we can do is know our personal values and do our best to stick to them.
It’s also true that when considering emotional health, there are many harmful perspectives out there that really fail to achieve any good. How ‘should’ you feel about being a Mum, for example? Should you be the most nurturing mother in the world when you’re operating from three hours of sleep the night before and your car has just broken down? No, odds are, your patience will be tested. Does that make you any less of a mother if you’re a little harsh when disciplining your child? Of course not.
‘Feeling the right way’ is often the opposite of being honest with your feelings, and sometimes, it can cause us to lash out or feel bitter and irritable if we feel our needs aren’t being met.
Forcing ourselves to feel a certain way can make this process even worse.
Dealing With Loss
Dealing with loss is a tough one, because noone reacts to it in quite the same way and with quite the same inner timing. Some people feel next to nothing, even during family funeral services, and wonder why. Then, when they have time to breathe, they may then express their emotions. Forcing ourselves to grieve in a certain way, or even if those feelings never really come, doesn’t mean you had better or worse thoughts about that person than are justified.
The only way we can have a healthy emotional response to something, even if that’s as difficult as loss, is if we let our emotions do whatever they need to, and healthily process them at that time.
Dealing With Conflict
Dealing with conflict, especially within our family, can be quite difficult and damaging. Sometimes, it can be best to take a step back or give yourself room to figure out what you think about a situation and who you might support. Conflict is a good time for us to reassert our sense of agency, because it forces us to defend what we believe and what we think. If you force yourself in a certain direction, you’re much less likely to enter that situation with the clear-headed consideration you may need.
Dealing With Happiness
Dealing with happiness can sometimes be as intensive and hard to figure out as dealing with negative emotion. This might sound odd, but sometimes it’s true. When you’re happy, or at least content and satisfied, don’t feel as though you need to ‘make the most of it’ or do all you can to prolong it or overthink about it. Just be.
Meditation exercises can be a great way to avoid getting into your head too much. This might sound obvious, but it’s a sad fact that many people are so unused to feeling content that they don’t know what to do when it arrives, and may even feel like they have to ruin it.
*This is a collaborative post.