“Our Emotions need to be as educated as our intellect. It is important to know how to feel, how to respond, and how to let life in so that it can touch you.”
The roles of our emotions serve an important function and are necessary; even they are painful at times. Emotions help with motivation, information, and communication. If the way we look at emotions are faulty, it will continue to make it difficult to manage our emotions effectively. Read below for 10 common myths that people believe about their emotions. Allow this article to challenge your beliefs to make the necessary adjustment:
1. There is a right way and wrong way to feel in every situation. This is untrue. Everyone experiences different emotions about the same event because their interpretation of that event will vary. Your emotional response will also depend on many factors, such as your involvement in the situation, your relationship to others involved your state of mind before the event took place and so on. It is important to remember that emotions are not good or bad, right or wrong; however you feel in a situation is the way you should feel.
2. It’s not good or healthy to feel angry. Myth. Anger is a natural human emotion. It serves a purpose; therefore, it is good, and it is healthy. What may not be positive or healthy is the ways that you are expressing it.
3. Happy or emotionally healthy people don’t experience painful emotions. This is not true! Even the happiest people have pain in their lives sometimes. Life is about the good and bad, pain and joy. Life is naturally going to have painful moments, regardless of how happy or well-adjusted the person is.
4. Feeling sad is weak. Again this is another myth. Emotions arise for a reason, to motivate you to change something, to help you communicate and so on. The emotion is normal and healthy. You response to the emotion might be health and if this is the case, that is what you need to focus on. What would be the healthier course of action that could help you cope with this intense emotion?
5. Painful emotions are destructive. False. It is not the emotion that is destructive. It is how you chose to act because of the emotion. For example, feeling anger does physical hurt you or anyone else, it is when you choose to act in a violent physical way because of the anger that people get hurt.
6. If other don’t approve how you feel, you shouldn’t feel this way. As noted in myth number one, people will feel different about situation depending on their interpretation of the event and other factors. There is no right or wrong way to feel, ever. IF other seem to judge you for the feeling you are experiencing, remind yourself that the way you feel is just the way you feel, and it is okay.
7. Painful emotions are bad and need to be fixed. Another myth. Painful emotions are painful, but that does not make them bad. Because all of our emotions serve a function, I could actually argue that all emotions are good. Granted, once you realize why emotion is there, you will likely don’t want that uncomfortable emotion hanging around. There are things you can do to help yourself with this but for now, simply recognized that no emotion needs to be fixed.
8. Being emotional mean being out of control. Not necessarily true. Perhaps right nor, whenever you are emotional, you are out of control. We can learn to manage emotions more effectively so that we can remain in control even when you are experiencing strong emotions.
9. It’s not healthy to express your emotions. Quite the opposite. It is not healthy if you do not express your emotions! Expressing your emotions in an assertive way is very healthy. Failing to express emotions, or expressing them in an aggressive or passive way is not effective and can even be harmful.
10. Painful emotions will ever go away if you don’t act to make them go away. Another myth. The truth is that painful emotions often go away without us having to do anything about them. Trying to make them go away actually keeps them hanging around longer.
Were you able to identify any faulty beliefs that may be causing difficulties in your life? If so, I hope that you can feel empowered to start making small changes. If you found these top 5 myths helpful, don’t forget to check back in for the other
Shayla Peterson, LCSW, LISW-CP(S)
Reference: Van Dijk,S. (2012) Calming the Emotional Storm: using DBT skills to manage your emotion and balance your life.