I write a lot about emotions and feeling them.  Psychology fascinates me, so it’s not surprising that this is where my writing leans.  But throughout my business and leadership readings, trainings, and experiences, it’s become quite evident to me how much emotion plays a part in our daily lives – and how many people dismiss it as playing an important part in our daily lives.

In a TED Talk presented by Harvard Medical School Psychologist Susan David, she performed a study of 70,000 people and found that 1/3 of these people judge or actively try to push aside “bad” emotions such as grief, anger, or sadness. 

Normal, natural emotions are now seen as good or bad.  But when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. 

Like, whoa. 🤯 She is so right!  And honestly, it bums me out.  I believe all emotions, good or bad (and everything in between and outside of), are part of life and should be felt, fully and completely.  It’s not what we do in life that makes life worth living, it’s the emotions that come with the doing that make us feel alive.  David validates this:

When we lean into the discomfort it helps us overcome it that much quicker.  The negative emotions help us feel alive.  Builds resilience and is a true driver to authentic happiness.

Some people say we can control how we feel.  I only partially believe that.  I cannot control how something I perceive hits me emotionally.  But the moment it hits me, I can manage that emotion.  Although I do believe that you can adapt and become more resilient to different emotions over time.  David explains in a way that may resonate more with a logical thinker:

Emotions are not directives.  The emotion is a data source.

Sometimes, we have a hard time naming specific emotions, but identification is essential.  When we label our emotions accurately we are able to discern the precise cause of our feelings activating part of our brain that allows us to take steps to move forward.

Personally, I am feeling a lot of different emotions during this pandemic.  It may seem that the “bad” is outweighing the “good”, but I guarantee you there are more wins in the day than you are giving yourself credit for. Yesterday, I went for a long walk.  Fresh air and exercise – win/win.  Got some ice cream – win.  Helped a friend with a problem he was having at work – win.  Woke up rested – win.  You get the picture.

I do encourage you to watch the full TED Talk, because Susan David has some really, really great quotes that I just couldn’t include them all here without completely plagiarizing her genius. (Although, I would totally love to take credit for some of her statements.) 😆🙌

At the end of the day, we’re all going through some tough shit here. You cannot control what others feel and how they deal with those emotions, but you can control how you deal with what you feel. So lean into it, own it, and work through it. 💖 How you feel will radiate outward. If we truly want to become “stronger together,” it starts within each of us.*

*Stay tuned for a post with more on this!