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How I deal with my emotions

How I deal with my emotions
By Elizabeth Filips • Issue #7 • View online
I’m an emotional person. I get passionate about inanimate objects like books and courses I’m signed up for. And often the results aren’t pretty. 
One thing has massively changed how I manage my negative emotional responses. It’s something that seems so blatantly obvious, that I don’t know why I hadn’t realised it before:
Dividing my feelings into two types: primary or secondary emotions. 
Let me explain. Primary emotions are those that I feel in direct response to something. I fail - so I feel bad. I hurt someone - so I feel guilty. I get shouted at - so I feel sad. I don’t get a response from a friend - so I feel abandoned
I now see primary emotions as normal, healthy, human, justified, evolutionary responses to what happens in the world. 
Secondary emotions are those that kill me. I don’t study for 2 days so I feel guilty, but then I feel frustrated at myself for feeling guilty. I fail at something and feel bad - but then I feel angry for feeling sad when I should rather be working. Someone does something mean and I feel hurt - and then I feel sad for letting it get to me. 
Secondary emotions are bull**t. While the primary ones are a normal response, the secondary ones are overthinking gone wild. 
Primary emotions don’t last long. Think of it, how long can you feel pure burning anger for? Probably 5 minutes max. But I can probably feel guilty for being so angry for weeks later. 
Secondary emotions don’t go away easily. They stick, and they spiral. I can’t really spiral into a primary emotion, it’s more raw and temporary. But I can brew and brew and fall deeper and deeper into secondary self-hate, anger or sadness. 
So I don’t tolerate a secondary emotion, and fully lean into my primary ones. 
When I’m feeling bad - I try to identify what it really is. Sadness? Loneliness? Anger? Hurt? Guilt? I let it do its thing, there’s probably a reason for it. 
But the second I realise what I’m feeling is a secondary emotion: anger for being sad, guilt for feeling lonely, I stop right there. I ignore the secondary emotion, I go back to the first, and let it run its 3 or 5 minute course, and move on with my day. 
It has been life changing. 
I would love to hear if this sounds mad or if you’ve known it all along. 
Hoping you have an amazing week, 
Liz xx 

Quote of the week
“Where in your life are you good at moderation? Where are you an all-or-nothing type? Where do you lack a shut-off switch? It pays to know thyself.” 
—Tools of Titans 
My Favourite Things This Week
My Podcast - One of the most inspiring people I know, Sheen Gurrib interviewed me on her podcast (a real pinch-me moment). It was SO FUN, if you’d like to listen to us chat, here it is :)
This Mug - I cannot wait to have a semi-settled house so I can buy things like this because I’m in love.
My Notion video - Got translated by someone into Spanish!!! I cannot believe the feedback on this setup, I’m so so happy!
This Tweet - I don’t think I’ve found something so genius but terrifying at the same time. I don’t think I’d have the guts to try it, surely this is cheating?
Rex Woodbury
I have a friend who looks up an obscure topic online before dinner parties, reads the Wikipedia entry, then subtly guides the conversation toward that topic.

People are blown away by how knowledgeable he is.

It's simultaneously brilliant and horrifying to watch.
YouTube Videos this week
A Long Day in the Life of a London Medical Student
A Long Day in the Life of a London Medical Student
I've Only Worn Black for 7 Years
I've Only Worn Black for 7 Years
Did you enjoy this issue?
Elizabeth Filips

Hiya, I'm Elizabeth, a medical student, artist and YouTuber in London. Every Sunday I write about exploring meaning, productivity, little pleasures and just navigating life. And some of my favourite things that week.

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