“Can I feel sad for a moment? “ I remember someone asking. “Just for a moment, is that ok?”
But aren’t we all trying to feel happy all the time?
Isn’t it right to try to cheer up frustrated people?
Isn’t the best way to maximize our happiness to increase “good” emotions in our life and avoiding all the “bad” emotions? If one wants to feel happy, shouldn’t he/she try to fill himself/herself with good emotions?
When one worked so hard to adjust his emotions after a traumatic incident, perhaps he can successfully make himself feel “good”.
But why did he still feel so “bad”?
“Good” Emotions Are Not Necessarily “Good” All The Time
In the past three decades, the “quantity of good emotions” has been an important research subject for most psychologists. “Good” emotions are referring to positive emotions, such as happiness, contentment, safety, pleasure, etc. These “good” emotions have been used as predictors of achievement, self-esteem, and social relationship satisfaction.
This is completely understandable. No one wants to feel bad emotions, no one wants to feel anger, fear, sadness, and helplessness. They are signs of danger, they felt dangerous and harmful for our mental and physical health. They can also affect our social functioning and the emotions of those around us.
However, In Some Situations, “Bad” Emotions Are The “Right” Emotions
When we come face to face with unfairness, maybe anger IS the right emotion.
When we face loss, maybe sadness IS the right emotion.
When we face major life decisions, maybe feeling tense IS the right emotion.
Of course, to determine whether an emotion is a right emotion is very subjective and may be different for each individual. It varies according to our individual values. In Maya Tamir’s definition, the right emotion is “the emotion the individual wants to experience now.”
For example, in the face of the loss of loved ones, some people may think that others do not want to see themselves in sorrow, hence, he hopes that he can cheer up quickly. At this point in time, he felt that “cheering up” might be the right emotion to display. However, if he thinks that he should remember his loved one with sadness, then for him, “sadness” is the right emotion.
So Is It Better To Have More “Good” Emotions, Or To Have More “Right” Emotions?
Aristotle believes that the way for people to feel blessed is that they can always feel the “right” emotions, regardless if those emotions are “good” or “bad”.
Some studies found that happiness includes feeling the “right feeling” and not just only feeling the “good feeling”.
In short, when the differences between the emotion that a person wants to experience and the emotion that he really experiences is smaller, then his/her happiness would be at its highest.
When Sadness Is The Emotion He Needs The Most Now, Then Sadness Is The “Right” Emotion At This Time.
The friend I mentioned at the beginning of this article, although I don’t want to see him immersed in depressive emotions, but if he feels that feeling depressed is the most necessary emotion now, it might hurt him more if I tried my best to cheer him up immediately.
As long as he can stop when he wants to stop feeling depressed. (When one loses the ability to stop feeling depressed, then he might need the help of mental health professionals. It’s okay to seek help regarding such matters, read this article to know more about if you need psychotherapy).
Happiness is when we can always feel the “right” emotion.
We can’t control the behaviors and emotions of other people, we can’t convince our loved ones to not worry about our moments of sorrow, and perhaps, we can’t solve all problems perfectly.
But at the very least, we can learn to accept our emotions fully.
Not because it is important, but also because it is part of us.
With you, MY Psychology.
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