A year ago, I wrote that I was all Spirit and Fire and Dew. And I think I am, still. I cry pretty much with every emotion that flickers through my mind, and I’m still a huge advocate of feeling everything to its utmost, whether it’s the deepest of sadnesses or the greatest heights of happiness. Taking all emotions and compressing them down until they seem manageable doesn’t help you at all, no matter how strong your feelings are.
I learned lately that we feel things all in varying degrees of sensitivity. I, in case you weren’t aware, am highly sensitive. When I feel most strong emotions, they sit in my sternum, and physically hurt me. My sadness sits in my stomach, loneliness swirls in my lungs, and when I’m happy, my head spins in the clouds. Emotions are an extremely physical thing for me. So when someone tells me to be more logical about things, it’s pretty hard. It’s like asking me to tie my dominant arm to my chest and act like everything's normal. Most of my friends are pretty left-brained, and so when I’m upset about something, they don’t understand that I struggle to move on from being denied, or that I can’t sit quietly when I am hurt. When I was diagnosed with anxiety and started going to therapy, it was even more important for me to clearly identify and fully feel the emotions that were real, so that I could tell the difference between anxious reactions and me just being emotional me.
However, lately I’ve learned that letting your emotions rule you, rather than being in control of your emotions, doesn’t help you either. When you go out of your way to fully indulge in whatever group of chemicals is firing in your brain, sometimes that exacerbates the problem. If I actively think about what makes me happy, and dwell on what makes me excited, I will probably end up with a more concentrated form of happiness than what would have naturally gone through my brain. If I focus on feeling afraid, or think about the things that make me upset, I will most likely have an anxiety attack. If I let my emotions run away with me, I am no longer “living a life colored with emotions”; I am letting the paint of my feelings cloud my eyes. I am no longer seeing life as how it is, but how I’ve fabricated it.
It all comes down to one word: discipline. Discipline is not a fun thing. I do not like it. I am not one of those people who glory in exercise, or spend their days trying to make their food gluten free and vegan and wonderfully healthy. I like pizza and Netflix. But, if I only ate pizza and sat on my butt and watched Parks and Recreation all the time, I would be very sick. The same is with experiencing emotion. I might feel like I’m super restricted if I am logical in approaching a dilemma instead of going with my gut, just like if I walked into a gym and got on the chin up bar, I would feel resistance trying to get up there. But, if I kept flexing my left side of my brain instead of only doing the “emotional” thing, I might get myself in less situations where I reacted emotionally and got in trouble, instead of taking a step back and evaluating before going “all in.” If I started doing more chin ups, I would be able to to carry more pizzas home (hey, you shouldn’t cut everything good in life out).I’m not saying that emotions are a bad thing. As year-ago Kira said, “Emotions color life, and I have experienced life painted with the brightest yellows and the deepest blues and the most vibrant reds.” But, living life one emotional rollercoaster ride to another is dangerous, and sometimes it’s better to experience life in the most emotional way, but in the healthiest and most balanced way. That might sound more boring than “a life of spirit and fire and dew,” but I think it’s important to learn how to do.