Understanding and Accepting Your Emotions
We all cope with emotions in different ways. Learning to understand and accept your emotions for what they are and what they can teach you is an essential life skill, one that can show you a great deal about yourself and help you grow as a person, in all areas of your life.
Choosing to ignore or push aside your emotions, instead of accepting them for what they are, is a sign of mental health trouble and can lead to serious health consequences, which you may not realize.
Truthfully, this applies more to negative emotions, the one where pain, hurt, disappointment, etc. form the basis. And those events/memories don’t have to be recent as our brain stores all of them. But, we typically hold on more to the negative ones -our brains are wired this way, unfortunately.
One of the most common reactions to emotions, especially negative or uncomfortable ones, is to ignore them or reject how they make us feel. Because they make us feel bad, we choose not to handle them, which means we are not adequately dealing with them. It’s said that negative emotions can feel like you haven’t eaten for a week.
One of the perils is that we try to rehash the negative event and trying to make sense of it; however, this just cements these memories more into our brain. Instead of accepting and processing these feelings, we may stuff them down or numb their effects with self-destructive behaviors like drinking or using drugs, sex, or spending; you can get angry and lash out or retreat and isolate.
While it is not healthy to walk around feeling bad all the time, that is not what emotional acceptance it all about. Emotions are feedback from your mind and your body. They give you valuable information that you need to pay attention to. When you ignore or dull these feelings, the problem still exists and will find another way to manifest in your life.
Emotional acceptance is allowing your emotions to occur without judging yourself for having them or trying to change how you feel. What you may not realize is that those emotions are there, waiting to come out. You can keep pushing them aside but they can consume you, either depleting your or leading you to react like Mt. Etna – neither is a good result.
Emotional acceptance requires that you stop trying to control your feelings because the emotions themselves cannot harm you. You have control over how much they influence your choices and decisions, so allowing yourself to feel them cannot harm you.
Emotional acceptance is not giving in to your emotions. It is, instead, a decision to stop struggling against them. You are putting down your weapons and allowing yourself to feel them so that you can move on from them in a healthy manner.
Acceptance v. Resignation
Accepting your emotion does not mean you resign yourself to always feeling this way. Just because you are sad now does not mean you give up and want to remain wretched forever. It is not about wallowing in your pain or negative emotions.
Instead, acceptance means that you are aware that this is how you feel right now. It is what is necessary for you in your life currently, and in the future, things will change, and you will feel better. When you accept your emotions, you do not hold on to these feelings but instead experience them in the present and become ready to move past them later.
If you don’t resolve them, or find a way to put them in a space that they no longer hurt you, they will take control; plus, you need to see that you have the ability to do so, thus raising your esteem and confidence for future events.
Why You Need to Practice Acceptance
Emotions are not something you can discard just because you do not like them. Your mind and body feel these emotions for a reason. Erasing them completely would not be healthy for you. Emotions are there to tell you what to avoid, what to value, and what makes you happy.
They help you decide who is essential in your life and how you should spend your time. Therefore, learning to listen to and accept your emotions can teach you a lot about what is essential in your life, if you know how to listen and stop trying to push them away.
So, you might ask if there is way to deal with these emotions safely? The answer is yes, but it is going to take time and practice. Changing habits is not easy but doable.
Here are a few steps you can take:
- Take time to assess your emotions, and really being honest, no matter how uncomfortable it feels. We will always feel something first before we’re aware of our thoughts, i.e. stomach, short of breath, heart palpations, lashing out at others, etc.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings – this releases held-in emotions, plus you can make more sense of these situations.
- Talk with others, whether your family or friends, or it could be a therapist or coach. Getting outsider opinions can help us rethink ours.
Emotional acceptance frees you from the constant stress of struggling to mask or ignore what is troubling you and instead releases your emotional energy for healing and affirmative action moving forward. Identifying how you feel and then determining the purpose of this emotion can tell you a lot about yourself and your life. Learning to accept your feelings is crucial for your emotional health and well-being and can set you free from the burdens you carry. Plus, you will feel stronger to deal with anything that comes you way.
“It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” — Aisha Mirza
Reach out if you’re wanting help with managing your emotions or improving your life. You don’t have to go it alone.