Day 17 – Difficult Emotions

This comes at the perfect time. Yesterday, I was feeling “meh,” which was my default state for decades, even during the 22 years I took a variety of antidepressants. Then I suddenly realized that “meh” is part of the human experience (and not the most challenging part, even). We live in a culture that promises we can attain round-the-clock joy, but that’s not true. And would it even be desirable? How would we know what joy feels like if we didn’t have other emotional states?

That said, it’s so much easier to analyze this intellectually than to practice it. I’ve had a lot of difficult emotions arise lately, largely about a decade-long relationship that I now have second thoughts about ending. My emotions are directly tied to the thoughts I believe about the situation, and they vacillate between anger, sadness, guilt and grasping. Yet I’m also aware that there’s love underlying all of those.

The most helpful part of this exercise is recognizing that the human experience includes a wide range of emotions. While some are more comfortable and enjoyable than others, none is “wrong.” It feels wrong (to me) in the moment, because I’m caught up in my head. But when I can break it down into sensations, or focus on the environment around me (thereby creating a bit of space around the feeling), the intensity eases up a bit. Until the next time… a second later.

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