Emotional Tornadoes

I continue to be baffled by the lack of knowledge most of us have when it comes to processing our emotions. It’s not surprising really. We’re not taught anything about our emotions in school, and we learn how to deal with our emotions at home by observing other family members.

A lucky few come from healthy families where emotional maturity is modeled, but the rest of us have to learn from whatever sources are available, and a lot of what is taught about emotions is incomplete at best, and sometimes even downright wrong.

Take for example, the simple idea of talking to a friend when you’re highly emotional. This is considered a healthy thing to do, but in reality it is not always the most productive. If you think about it, intense emotions are like a tornado of swirling debris that needs to run its course before any items fall to the ground that can be salvaged. If we talk to a friend during the tornado, many times more energy is added to the emotional storm along with throwing in a few of their own items (advice), resulting in increased intensity and confusion.

I do believe that emotional support is essential for every human being – we are relational beings who need each other to grow and thrive. At the same time, we also need to be able to contain our own emotional storms long enough for them to settle so that we can regain visibility.

Here’s the nugget in this idea: emotional energy needs to be contained long enough to distill into something valuable. Once the dust settles, the main points will be left in plain view to be dealt with productively.
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