The psychologist Michelle Shiota affirms that, when our underlying beliefs are reasonably in tune with what is happening, our emotions can be very helpful, because they alert us to something important about the situation. In these cases, our emotions can help draw our attention to where it is needed.
Even when what we’re responding to emotionally is a reasonable facsimile of reality, emotions can still be destructive when we give them total control. When we handle our emotions mindfully, we have an opportunity to act in ways that will hopefully improve the situation for others as well as ourselves.
In the best scenario, we honour our emotions, recognize that they’re there, and listen to them. But then we pause and ask “what can I do about this situation that will actually help?” rather than jumping to whatever instinct is pushed by those emotions.
This is what flips emotions from being destructive to being constructive. It’s not easy, but it’s a skill that can be learned with patience, practice and learning.
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