You Can’t Have One Without the Other

“When someone shuts down his painful emotional side, they also lose the ability to express their joyous side. Emotions are a whole. With anger comes the ability to express delight; with sadness comes the ability to express lightheartedness. This is the breadth of emotion that allows an adult to experience intimacy with a spouse, with God and with their children.” – Henry Cloud

Although it was later in my life when I learned this, understood this and allowed myself to feel & sit deeply in my emotions, I am thankful for the hard and uncomfortable work. Hard and uncomfortable because my family of origin did not talk about emotions much. And what was discussed was very much on the surface. Leaning into any emotion – the “good” ones and the “bad” ones – can make a seemingly confident and secure person get uncomfortable, sweaty and sometimes inappropriate real quick when the default has been to squash and avoid emotions.

Here is what I have learned and know: By allowing myself to deeply feel the grief and pain and sadness that came across my path, it paved the way for me to have the deep joy and happiness I have now. Memories sometimes remind me of how deeply I felt the grief and pain and sadness and anger. Yet today I find myself smiling more & more just because, belly laughing, dreaming new dreams and finding silver linings, joy, anticipation everywhere.

There is a connection. When we choose to go deep with our emotions ~ even the hard & uncomfortable one ~ it creates margin to go deep in the other direction.

Many of us have convinced ourselves we can get to the latter by skipping over the former. And for me, I have found that’s not true. So I am more than grateful that I choose (yes, current tense because the work is never done ) to lean into the hard so I can exponentially live in the joy and happiness of today.

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