All emotions, positive and challenging alike, are messengers. When we suppress them by jumping quickly to distract, deny their existence, ignore them—we miss the good stuff.
The thing with emotions is that paradoxically, when we turn toward them and truly feel with gentleness and curiosity, they can actually run their course. They have a beginning, a middle, an end. And when we are receptive to the messages they carry, we can properly feel, integrate, and make necessary changes in our life. Setting boundaries, advocating for meaningful social change, connecting with loved ones, casting votes, increasing self-care, finding greater balance, asking for help, saying goodbye, exercising gratitude, and so forth.
When we turn toward our emotions and create space to feel, particularly with anger, we find that it is often accompanied by other emotions and messages as well. Longing. Hurt. Fear. Loneliness. Insecurity. Grief.
If we approach a tough emotion and shove, ignore, distract—we miss all of this. We miss not only the important messages they carry, but the relief of feeling and releasing our core emotions under the surface.
So turn toward the tough emotions bravely. Be curious. Be gentle. Withhold judgment. And know that you’re not alone. In a time of so much collective pain, there is also an opportunity for collective healing and greater understanding. But…and I’m really sorry to say it…you do have to feel it to heal it.