So, I’ve had a pretty difficult month. Nothing life threatening but emotional pain is pain all the same. I mournfully found myself writing a tearful treatise about the loss of love and how, poor victim cupcakes is doomed to a life of unyielding loneliness. After some time passed and I found myself atop a tear soaked pillow; I became utterly exhausted with my champagne problems and took a realistic look at my life. What a novel notion; look at the reality, the facts, instead of focusing on my wild emotions. Reality becomes so easily distorted during moments of extreme emotion that we begin to buy the goods our emotions are selling. Yes, emotions are helpful but we need to understand their purpose. Emotions do three things-thank you Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.:
Provide us information about our environment: Our emotions are little beacons, indicating things happening around us. Anxiety is a good example. When the anxiety response is working properly it is triggered by a threat, say a wild animal, we respond with anxiety, which tells us something isn’t right.
Provide our environment information about us: Emotions also send signals to others. For example if something makes you angry that something…or someone…will know when you raise your voice and start balling up your fists. So that something can take cover or attempt to soothe you.
Motivate us to act: Finally, emotions motivate us to make behavioral changes. Say that animal comes back and you experience anxiety, hopefully that anxiety will motivate you to get out of there.
Aren’t our emotions just wonderful. They offer us so much information but we just manage to misinterpret and over estimate their power. Yes, negative emotions feel bad but when you break it down, look at what your emotions are communicating, everything starts to look a bit different. Sometimes we have to distract ourselves a little before we can take this realistic look inward, but the search is worth it. I tend to distract with crafts or TED talks. Nothing like trying to feel smart to help you forget your problems.
Be strong and inquisitive my readers and friends.