How good are you at managing your emotions?

If you are trying to answer based on how often you feel a negative feeling, it might be time to think about this a bit more.

Many times when I talk with clients I am reminded that most of us think that being good at managing feelings basically means being able to “solve” bad emotions quickly and to mostly feel good. 

But this intolerance to negative emotions is actually a big part of the reason why we are not good at processing our feelings. Because it creates a barrier, a strong resistance to what we are experiencing. 

And the result is that we often avoid our feelings, we minimize them, we don’t admit them to ourselves, we push them down, we distract ourselves as much as we can.

Or at the other extreme, we are so overwhelmed by our feelings that we get lost in them, feeding them with overthinking, identifying with them, or acting on them with no control. 

And this is understandable, because feeling negative emotions is hard. It can be uncomfortable, painful, or anything in between.

Unfortunately, we are not wired to experience happy feelings all the time. Negative emotions will always be a part of our life, no matter how bright and successful we are. And even if we think we can get around experiencing the discomfort, there is actually no shortcut. 

Being good at managing emotions looks more like being present to what we are feeling without judging it or trying to change it right away.