Sunday, August 9, 2009

Accepting Emotions

Right from our childhood we are told that it is improper to display emotions like anger, angst, anxiety or even affection in public. We learn to suppress several of our emotions. Slowly we are unable to express or acknowledge emotions even in private. In the process of trying to gain acceptance from others, we get to reject part of ourselves.

Tal Ben-Shahar is a writer, speaker and a lecturer at Harvard University. Tal Ben-Shahar states that we should provide a channel for the expression of our emotions. We should ask ourselves, if we have outlets like trusted friends for the expression of painful emotions. If we cant identify people whom we can trust, writing a journal is also helpful. People who are able to express difficult emotions are reported to be happier and physically healthier.

We should, however, be able to distinguish between accepting an emotion and ruminating (obsessively thinking about the emotion) over it. Further, accepting an emotion does not imply that we also accept the behaviour that might spring from it. For example, we can accept that we are jealous and yet act benevolently.

In this program video Tal Ben-Shahar talks about positive psychology and discusses tips which can increase happiness.


VSB said...

'Accepting the emotion does not imply that we also accept the behaviour that springs from it,' --the fact should be well understood else our already chaotic world will explode as a result of all the destructive actions resulting from the pent up pain, agony, anger, jealousy... More so 'cause the refrain of the majority is to pay back the world in its own coin. It is an arduous task, which I attribute to people of great character and fortitude, to not let personal pain, injury, loss, exploitation, failure... colour their response towards others.

Mridula said...

That is why I liked to play TT in the evening a lot. I could be happy when I hit a shot well and scream when I missed an easy one. Alas that went on the alter of commuting. I miss it.

VS said...

VSB: Why pent up anger only, we could have pent up affection also which we have never shown. The point is that blocking one emotion can block others too.

Mridula: Yes, sports allows us that and provides a socially acceptable channel

VSB said...

The point about blocking any emotion but using it as a ruse for unacceptable behaviour patterns (not pathological or pyschological disorders).