It’s a very human thing to have emotions. It’s not something we need to overcome — doing so would actually make you less human since our incredible brains are wired for them.

Emotions are part of what makes us so beautifully complex as a species — the bright and vivid colors that come together to paint this picture of the richness of our lives. They are also what allow us to connect — we build some of our strongest bonds over shared feelings and experiences.

I used to feel differently though. I used to wish that I could feel less — that I would stop getting so angry or upset when something important to me didn’t work out, that I could find a way to not wear my heart on my sleeve. I didn’t want people to see me be emotional and seeing others express emotion openly made me very uncomfortable.

But ultimately I realized how shallow all my connections in life had become. When someone lacks the ability or willingness to express a broad range of human emotions, it’s very difficult to connect with them in a deep and meaningful way. When I balked at or judged the expression of normal human emotions by another person, security and connection in that relationship was eroded.

Emotional health isn’t overcoming your emotional response. It’s learning to recognize the beauty and utility of emotions in our lives and in doing so, meeting them with greater ease. Learning to see them as passing experiences that are meant to be felt and processed so we can move thorough them. It’s learning the power of harnessing and channeling that emotional intensity into something productive in the future.

Emotional health isn’t a matter of numbness. It’s a matter of resilience. Having the emotion and processing it in a way that allows you to ultimately return to a state of emotional equilibrium following periods of challenge and stress.

We are all designed to be resilient. And as long as we practice it, we can maintain it. Refine your resiliency skills with Episode 25 of the GRIT + grace Podcast.

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