Emotions come and go. Should I hold on to them or simply let go?


At the Tea Time Chat for women, we discuss even the most painful and secret issues openly. These episodes explore life’s flows and counterflows and various ways of coping, keeping up and finding joy. They result in profound, beautiful insights and advice based on life.

What occupies the mind is a timely question whose answer turns it into a fascinating story about everyday life. This story involves four women and four distinctive viewpoints.

What was asked: When people say that emotions come and go, but the person stays, or that you are not the sum of your feelings, what do they mean? What separates emotions and the person who feels them? Can you switch emotions on and off when focusing on other things? As emotions need to be addressed, is there a way to do it lightly?

“A good question. The first thing I think of is Eckhart Tolle’s aphorism ‘You are the sky. The clouds are what happens, what comes and goes.’ You don’t have to hold on to your thoughts. They arouse emotional responses. That’s why all the distressing thoughts etc. that occur to you lead to reactions.”

Should I hold on to emotions?

“I don’t think you should. You can rise above your thoughts. There you will find no pain, just this moment. As thoughts and the emotions they provoke can also arise from body memory and not from your head, they may not be true. So, why let them control you?”

“If you wish, you can feed your mind other information such as affirmation or perform an action that can alter your thoughts.”

“You can also put the emotion aside and deliberately reserve time for dealing with it later. If lawyers and doctors let emotions take over them, nothing would work, lives wouldn’t be saved.”

“Well yeah, Tolle speaks like a pedagogue if the previous thoughts were his. The same ideas are taught in early childhood education studies. You name the emotion and remember it’s just a transient feeling you can live with. Look to the sky to admire the colors etc. Draw your attention to something else. ☺️

“In practice, we’re different: some experience emotions more intensely, some handle them differently and so on. However, I think the common idea is that you should try to manage your emotions. Some manage them by denial, some by living them full on and some by seeking for explanations and models from literature.”

“Perhaps the more ‘adult’ emotions, such as concern, uncertainty, the fear of failure or heartaches, may be a bit more difficult. How on earth can you accept and address them and at the same time, keep a distance to such comprehensive and true matters?”

“Yes, so that your everyday life doesn’t consist of them alone. I’m not sure if you get my point, though.”

Emotion regulation

“This is such a current topic right now. I have discussed emotion regulation in my studies. Our quality of life depends on our ability to regulate our emotional experiences as required by the circumstances. It may be even more important than health to be aware of your chances to influence. How to welcome all emotions and attend to them? Some emotions feel difficult and unbearable, and we want to get rid of them.”

“You can feed, enrich, prolong and calm your feelings, but you can’t remove them. So, you should accept the fact that there’s no way of ridding yourself of emotions. You should live and breathe with them. Positiveness can also act as a defense, that is, a denial of emotions. You can improve your skill to tolerate the emotions and emotional states of yourself and others. Emotions are not facts. You can develop your capacity to reflect and wonder.”

“You can ensure that you have a grasp on your emotions. This is possible through mentalization, for example. You should understand that your mental and physical state have a remarkable effect on your perception. Developing the body-mind connection helps regulate emotions as well. By Minna Martin.”

“Eckhart Tolle’s book is a fantastic read that I recommend to everyone. Personally, I just ‘screwed up’ with it and practiced presence and emotion regulation actively by denying emotions – especially the painful ones. I did succeed, but it’s not the right way. It just made me cold and cynical. I become inflexible. Then I just had to return to the horribly wonderful world of emotions.”

“Those are some very good thoughts! Attending to your emotions and regulating them by calming, questioning or reflecting yourself. I read somewhere that there’s a need behind every emotion, even if all needs can’t always be satisfied.”

“And yes, positiveness can act as a defense. Amen to that! I doubt there’s much help in today’s abundant self-help literature or business thinking, such as ‘be the CEO of your life’.”

“The experience you described is insightful! Currently, I have tried not to think of the things I can’t affect. However, it may easily lead to denial of emotions.”

Balance rocks in everything!

“Whoa! Monitoring yourself, your thoughts and trains of emotions is such an exhausting full-time job that I should probably retire before I could feel all zen and reasonable about exploring my emotions.”

“It’s important and even necessary to develop yourself if your behavior is harmful to yourself or others, but I try to handle one situation at a time. One everyday situation at a time. In this specific situation, I try to act this specific way.”

“Of course, you can’t anticipate sudden events and prepare for them. It is hard to alter a behavioral model in everyday life, but why?”

“In relationships, for example, arguments often arise from the one and same thing. Even if you try not to be provoked and stay on top of the situation, you notice you either play the victim or the aggressor in the end.”

“Dismissing your ego and the need to be right – that’s a challenge when it comes to such a classic as dirty socks. In a certain state of mind, it’s hard to avoid cranky outbursts.”

“When tired, adults are like children. It becomes tiresome to be aware of your emotions and reflect on them. Instead, you just spread the misery by throwing a tantrum.”

“Nevertheless, towards balance. “

“Indeed. Crappy feelings are crappy feelings, and no zen will change that. There’s no need to. Accepting your weaknesses and negative emotions is part of accepting yourself. Just bring it on!”

“That’s true. No one can act like Mother Amma forever. After all, you can get a breast cancer or brain infarction after accepting everything with a smile on your face.”

And so life goes on…

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