Why you have to allow yourself to experience your emotions

Experience your emotions

As a child, adults often tell you not to cry, to ignore your sadness. Culturally speaking, we are taught to avoid all unpleasant emotions. At any cost. 

So, our impulse when we experience strong emotions is to escape them. We might do this by drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, staying busy, emotional eating (or restricting food), smoking, and a number of other behaviors that harm us. 

Negative emotions often feel stronger than others. When you are dealing with heartbreak it feels as though the world is ending. No pain has ever felt so concentrated, so deep or so agonizing. 

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New and unexpected risks, a challenge when aging

New and unexpected risks become increasingly challenging as we move on in life. That’s partly because we have already invested heavy in coping with the risks we encountered earlier on. Risk management has become an important part of everyday modern life. This responsibility weights heavy on us. The more since it covers so many topics, such as physical, emotional, and social risks.

Path dependency

New and unexpected risks

This so-called path dependency makes us less resilient to new and unexpected risks. Growing old is an excellent example of such a new, albeit hardly unexpected, challenge. Aging is something we all hope for and at the same time is totally unavoidable.

Of late some debate originated on how we perceive the new and unexpected risks. The most important observation is that we tend to avoid the confrontation with these risks. We also tend to burden others with the handling of these risks. We tend to avoid responsibility and stop all critical self-reflection: ‘New and unexpected? Please not in my backyard!’

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