We must learn to feel the whole spectrum of human emotions.

How do you cope with the lows of life? What strategies do you use to cope with painful thoughts and feelings? If you are like the majority of humans, then your coping strategies are likely to include avoiding the actual experience. Distracting or rationalizing is a common way to stop feeling what you are feeling. However through that, you are causing yourself more pain in the future, psychological stiffness and problems. The solution? Learn to embrace the highs and lows of life. Learn to be more willing to feel the whole spectrum of human emotions.

A common problem for the majority of people is narrowness and inflexibility of their behavior and thinking. However the true component of life as a human being is that of a constant and dynamic flow of highs and lows. Be it thoughts, feelings, circumstances or pains, it is all part of the life experience. And this can be difficult to accept and deal with. The things we can control are like knobs, you can play with them by turning them up or down.

Avoiding or escaping your private feelings, thoughts, memories and physiological reactions can keep you from engaging in vital actions and living your full potential. If you aren’t willing to have something, you will have it. Fighting against the lows is only strengthening their influence over you, delaying a point in the future when they resurface and overwhelm you. Just like when you try not to think about something, you think about it even more.

This avoidant behavior can result in reduced attention and presence when playing sport, engaging with other beings or focusing on work. And who hasn’t been there?

One of the solutions is to find better balance between two important knobs you can control and fine-tune: your emotional discomfort and your willingness to feel. Be more willing to feel pain and unpleasant emotions, especially all the lows of life. And accept that there will be tough times, hard times and low times.

Most of us are unwilling to feel the pain and the hard times. We often push against them, try to suppress them but only for them to resurface later and cause problems or emotional discomfort.

Accept that you are a human being. Accept that we are all capable of a wide range of emotions which we will certainly need and use in life. Take an artist who has 30 different colors to paint with but he only choses to paint with 5 of them. Where will the contrast in his paintings come from? Wouldn’t it be a shame not to use the whole palette of emotions? Because once you understand and accept that they are just temporary emotions, a part of the human existence, a part of your life, then you will relax

Originally published at medium.com