Strong emotions cause strong reactions.  And for some reason, we seem to think that they are similar to diseases or illness and that we should do something to remedy them whether they are happening to us or to someone around us.  The urge to help, to console or to remediate things is natural and many times useful and necessary in a situation.  Calming down a hysterical person when that person is needed for some action or when their behavior might cause harm is a very good thing.  Helping someone come back to themselves when they are in a manic or depressive state improves quality of life and prevents harm from bad choices made in a moment of non-clarity.

However, every one of us will go through strong emotions multiple times in our life.  We’ll look at them as watershed moments that caused dramatic change in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the status of our lives.  Sometimes they are amazing such as the birth of a child, a wedding, an ecstatic experience, or the pure joy of the perfect evening that you thought would never happen to you.  Sometimes they are devastating such as a betrayal, the death of a loved one, the loss of a career, or a divorce.  What we do about these situations tells a great deal about our path and our process at that point in time and can be grist for the regret mill later on in life.  What we do in the moment with the emotions as they unfold, how we treat ourselves as we are feeling, defines us.

All extreme emotions are difficult to be in, make us feel altered and different from our normal lives.  They are liminal moments when the mundane is stripped away, when our ability to work with social masks and daily minutia is limited by the new priority of channeling massive resources into a feeling tsunami.  We are raw and exposed and vulnerable in ways we do not allow, possibly even ourselves, in our everyday lives.  And we are able to see aspects of ourselves which are normally hidden from the light of day.  And for most people, this experience is so uncomfortable, whether the emotions be positive or negative, that we attempt to stop the process as quickly as possible.  We negate it as momentary, we medicate it to ameliorate the affects, we seek out distraction and strive to restore order and normalcy.

But why do we fear these emotions?  What is so frightening inside us?  Why is it wrong to rage at injustice or feel love so intensely it has weight and texture?  These emotions don’t stay forever.  They surge and recede, just like the waves of the ocean.  They are here for a moment in time and then they are gone again leaving gifts or wreckage in their wake.  They are not preventable, but we can be prepared.  So what is to fear?  What if we allowed ourselves to fully feel in these moments?  Would we break apart?  Would we be forever altered into someone we don’t know?  Or would we become more of who we truly are?  Would we become more ourselves than we have ever been?  And what would our lives look like if we allowed that change and began living from our authentic selves?  How scary is it to be deeply and fully real, even for just a moment?