Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 6.05.09 PMWe don’t get to pick and choose which emotions are part of our emotional repertoire. We’re born with them all. They’re all supposed to be in us. That’s why we came that way.

It’s oh so tempting to try to only feel the good stuff. We repress anger, we try to ignore sadness, we scaffold loneliness, we paint over grief. We try to fix the painful things for each other and we try to help our children avoid them altogether. But when we do that, we don’t actually get more of the good stuff. We just get less emotion, period. Because, like I said in the beginning, we don’t get to pick and choose our emotions. But we do get to choose our emotional range.

It’s like this. Picture a square on a computer screen. You can click your mouse on the corner of the square and drag it in or out and make the whole square bigger or smaller. But you can’t just raise up the bottom, get rid of the lower end, and still have a square. If you raise up the bottom, you get something else! A warped version of the original shape. A FLAT version of the original square.

Our emotions work like this, too. If we try to simply raise up the bottom and not feel heartache, loneliness, grief, and despair, we just get a warped version of ourselves. And, we don’t increase the upper range. We only increase the upper range when we grab the corner of that square and we EXPAND, in every direction. We have to grow the whole damn thing if we want more of the good stuff. We can make the square as big as the whole screen. We can raise the roof, swell and burst at the seams, but only by growing in EVERY direction.

Let in what you feel. Let yourself expand. Otherwise, in the famous words of the very wise Ferris Bueller, you might miss something. Who knows what is lying just beyond the edges of your current square!

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