Happy And Angry? Grateful And Fearful? Can We Feel Two Things At Once?
Have you been happy and angry at the same time? Grateful and fearful?
I know I’ve been there. Really excited about an upcoming trip and at the same time anxious about what could go wrong… so happy to be digging into my favorite dessert and also feeling guilty about the calories and sugar.
I know my patients have been there. So thrilled that they are finally pregnant after years of trying and so scared that their lives are about to change so drastically. This is usually followed by: so happy to finally birth their children and simultaneously feeling the need to grieve their previous lives.
I know you’ve been there. Just pick a scenario, any scenario and you’ll find remnants of more than one emotion and you’ve probably felt guilty about the ‘negative’ ones – I’m here to change all that.
Can emotions coexist?
Many self help experts and spiritual guides claim that if you focus on the good, on love, on gratefulness then it outshines everything else. I’ve read books that claim when you are feeling grateful, you cannot feel fear or anger. I call BS.
We are a mixed bag of emotions, people.
If you look at the very origins of Chinese medicine, you will be lead to Daoism. When you look at Daoism, the first thing you learn about is the Taichi, more commonly known as the yin yang symbol.
This is meant to be a representation of all things. Literally. ALL THINGS. Emotions included. Also, the shape of this symbol is meant to imply that this image is moving. The white grows and grows until it reaches it’s highest potential and then changes into black and vice versa.
The white represents yang and the black represents yin. Each holds a seed of the other – take a look, there’s a little black in the white and a little white in the black.
This means that nothing in the world exists without the seed of it’s opposite.
Think on that for a second.
That means that in moments of pure happiness, there is a seed of sadness. In moments of pure gratefulness, there is a seed of fear. In moments of pure anger, there is a seed of love. We could go on and on.
This theory relaxes me. It reminds me that I am human, full of contradictions. It reminds me that not only is it possible to feel happy and sad or angry and grateful at the same time – it is the most natural thing in the world.