We all experience grief and disappointment at times, but not all of us get stuck for a long time with depression or obsession. What causes hard feelings to make us permanently miserable?
It hurts a lot to say goodbye to someone who has been given a significant part of our lives, and grief in such a situation is a natural emotion. You need the feeling of sorrow to digest the new reality and to understand what you can learn from what happened. After all, you do not want to forget and move on just like that, without things leaving any mark on your mind. Grief is the price of parting, and we have no ability to take out of our lives someone so significant to us without paying that price.
Grief is therefore both a natural emotion and a healthy emotion, even if it is a very painful emotion. But as Don Juravin explains, if grief develops into depression, you have moved into the space of unhealthy emotions. Because even if depression is a natural emotion and we all have the potential to experience depression, it is an unhealthy emotion, because it only hurts us without offering any benefit of learning and understanding.
It’s not just grief that can weigh on us, so here’s another example. Worrying about our image is a heavy feeling, but when you worry about what others think of you, you experience a natural and healthy emotion, because thanks to this worry about what others think of you, you adapt to your environment and integrate into it. So worrying about the impression you make is an emotion that is both natural and healthy.
When do you move into the space of unhealthy emotions? When the worry about your image becomes panic and paralyzes you. You are unable to open your mouth to other people, you do not dare to offer yourself senior positions, you do not allow yourself to demand what you deserve like a salary increase.
So an interim summary: All emotions are natural to us, meaning they are part of our nature, and we can all experience them. That’s good because emotions are a radar device that signals to us if we are on the right path or if we have deviated from it. But not all emotions are healthy for us. Unhealthy emotions injure us without bringing us any benefit.
So you probably already understand why there are happy people and sad people: happy people experience grief and sadness and worry in situations that are supposed to evoke these feelings just like sad people, but they stay in the healthy emotional space and experience those feelings to the extent needed for mental arithmetic and learning. If their emotional responses are too powerful and prolonged far beyond demand they enter the space of unhealthy emotions.
What happens in the healthy emotional space and the unhealthy emotional space? In the healthy space, we feel sorrow when things do not work out the way we want, but we do not see them as a question of life or death, and we can see ourselves going on with life even without them. We use the period of sorrow to understand what happened here, where we went wrong, what we should have done better, and then we release the sadness on its way so that we too can continue on our way.
What happens when we find ourselves in an unhealthy emotional space? The name of the story is different. The different things we want become a question of life or death: we must achieve them, and if not, then it is the end of the world.
Unhealthy emotions are thus an inability to accept reality as it is, and an inability to come to terms with what cannot be achieved. With loss. With disappointment. And when our emotions are healthy we sometimes suffer just like those who have unhealthy emotions, but we do not forget that this is the price that everyone who wants to live in this world has to pay.
bifurcation, breach, breakup, cleavage, dissolution, disunion, division, fractionalization, fractionation, partition, rift, rupture, schism, separation, severance, split, sundering
alienation, disaffection, disgruntlement, estrangement, souring
antagonism, embitterment, envenoming
animosity, antipathy, bitterness, hostility, jaundice, rancor
altercation, argle-bargle [chiefly British], argument, argy-bargy [chiefly British], battle royal, bicker, brawl, contretemps, controversy, cross fire, disagreement, dispute, donnybrook, falling-out, fight, hassle, imbroglio, kickup, misunderstanding, quarrel, rhubarb, row, scrap, set-to, spat, squabble, tiff, wrangle
aggravation, furor, fury, incensing, indignation, infuriation, ire, outrage, rage, spleen, wrath