By our very nature, we, as humans, are programmed to exist as impassioned creatures; creatures who ride through waves of emotions on a regular basis. Feelings of happiness are easy; they are the ones to which we look forward with anticipation and the ones on which we affectionately reflect.
However, as each of us knows all too well, happiness isn’t all that exists, and it’s certainly not the culmination of a life’s worth of experiences.
In a world where happiness (something that looks very different for each of us) remains to be the ultimate destination, what are we left to do with the not-so-sought-after feelings? The ones we don’t look forward to experiencing? The ones that bend and bruise us from the inside out?
It has been said that motivation demands a prompt, something to propel us forward and keep us evolving. Well, if this is truly the case, then one could contend that there is no greater trigger than that of emotion.
Stimulation to expand ourselves is everywhere, but most often, I have found that it exists in the places we are least likely to look. The emotions that lie in the depths of life’s ugly underbelly are the ones that force us to progress, and as much as they hurt, they are the ones from which we are meant to learn.
Here are three of them:
The sobering truth is that no man (or woman) is without fear. However, recognizing the things that bring out our discomfort is, in actuality, the best way to overcome what it is that is holding us back.
We need fear to remind us of our humanness and to push us beyond the boundaries we create for ourselves. Fear is a powerful thing, and while it can be paralyzing, when conquered, there is no greater sense of liberation to be had.
There’s a reason why bravery is valued: It is difficult. Like they say, “With great risk, comes great reward.” Fear forces us to look risk square in the eye and throw it a metaphorical F-YOU. That is growth, and when everything is said and done, isn’t that what life’s all about?
Nothing worth having — a love, a friendship or even a career — is without the leap of faith required through forgotten fear.
There is no worse feeling than one that makes you question yourself. Regardless of the cause, to put it not-so-gently, insecurity is a bitch. Once we find the strength to move beyond the pain it provokes, the emotion of insecurity exists as an important reminder that we must truly value ourselves.
The faster we acknowledge and accept the fact that perfection does not exist, the faster we will be empowered to no longer chase it. Loving yourself for who you are is probably the hardest and ironically, most important gift you can give yourself.
The sense of “going at it” alone is one that I doubt anyone will truly get used to, and truthfully, no one should get used to it. Community is a massive part of who we are as beings. We need each other.
However, we also need to develop the capabilities necessary to stand on our own. This is why from time to time, loneliness is actually a useful feeling. Not to mention, it is probably the best emotion when it comes to honestly evaluating the state of relationships in your life.
If loneliness is the norm, rather than a fleeting feeling we are all guaranteed to experience on occasion, it may be an indicator of something deeper.
Your soul knows what it needs, but you must be willing to listen. Enriching your life with individuals who help you to maintain the critical balance of self and community is key. Only we can determine what that looks like for each of us.
Our rawest emotions are as powerful as we allow them to be. Appreciating them as opportunities for growth rather than just for moments of angst may help to lessen the hold they have and ultimately, enable us to further grow as friends, partners and humans.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but ultimately, that’s all part of the process, I suppose.
Photo Courtesy: Tamara Lichtenstein