Our Relationship with Emotions Is Complicated

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Our emotions drive us—they can be positive or negative, but they are essential to living a fulfilling life. It’s important to manage them if they become overwhelming, but sometimes it’s better to let them take over and immerse ourselves into them.

When we are experiencing a positive emotion, we are more likely to let go of our controlling self because, in those instants, the brain is in tune with the feeling—we recognize that something great is happening with both heart and mind. If we think about the last time we felt this way, we can probably remember our heartbeat and a sensation that time stopped.

Looking back, I can see how the intense emotions I felt when I was younger were connected to moments that marked life-changing experiences and helped me become the person I am now. They were raw emotions and belonged to a young girl who was eager to live an adventurous life, full of challenges, victories and happy endings.

I grew up restless, always looking for the next challenge and complicated relationships. I cried a lot because I never chose the easy path and had to face many obstacles to make things work. I embraced all my emotions, even the negative ones—I never escaped from them. When we are suffering, our brain tells us to reject the pain and focus our attention on other things, but the feeling will always be there in the back of our minds. Maybe, I cried too much at times, but I did it to avoid unwanted emotions coming out later—because they always come back if you escape.

Becoming an adult is a different challenge—life gets busy with countless responsibilities and boring working days. I often get nostalgic thinking about the careless life, a time when intense emotions were able to get in and out without bumping into rational thoughts. When we were young, we craved strong emotions, but as we age they seemed to get in the way of the busy life—they are seen as unwanted guests because there is no time to stop and feel them go down deep inside of us. We have so many other thoughts which occupy our minds: work, mortgage, kids—we don’t have time for emotions because they take too much space.

But the truth is that we all crave intense feelings, and often we look for them in movies and books, so we don’t have to deal with them in real life. Maybe, if we made space for emotions without judgment or fear, they would come to us. They wouldn’t be the same as the ones we experienced when we were young, and we felt the first heartbeat looking at a schoolmate, but they would be beautiful in their own way.

It’s essential to create space inside you for your emotions because a time will come when they arrive, turn your life upside down, and you won’t be able to deal with them. If you need to cry, do it. If you are blocking a feeling, let it go. If you don’t know how you feel, investigate what is going on. Let your heart glow if you are happy, or let it feel the pain if you are suffering. Emotional intelligence is a powerful tool to help you make the right choices, live your life to the fullest and connect with others.