A while ago I started to acknowledge my negative emotions fully and let them stay into my inner den. I did not have any idea how they were going to spend their time there: I just let them be there and play around. I listen to what they say, but whether to follow their “advice” is a different matter. I am in charge of the whole inner place, and I even gently ask them to stay quiet if their chatters become too loud, though I no longer use the brute force measure of shutting them down.
Now I realize that I have been switching my mood less frequently. I still have occasional small bursts of sadness and anger, but they do not control my entire being. When I notice that there is anger/sadness ramping up inside me, I listen to it, let it play inside me, occasionally dance with it for a while if it is serious (I can lend my face, for example), yet after those emotions use up their energy, I swiftly come back to the center. I rarely change my entire mood based on the dominating emotion, like a chameleon changes its skin color to blend into his surrounding environment. Or you might say that I am simply changing my color too rapidly (Synchronizing with Taipei’s neon street signs, perhaps?)
My emotions emerge out of nowhere, play around, and disappear back into their own hideout when exhausted. It is not only about my negative emotions—My positive emotions also started to suddenly appear out of nowhere, sprinkles my moment with their magical powders, and then retreat back in silence. I haven’t tried to think positively; I have merely tried not to block negative emotions, and that invited surprising visits from positive emotions. I might be inviting everybody to the table.
If my inner emotions are my family, my inner space is their house. A large living room sits at the center, surrounded by bedrooms for each of my emotion. Emotions comes out of the room when they feel like it, play or chat in the living room, and then go back. Basically I just listen to them and let them do whatever they want. If what they say make sense, I follow their advice (= let my body taken over by my emotion). If they behave naughtily, I gently escort them out of the playground and back to their bedrooms. But I do not lock them in. If they want to come out again, it is their choice. But so is my choice to take them back into their rooms, again.
There is no single emotion that is given a priority ticket in this inner house. Everybody will be given equal rights, and they equally need to fulfill their duties to maintain the inner space. It wasn’t like this before: I used to grant privileges to my positive emotions. When I became happy, I nurtured my happiness, encouraged it, gave steroids to it, which turned a small happiness into a freakish ecstatic monster roaring around in my fantasy. On the other hand, my negative emotions were told to stay in their dark corners no matter what, resulting in revengeful attacks as soon as my “barrier” became weak. Happy or not, I was always mutating and amplifying my emotions.
Now I try not to mutate any of my emotions. Emotions are just my internal response to external events, and thus there is no “good” or “bad” in them—it is all about precision, and trying to modify my emotions directly leads to skewing my self-view, as a projection in this world. It does not mean that I am peaceful and quiet. In fact, at any moment there are always multiple emotions running around internally. Some of them coexist and even contradict with each other. But I remain surprisingly centered, as if those emotions negotiate with each other to keep the inner house safe and clean, as if they have realized that it is also their responsibility to maintain the environment.
I feel empty inside, in a neutral way. I make sure that at each moment there is plenty of space internally so my emotions can relax and do what they ought to do. Sometimes the process can be violent, but I believe I get the ultimate reward of painting the accurate picture of what is going on inside and outside me: that is, who I am.