Navigate your emotions for a life filled with meaning
By Maria Ladias
Editorial team, TED
Sometimes, it can feel like second nature to repress, deny or mask your emotions -- but this may intensify the very same feelings you're trying to avoid. "Like that delicious chocolate cake in the refrigerator," says psychologist Susan David in her TED Talk, "the more you try to ignore it … the greater its hold on you."
Susan noticed this destructive habit of avoiding turbulent emotions while growing up in apartheid South Africa, and she later recognized and rectified it within her own life. Her talk got me thinking about the emotional roots of different forms of oppression, both internal and external. And it led to a major realization that the people I admire most possess a deep acceptance of their fragility and take action despite it.
With humor and grace, Susan encourages us to embrace the full spectrum of our feelings and build resilience in the form of emotional agility. Complex feelings can become opportunities to exercise emotional courage and reveal our deepest values, she explains. A little stress, some heartbreak and even just experiencing the disappointment that comes with failure is healthy, if approached with honesty and accountability.
As she says: "Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life."