No one wants to feel bad.  Not only is it not fun, but our bodies are hard wired to avoid it because feeling bad causes us to be vulnerable which means the huge saber tooth tiger will sneak up on us and we won’t be able to heft that spear to defend ourselves….really, that’s what our lizard brain is telling us a lot of the time.  Get with the 21st century, lizard brain! Anyway, we really don’t want to hurt in any form and we don’t want to deal with strong emotions.  I’d say “unless they are the good kind” but manic depression is a thing so the lines of what is good and what is bad had blurred quite a bit.

Part of our problem is that we are very judgmental about the whole good/bad thing.  There are so many emotions identified as bad at this point that the only emotions we identify as good are love (problematic in many varieties but still), happiness, peace, and contentment. Surprise can go either way as can awe.  Most of our feelings are deemed bad or negative and so we attempt to avoid them, medicate them, or force them to be something else or somewhere else.  And good luck with that.  It’s like saying I don’t like my thumb so I’m going to ignore it, bind it down to my palm, force myself to not use it, and punish myself thoroughly when I slip up and grip something.

Our emotions, good/bad/indifferent, are us. They are real. Guilt teaches us who we are.  Misplaced or not it is a means not only to discover aspects of ourselves and our family/culture/history but also a way into healing and personal growth. Anger is the fire which transmutes, consumes, cleanses and hardens us. It’s called the crucible for a reason.  Grief is not only caused by change, but changes us. It is the means by which we translate who we were into who we will be in the next stage of our lives.  There is the “before” us and through grieve there is created an “after” us which we will come to know.  If we aren’t willing to feel these things, if we aren’t willing to discover who we are through feeling them, then we are a hand ignoring our thumb. We are truncated and have lost a great deal of our ability to be. Why we would wish to avoid such richness and treasure, I don’t know.   A little discomfort for a lifetime of life fully and exuberantly lived seems a good deal to me.  Tiger, tiger….