7. Don’t run from your emotions
Buddhist psychology has a concept of the “primary feeling” which, in short, is an ideology that every sensory experience we have has a positive, negative, or neutral quality to it. The idea is that all of these sensory experiences just are; we needn’t assign any more importance to the positive feelings than we do the negative feelings or the neutral feelings. They just are what they are: passing feelings.
But as humans we have a tendency to try to control the feelings we have, and make them overwhelmingly positive. Positive feels better, after all.
So despite each sensory experience being no more than a passing feeling, we tend to put effort into holding on to positive feelings, getting rid of negative feelings quickly, and generally paying no mind at all to the neutral feelings.
What we fail to realize is
- We cannot make all our sensory experiences positive, no matter how hard we try, and
- Trying to suppress our negative feelings, or quickly get rid of them in favor of some positive feeling, only forces us to fixate more on what would have been a passing negative feeling.
By not allowing ourselves to feel what we feel, we’re unable to get to know our true selves at the core. All our energy is going into trying to craft an emotional state that not only isn’t real, but isn’t attainable.
Believing life can be an endless stream of positive feelings is the quickest way to become dismayed that negative feelings continue to come up in your life.
Vulnerability is allowing yourself to feel what you’re feeling; making yourself susceptible to all feelings, negative and positive.
It is embracing the fact that life will sometimes be rosy and sometimes be gray, but these feelings are a window to your soul and allow you to be honest about how you feel about your existence.
To embrace vulnerability is to embrace the rollercoaster of life, and know there will be some freaky bumps as well as some sweet glides.
Bring it on.