When feelings and emotions are stronger and more powerful than reason, we are screwed up.
We humans think of ourselves as rational beings. Nonetheless, we are pretty much emotional. When our emotions are particularly intense, they can confuse and make us believe bullshit that, in our minds, become undisputed truth. Only on second thought, we realize we were wrong.
Emotions drive children, not adults. Allowing feelings more than logic to run our lives as grownups is much less beautiful and romantic than what may seem. It is quite dangerous, actually. Childish attitudes and immature manners are not values nor virtues. They are just proof of uncompleted growth and development.
Something in many of us, people LGBTQ+, has remained undeveloped. Those who suffered from homophobic attacks and violence at such delicate ages as preadolescence and adolescence continue experiencing the consequences of that torture somehow in everyday life.
Negative repercussions as we grow up vary from anxiety to fear, from vulnerability to drugs, alcohol, and unsafe compulsive sex – from the everlasting feeling of inadequacy to reality distortion.
It is absolutely okay to experience floating feelings, ranging from euphoria to sadness over the same day. The mentally sane can effortlessly identify their emotions, understand, and express them functionally.
Nonetheless, those who suffered from some trauma – like being born, growing up, and live in a highly homophobic environment – find it hard to love life. It is very difficult not to be constantly overwhelmed by powerfully disruptive emotions and feelings such as anger and despair. They can quickly gain so much intensity that it can become impossible for many to do even the most basic and essential things in everyday life.
When we lack skills and instruments to comprehend and manage our feelings and emotions, life becomes unbearable. The more disruptive they become, the more distorted reality will appear to our eyes and ears.
When we are in love, everything looks terrific. If we are depressed, everything looks gloomy. When we get anxious or scared, everything looks threatening. Those who couldn’t learn and develop a proper way to understand and use emotions tend to suffer more intensely because everything looks like a giant problem impossible to tackle or solve – just like in children’s minds.
The good news is that we can still learn and change – no matter our age. It’s not easy nor painless nor fast, but with time and the right practice, we can abandon the limiting mental attitudes and behaviors that ruin our lives.
To avoid repeating the same old “us” over and over, and make decisions that we might regret someday, we need to teach our minds to keep an eye on our feelings. If we let our emotions go unbridled, our feelings will control us. And we will never grow up and live as real grownups like we are supposed to. Remaining childlike forever can be a mental illness.
Alessandro Cozzolino, LGBTQ+ coach