Emotional health does not equal happiness.
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
We have been conditioned from a young age to believe that being emotionally healthy means being happy all the time. We might even feel we are owed happiness, that we deserve it, and we are entitled to all the happiness the world has to offer.
We are taught that circumstances and other people control our emotions. Other people hurt our feelings or bring us joy, and things make us happy or make us sad. When our life is going good we feel good, and when our life is going bad we feel bad.
The worst lesson we’ve been taught is that the goal is to be good and the goal is to be happy. Negative emotion should be fixed, and we can fix it with the stuff in the world around us. The problem with this is that no one can be happy all the time! It’s impossible. In fact, we wouldn’t even know what happiness was if we didn’t experience sadness. We wouldn’t know peace without stress, or joy without fear, or success without failure.
We also try and solve this “problem” of unhappiness by teaching those around us how to act towards us, by teaching them how to behave in a way that doesn’t hurt us. We try and find people that will make us happy, but they’re terrible at it because it’s impossible. We are taught to find a good husband or wife, find friends that make you happy, have kids and a nice house because this will bring you joy. We blame others when things go wrong or when we aren’t happy, either playing the victim or the villain. We blame or bully or yell to try and change them. But it never works, because they aren’t the reason we are unhappy.
When we are trying to be happy all the time and it ultimately doesn’t work, we seek for the false pleasures we find outside of us, external “fixes,” like chocolate and Instagram and shopping. But these don’t work either, or the effect of happiness is very short lived. We need more and more and more as time goes on to feel the same amount of joy they initially brought us, leading us to ill-health, spending beyond our means, and faux connections.
Life is 50/50. We are going to experience both positive and negative emotion about half of the time. And nothing has gone wrong when we do. Nothing is wrong with you because you feel negative emotion. It isn’t a problem to be fixed with food or phones or drinking or pornography. It’s life. It’s being human.
We WANT to experience all the emotions. We want to experience the fullness of our life on this earth. And when we allow negative emotion into our lives, and welcome it without avoidance or reaction or resistance, we open the door for even greater positive emotion. Your greater ability to feel negative emotion then grows your ability to feel positive emotion.
And when we stop blaming those around us for how we feel and take responsibility for our emotions, we gain all our power back. That is emotional adulthood. We have full control over how we feel and how we act. This is the best news, because when you have all the power over yourself and your emotions, you can begin to change how you feel.
All of our emotions begin with our thinking. We have 100% control over our thoughts, and therefore we have 100% control over our emotions. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have the ability to generate any emotion, that you can then generate happiness all of the time. Remember, that isn’t the goal. The goal is the full human experience on earth, complete with the good and the bad. And when you aren’t afraid of the bad, you won’t feel the need to rush away from it and so much more of life will open up to you.
What if you weren’t afraid to feel failure? Stress? Embarrassment? Humiliation? What if you didn’t hide from it? What if you set huge goals, and moved forward no matter the outcome? Because a feeling is just a vibration in your body. It can’t hurt you. Did you know this? So if you weren’t afraid of feeling, and you were willing to feel any feeling, what doors would you open? What would you create for yourself? What goals would you set that you’ve been too afraid to set?
We weren’t created to feel happiness all of the time. And when we can accept that life is 50/50, when we embrace all the emotions, when we welcome them and realize they are nothing to run away from, then the negative doesn’t seem so negative anymore. Crazy right? In our quest for happiness, we are actually creating so much more unhappiness. Do you know how much energy we use in trying to be happy all the time? What could we use that energy for instead, if we were willing to feel it all?
I believe in a higher being, a Heavenly Father who created all things. I believe we are here to learn and grow, to love and serve. We are here to find happiness, but also to go through trials and tribulations. We are here to help others and help ourselves, to have families and strive to evolve into a better version of our already amazing selves. And allowing that complete experience is what gives us emotional health. That full experience of life on this earth— the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the positive and the negative.
Let it all in. Feelings are for feeling my friends. You got this.
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