Action 32

I give myself permission to be sad, cry, grieve, and become angry without becoming aggressive. These are all normal healthy emotions. Think of my emotions as “commodities” or “things” that I do something with. The question is what does one do with his/her emotions? Do I “stuff them”? Suppress them? Keep them to myself? Act out? Feel sorry for myself? And if I do these things with my emotions, then I can ask myself: “What is the impact on me and on others?” “What is the toll or price that I and others pay?” “Is this the way I want things to be?” “What can I do differently?”

Instead of burying or avoiding emotions, I can allow or embrace my feelings, without becoming consumed or knocked off balance by them. There are resources to help me cope more effectively with distressing emotions like depression and anxiety. Visit the website for a self-help computer-based cognitive-behavioral treatment.

Useful Information

Keep in mind that I can have an emotion without having to act upon it. Negative and positive emotions can co-occur, and exist side-by-side. Individuals may hold beliefs that inhibit their sharing their feelings. Do you hold any of the following attitudes, and if so, what is the impact on you and on others?

  1. I think you should always keep your feelings under control.
  2. I think you are right not to burden other people with your problems.
  3. I think getting emotional is a sign of weakness.
  4. I think other people do not understand my feelings.

Quotable Quotes

“If I bottle up my toxic emotions, I am more likely to cause unintended harm to others and to myself.”

“Instead of keeping my emotions under wraps, I can share them with someone I trust and who is supportive.”

“Instead of drinking my bad feelings away and letting my bitterness eat me alive, I can ask for help and not let the war define me.”

“I can now accept my feelings without ignoring them or feeling guilty or ashamed.”

“I can handle my emotions constructively and identify and express them when needed.”

“I can put powerful emotions ‘on hold’ until the danger has passed.”

“I can dose myself and deal with my emotions at my own pace, in my own time, and in my own way.”

“I can learn to accept the fact that some circumstances cannot be changed.”

“I tried really hard to make sense out of it, and at one point I realized that I could not have it all. I have realized how small I am; I’m actually much weaker than I thought. And in a way I appreciate having the chance that made me realize my limits; otherwise, I would be more arrogant and take a haughty attitude toward everything. I have to admit that before I thought no matter what happened I would be able to cope with it. Apparently, I was ignorant. I’m not that special. There are some things that I cannot do anything about. I just have to accept that.”

Action 33