Emotions are interesting and complicated but when we try to understand and use them to act productively, they can make life even more beautiful. They play such an important role in our lives from making decisions to connecting with others, and trying to suppress or ignore them will just make our lives harder in the long run. In Why Emotions Matter by Tristen Collins and Jonathan Collins with Melissa Binder, they discussed why it’s so important to deal with our emotions from the negative to the positive ones.
“Emotions can guide us to inner wounds we don’t see or understand, and dealing with those emotions in a healthy way is key to healing.”
Ever since I was young, I have always been sensitive. But I never wanted to show or express that to anyone because I was afraid of being judged or looking weak. I wanted to be “strong;” I didn’t want my emotions to be a burden to anyone. I mostly kept everything to myself, especially the negative ones, and looking back, it wasn’t exactly the healthiest thing to do. It was exhausting. I suppressed the negative emotions I had, and I always told myself that I shouldn’t be feeling that way, so I continued to ignore them instead of having to deal with them.
Because of suppressing my emotions, I would burst out crying or have strong feelings of anger. Then, I would talk to my parents about it, and it would feel nice for a moment but the thing was, the cycle would repeat. I wanted to be happy or appear happy because I thought that was what other people needed to see, but instead, trying to always be “strong” and positive made me weaker. I didn’t see the value of those negative emotions. I always looked down on them because I thought that it wasn’t good to feel them but trying not to deal with them made everything worse.
“Negative emotions were just as valuable as positive ones. They all serve a purpose. They all add color to life.”
“Every emotion has a time. Every emotion has a value.”
I spent most of my life chasing happiness and making sure that whatever made me happy would stay that way. But now I know that it’s impossible to stay happy forever without feeling sad, angry, shame, et cetera. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be happy or surrounding yourself with things that make you happy but what this book made me realize is that it’s all about establishing a healthy relationship with happiness. Wanting to always be happy or obsessing over this feeling discounts our negative emotions and as the book said, all emotions matter. Like every emotion, happiness comes and goes so it’s about seeking something that’s greater than happiness.
“Our call isn’t to settle for less than happiness, but to seek something even better.”
“Because here’s the thing: even though we chase happiness, we often struggle to sit in it when it arrives. Instead, we often experience the fear of losing the thing that is making us happy.”
Aside from happiness, the book discusses other emotions such as shame, fear, anger, sadness, and jealousy. In each emotion, they stated what it is, its value, when it becomes a problem, and steps to deal with them. I learned to appreciate each one, and I even learned more about myself.
What’s also amazing about this book is that it provides questions at the end of each section and extended ones at the end of the book to help the reader process and reflect.
Another thing that I noticed was consistent in this book is the importance of vulnerability and sharing your feelings with others. This was the area that I struggled with. Reaching out to someone was always hard for me because I didn’t want to bother them but after reading this book, I realized that we shouldn’t be afraid to express ourselves and be vulnerable. Sharing those will help us deepen and strengthen our different relationships, just make sure that you really trust the person that you’re being vulnerable with. So, if you feel stuck or hopeless, reach out to someone you trust. I also saw this line from the book, and I actually cried when I saw it because it hit me so hard:
“You’re not being a burden—you’re being human.”
As for those people who may have someone come up to you because they’re having a hard time, you don’t have to say anything because one of the best things that you can do is to just be there for them.
“Emotions are a bridge to another person’s soul”
“One of the best things we can do is offer our presence and bear witness to their pain.”
After reading the book, I realized that I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of feelings to process. Of course, I’m feeling much better now, and that cycle ended over a year ago but despite that, my journey in emotional health will go on. What matters the most to me is that I’m taking steps to make myself a better person every day. There will always be some aspects of emotional health that I won’t be good at, and that’s okay. If I’m trying my best, I’m sure that I’ll continue to live a beautiful life.
“It’s essential that you know you are loved for who you are right now.”