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Sometimes, it does not matter why you feel the way you feel. What matters is how you respond to it.

As humans, we love logic. We love to know why certain things happen. With our emotions, we may feel that when we understand the root of difficult emotions, we can stop that feeling, “fix” it, or know how to prevent it from arising again in future. However, this is not always the case.

Sometimes, the “why” may arise once the intense feeling has passed. Other times, it does not. When the reason is not obvious, we might slip into critical thinking and beat ourselves up (“I shouldn’t feel like this”). This can often add an additional layer of discomfort and/or prolong the duration of the current discomfort.

Undoubtedly, making connections from the past can help us better understand our present. However, when we only focus on the “why”, we forget to attend to what we can do now that the difficult emotion is here.

With unpleasant emotions, try not to only focus on understanding the cause of it. What you are feeling is what you are feeling. Instead, try to learn how to support yourself during it.

  • Perhaps acknowledge X emotion is here instead of fighting against it being here?
  • Perhaps reassuring yourself that this is challenging but it will pass.
  • Ask yourself what do you need in this moment e.g. a blanket, a hug, some space?

You cannot alter the why, but you can learn to change how you interact with your emotions.

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