A few days ago I wrote about appreciating the times we live in. It’s wonderful that I, as an Asian American female, get to make all of the decisions about my life. No one else does. I do. Today I want to talk about a different kind of decision.
We humans are naturally emotional beings. That’s a good thing. At the same time we are also highly intelligent beings which is also a very good thing. They only conflict with each other when we confuse the two and try to handle feelings with thinking or think through our feelings. That’s when things get messy.
For example, when someone close to us dies it’s natural to feel huge grief. It’s also natural that experiencing grief makes it difficult to think clearly. But if we actually took the time to feel the grief, and it will take some time, then we would be able to think more clearly about the situation and about our lives in general.
However, most of us don’t. And that’s where we get in a mess. We try to think clearly when we are overwhelmed by an emotion. We don’t take the time to release the emotion. We think that suppressing it will make it go away. And even when we realize that’s not working we still are umwilling, or unable, to cry or talk about it.
So now we know we should cry when we’re sad and we will feel better after. (It may sound obvious, but most people still don’t do it.) But oftentimes in our hectic lives we don’t have the time to stop and let out whatever emotion is overtaking us in the moment. And maybe we don’t even consciously know what is upsetting us. (For example, we just woke up in a cranky mood and don’t know why.) What should we do then?
In these situations I suggest that we can make a decision to stay thinking, stay in the present, and not let our emotions takeover. We can actually decide and choose to feel those feelings later. And stay thinking now. It’s our choice. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not. But it is certainly possible and will get easier with practice.