By Tamra Wade
Have you ever thought about how your emotions, thoughts, and feelings all cohabitate?
We are always experiencing a multitude of emotions, thoughts and feelings seeming simultaneously. Sure one or a few emotions and thoughts might have the spotlight, but if you look more closely you will see that these main emotions are typically cohabitating with other emotions.
Cohabitation is the state or fact of living or existing at the same time or in the same place.
Think about a time that you were excited about a party, or riding a roller coaster, a new job or a date. Excitement might have been the overarching feeling, but in there somewhere could have also been fear, anxiety, happiness, pride, and a whole bevy of other thoughts and emotions just hanging out with excitement.
I wanted to bring this to your attention because talking with my adult daughter about this concept she shared with me that she is aware she feels many emotions all in one moment coupled with many thoughts and feelings, but only now understands the fluidity. When she was younger she felt like she was crazy and at times being a fake because she couldn’t maintain one emotion or thought from moment to moment.
As a young woman she thought her feelings were binary meaning one or the other.
She told me that when she was in high school her emotions would flip flop all over the place. She said it felt like one moment she was happy, the next moment she was anxious and the next moment filled with sadness, etc. She thought that she had to pick one emotion and keep it. She thought to do otherwise meant she was a fake or phoney. If the first part of the day she was upset or felt anxious, she would never allowed herself to deviate from first feeling. She essentially was forcing herself to feel one way all day long.
This might sound preposterous, but think about it.
How many times have you tried to force yourself to be happy when you really weren’t feeling happiness? How many times did you feel anger, but shoved it aside to try and replace it with forgiveness? What about feelings of fear and overwhelm shoved aside to give the perception of having it all together?
Societal expectations don’t make feeling our feelings so easy.
Much of society and American culture wants us to believe that we need to be happy all the time, that we shouldn’t feel sadness. If your angry you’ve lost control. Those who feel these perceived ‘negative’ emotions are doing something wrong. The burden and blame lands on the person who can’t keep up, who can manage his feelings.
Please know that this is bullshit.
See the messy bits people often overlook is how our emotions are meant to be together.
They are supposed to hang out with one another. If fact, feeling them, all of them, is vital to our growth and understanding. Humans really are built to feel multiple emotions at any given time. Some fit together while others are merely part of the flow.
I have felt fear and relief at the same time. What about hate and love? Maybe you felt depression and hope? Nervousness and excitement?
The more you allow your focus of what you’re feeling to broaden, the more you are able to witness what other emotions are accompanying your experiences.
Humans, by nature are not binary. Our experiences are much more fluid. When we allow the fluidity without obstruction the more at ease we will be.
Give yourself permission to feel your feelings – all of them.
Be your own quasi science experiment. Check it out. Next time you are hit with a powerful wave of emotions look more closely. Observe what you are feeling. Write it down. Examine it.
I bet you will find you are feeling a multitude of emotions. Note the ones that are the strongest, and the ones that are peripheral. They all are meant to be there. Don’t push them away. Feel them and let them move through you. See what insight you gain when you don’t obstruct them.
I think you will find growth and understanding.