Dying Daily #30: Feelings are for Suckers (but not really)

I have really enjoyed this so far. It has been time-consuming but tremendously rewarding and fun. It has helped me focus on things I need to work on, areas I am doing well and has brought a lot of interesting feedback through comments, messages, emails and texts. I am going to work harder to prioritize responding to this feedback, I apologize for doing such a poor job so far.

It looks like the next few days are going to address emotions, thanks to some feedback that was offered to me about yesterday’s post. I really appreciate that people are reading this critically and trusting me enough to offer honest criticism.

I think I have done a poor job articulating the role emotions play in my life, and have inadvertently portrayed them as being bad or something to be avoided. I can admit this isn’t far from the attitude I had for quite a while. It was an attitude that served me well, and was probably necessary for a time, but it had to change as I evolved as a person.

For most of my life, my emotions ran the show.

I tried keep this hidden, but they did. I was an emotional wreck most of the time, and I think this made a lot of people uncomfortable around me and made others feel they couldn’t trust me.

And, they were right.

You cannot trust a person whose emotions are out of control because their barometer for how to behave is never steady.

One second they will do one thing, the next they will do something else. It’s like making your decisions based on the direction of the wind: it’s completely out of your control and can shift on you at any second.

This cost me over the years, and brought a lot of humiliation and setbacks. It cost me in school, my dating life, my work life and friendships. Predictably, things got worse and worse, and I treated more and more people poorly. I watched long term, strong friendships fall apart, and I watched as the consequences I was experiencing because of my choices grew increasingly dire. I did not feel like I had any control over how any of this was going either. My emotions were in charge.

When I was given an opportunity to do something different, I think I ran the other direction pretty quickly and did not stop. I thought that a detached awareness of everything around me was the way to live without all the hassle. It did save me a lot of hassle, but it also kept me from having meaningful relationships and trying all the things that make life worth living.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how that played out for me, and then continue on to look at the necessity and importance of emotions. We’ll explore things like passion, opinions, and what it means to be present emotionally, without being overwhelmed or oppressed by them.

What are the things that can push you to a place of reacting emotionally rather than rationally? Can you see ways this leaves you open to manipulation or coercion?