Anger, joy, guilt, sadness … Emotions are part of life, but it is not always easy to welcome them. Should we operate by “feeling”, or should we control them? The issue is important because knowing how to manage your emotions is a bit like learning to be happy.
When emotions hurt
“Three-quarters of the time, as we don’t know how to use it, it hurts us. So we try to control it or repress it, or even not to have it anymore and suddenly, we cannot be happy “explains doctor Etienne Jalenques, psychiatrist, who has spent his whole life studying how emotional life can disturb us.
Don’t stifle your emotions
Some react for example by trying to stifle their emotions as one screw a lid on a boiling pot. They seek to bury in themselves their movements of joy, fear, sadness, anger.
Psychiatrist Sophie Braun says in her book that many young ultra-sensitive people “barricade” themselves to hide an injury.
But these protections do not solve anything and may even worsen the harm. Sooner or later, the returned emotion can resurface. “The defenses explain Sophie Braun, often manifest themselves by excessive reactions, anger, nervousness that one does not recognize, like a wounded animal that would kick to keep an aggressor away”.
Analyze and express your emotions
What then to do with all these emotions that hurt us? Perhaps start by identifying them. “Emotions, we should not be as afraid of them,” says Sophie Braun, who advises rather “to examine and heal what torments us”.
On a daily basis, we can step back and ask ourselves: Why am I so upset this morning? Why this feeling of aggressiveness? Why am I so moved when I go to this place? Where does this sadness come from?
The ideal is, of course, to be able to express all this to someone: a close person, a friend, a shrink … Expressing your emotion already allows the tension retained under the lid of the pot to escape.
It also allows us to get to know each other better and understand what is inside us. “Fear, sadness and bad feelings very often come from childhood and adolescence continue to act because they are stored in our emotional software,” says Dr. Jalenques.
In his therapy of “Emotional Dynamics”, the psychiatrist, therefore, proposes to bring up these emotions: “Recognizing and finding those that have been blocked or enlarged in our past and managing to express them fully is making them new, alive, mobile and evolving our inner universe, “he explains.
Don’t be overwhelmed, set limits
Another avenue for managing fear and aggression, in particular, is to learn to be respected by others. Each of us needs a minimum of internal security and a space of freedom to develop and be happy.
If you are being harassed, threatened or assaulted, it is, therefore, important to say stop, to remind the other that he is going too far. Do not try to be “nice”, be true (it is the title of a book)! Because if you never dare to tell your neighbor that you dislike something, you will accumulate resentment and pour it on your loved ones who have nothing to do with it. Or else you will explode violently one day, to the dismay of those around you.
“We confuse aggressiveness, which is natural, with violence,” said Dr. Jalenques.
Putting limits is also knowing how to stay in your place, not absorbing other people’s emotions like a sponge. Sophie Braun reminds young people that they do not have to take their parents’ concerns with them. Everyone has their place! “If the others go wrong, going wrong with them is useless”,
Emotions are not everything!
Taking a step back, analyzing and expressing our emotions also allows us to put them in their place: emotions are not everything. There are many other dimensions and potentials within us: intelligence and reason, will, relational life, the body, ethical choices … We are body, heart, and mind.
You can also get carried away by sadness, resentment, enthusiasm, love emotion, nostalgia, etc. The results are not always brilliant: anger, rage, thunderbolt, madness … often lead us where we did not want to go.
We could compare our emotions too deep or more superficial currents that drive a boat.
A savvy sailor knows that he must take these currents into account, but that he cannot be totally carried by them at the risk of drifting and completely losing his course.
He must put a keel and hoist sails to stay in control of his route and make the best use of favorable winds.
Likewise for us: while taking into account our emotions, we must act and move forward in life by keeping in mind our objectives, by exercising our will and our intelligence.
This good “management” of emotions is crucial in our relationships with others. These relationships can be the source of many emotions, both positive and negative.
Anyone who never let’s appear or never expresses any emotion may find it difficult to make deep and satisfying contact.
But conversely, the one who reacts “around the clock” and sends the others the slightest emotion, risks unnecessarily attacking his loved ones and causing painful conflicts and misunderstandings.
In love matters, emotions can be very strong: but can they be the only criterion in the choice of love? Emotions can be fleeting, and remain different from.
In a word, if your heart beats as soon as your neighbor looks at you, this is not necessarily why you have to leave everything to go with him!