Last week I shared my story about meeting my first therapist. That post has become the most read post to date-THANK YOU! Due to the response, I received via email and text, I wanted to share a blog post from mental health professionals. I came across Dr. Amber Thornton on Instagram and I thought her blog post ‘Not “Eliminate”…but” Manage” would be a great follow-up to “Her Name was Jane”
Dr. Amber Thornton is a licensed clinical psychologist, currently practicing in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. Read more about Dr. Amber Thornton and her professional approach to mental health.
Not “Eliminate”…but “Manage”
Whenever I meet a new client who comes to me for mental health counseling/psychotherapy, one of the first things I say is this:
“I am not a magician, so I cannot make the difficult things in your life go away. I cannot make your difficult emotions go away either. But we can work together to help you manage them because they are a valuable part of life.”
Every day, both personally and professionally, I meet people who attempt to stuff and suppress their difficult emotions, with the hopes that this process will make them all go away. Within our families, friendships, and even through the media, we are taught that we should be able to “control” our emotions. We are also taught that if we avoid feeling our difficult emotions, that they will eventually go away. Unfortunately, none of this is true.
Many days, I can’t help but wonder what our lives could be like if we embrace the idea that life will include both ups and downs, happiness and sadness, joy and dismay. I truly believe that if we are able to accept our difficult emotions as being an integral part of life, then they may begin to feel and look much different. I realize this can sound confusing or paradoxical even, but many times, the very thing we try to avoid is what we need to embrace the most. It’s like the elephant in the room: it is big and takes up so much space while we try to ignore it, but once we acknowledge that it’s there, it’s not so big anymore. It becomes quite manageable and we eventually learn ways to manage the discomfort. Sometimes it may eventually fade away. Believe it or not, our emotions operate in the very same way.
So what contributes to difficult emotion? The list is endless, but a few of the most common contributors include: