"Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself" (Hermione Granger, Harry Potter). Acting, not reacting in response to emotions. Image courtesy of Mister GC at freedigitalphotos.net
Sometimes, I must admit, I am uncomfortable with my emotions. Not the happy, comfortable ones but the ‘not so nice’ ones – such as anger, for example.
I noticed something interesting today. I felt angry, but then judged myself for experiencing what is commonly seen as a ‘negative’ emotion. And then, I felt angry about that! Anger at my anger!
I wonder if emotions can intensify if we judge ourselves for having the emotion in the first place. Another example of this kind of ‘secondary emotional response’ may be feeling angry or afraid because we feel sad. We may see sadness as unacceptable, and may become afraid of it.
Hermione Granger, fictional character in the “Harry Potter Series” made a statement that “Fear of a name only increases fear itself”. Essentially by reacting the way they did to Voldemort, their fear increased. Hermione was all about accepting the fear, and taking action!
So avoiding emotions is not healthy, because each one serves a purpose. If we weren't afraid of snakes, think of all the extra fatalities we would have!
Clinging to positive emotions is not healthy either because feelings are like waves that come and go.
For example, we can even complicate happiness. We may feel happy, but then become afraid that it will not last. This can even lead to an unhealthy preoccupation with needing to be happy all the time, which is not realistic.
I believe that we are also not our happiness. We may not want to leave some sort of ‘mental space’ between us and our feelings of happiness. We may want to hold onto it, cling to it. Fear of losing the happiness may actually cause us to feel sad!
If we don't accept our feelings, they can intensify or become complicated. For example, we can have the initial feeling of fear, and then be afraid of our fear.
If we cling to our emotions, not see them as waves that come and go, and adopt an attitude of acceptance.
Pushing away uncomfortable negative emotions, or trying to unrealistically expect positive ones to stay forever can be unhelpful. This is because we are reacting, and getting caught up in the emotion.
1. Emotions are useful. For example fear of snakes.
2. You are not your emotions, though feeling them is normal. It can be helpful to have a 'mental space' between you and your feelings.
3. This can help you to act, and not react.
4. Emotions come and go. Expecting positive ones to last forever can ironically lead to sadness.
Having a healthy acceptance of the purpose emotions play without being afraid of them can help us to respond in a psychologically healthy way.