Most of you (over 18) will be familiar with the above sight. Beer taps. You go into your local bar, look at the selection of beers on draught, have a think of which one you might like and once you’e chosen the barman opens the tap and pours your preferred cold beer.
Many people I talk to think they would like that their emotions would be like beer taps, that you could just pick which one you’d prefer to experience and control the flow of the emotion and how much you experienced and shutting off the tap whenever you’d had enough of it.
That’s not really how emotions work though…
Once we open that tap that contains our emotions then we’re allowing them all out, we don’t get to be selective about which ones we want or don’t want, they come as a complete package.
Sea of Emotions
The other aspect of emotional flow is that it is constant, we never stop feeling emotions, but most of the time the emotion is pretty small, it passes us by without using up too much of our attention or energy.
The majority of the emotions we experience will be like the wave above, small and gentle, it comes in and it comes out, there’s nothing too distinct about it, we don’t need to worry about it or do anything about it, it just exists.
Every now and again, the wind picks up, something happens within us or in our environment and that wave like our emotions gets a little choppier, it’s messy and uncomfortable, we don’t like it and would prefer it would go away. And you know what, it does. No matter how choppy the waters the wave once it comes ashore will go back out again, just like the strong emotion we’re feeling at the time, it will pass.
Thankfully it doesn’t happen as often, but it will happen, at some point(s) in our lives, that we will be hit by an overwhelming tidal wave of emotion, something that hits us square in the chest that feels and perhaps actually overwhelms us. There’s no amount of reassurance or clichés that will ease the pain, it will be something we just have to endure. BUT, despite the size of the wave, despite how much it feels like we can’t survive it and it will leave us vulnerable and exposed, again, it will pass. No matter the size of the wave of emotion, it always has to pass eventually.
So what do we do?
Sometimes, no matter the strength of the wave, small or humongous, we will fall, it will hurt, but we will get back up again and no matter the size of the wave of emotion, small or overwhelming, the wave will always pass.
We will see it coming, and we will go with it, we will survive it, we might crash eventually but again it will be ok, because again we know the wave will pass. If you see it coming, don’t try to resist it, don’t pretend it isn’t coming, it’s coming whether we pretend or not, go with it, surf that emotion, it may hurt but it will hurt a lot less than pretending it’s not coming or that it’s not real.