Emotions can be a powerful motivation in our lives, for good or for bad. Emotions such as joy, peace and love can motivate us to do good for others and for ourselves. Painful emotions such as sadness, guilt and envy can motivate us to find some way to escape the pain we are feeling. Too often, people turn to drugs in order to escape these painful emotions. Pleasant emotions can lure us to use drugs in order to intensify those pleasing feelings.
Whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, emotions can be very powerful motivations in our lives. It is important, therefore, that we evaluate how we respond to and manage our emotions. Do we simply seek to escape unpleasant emotions and seek out pleasant emotions and try to intensify them? We may be dominated by our emotions or seek to control them. Trying to control our emotions is hopeless. You can’t make yourself feel or not feel an emotion. Can you tell yourself to be happy and succeed in doing so? Of course not. Emotions are simply there. Allowing your emotions to control you is to abandon your ability to reason. The other option is that we learn how to handle or manage our emotions.
Learning to manage our emotions can be difficult. Managing emotions means learning how to respond rationally and humanly to what we feel. Sadness can be a good example. It is an emotion, but the question is what you do with it. You cannot simply refuse to feel sad. Nor can you allow your sadness to incapacitate you. What must happen is that you acknowledge your sadness and continue with your day in spite of it. Somewhere in the middle between denying your feelings and being dominated by your feelings is the middle ground where you acknowledge your feelings and are able to function effectively in spite of those feelings.
Emotions serve an important role in our lives, helping us to respond to the events of our lives. When something bad occurs in our lives, we may feel sadness about it. When something good happens in our lives, we may feel joyful about it. To some degree, emotions mediate between the circumstances we find ourselves in and our rational minds. A great deal of our lives is outside our ability to understand or control. Our emotions enable us to respond humanly, not as computers, to what is going on in our lives. You must allow yourself to feel what you feel, but also be able to function despite what you may feel.