“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?” -The Time Traveler’s Wife

I need to resist screaming from tall rooftops over having this next blogger upon my page. Emily Jane reveals to me on a daily basis that “Thank You” is just too small of a word to give to some people. I cannot express enough gratitude to Emily for being a mentor to me in the blogging world. If it were not for her guidance and support (and beautiful emails) I probably would have never stuck with blogging in the first place. Miss Emily and I are destined for an epic coffee date one day… until that time, go ahead and fall in love with her site.

I am an emotional creature. Many a tear has been shed in my lifetime, that psychological water that flows in streams down cheeks, physical echoes of the yearnings of the heart inside. They accompany movies, books (tell me I wasn’t the only one who bawled for an hour after reading The Time Traveler’s Wife?), songs, weddings, goodbyes, stress, love and pain, and sometimes, the act of crying can be cathartic. A good sob, we’re told, can allow pent-up feelings of sadness, loss or frustration to be set free, leaving more room inside for more positive, forward-moving feelings. But sometimes, being more emotionally sensitive than The Norm can make you look like a total sap.

The same goes for the other end of the spectrum: joy. During my first Skype conversation, after hearing some good news, I was asked: “…Was that a happy clap?” Yes, was the answer – when I hear something awesome, or have something to look forward to, I will run shamelessly up and down my stairs, start applauding, or otherwise have one of those Laura Linney moments in Love, Actually where the compulsion to run around the corner, stamping your feet and squealing like a schoolgirl proves impossible to ignore.

The yawning gulf of my emotional spectrum has been the subject of many a debate with friends and loved ones. “If you didn’t get so excited in the first place,” I’d be told, “then you wouldn’t be so disappointed now!” “Don’t rush into things.” “If you stayed closer to the middle, not too high or too low, you’d be much better off.” I had to wonder. If I tempered myself a little – refrained from showing too much excitement, would things be less disappointing if they didn’t work out? If I didn’t give my whole heart out so openly, would I have saved it such ache in the past? If I didn’t become too emotionally invested in people so quickly, would it be less painful when they moved away? And if I didn’t allow myself to cry so often, at the mundane and the painful, would life be that much easier?

Perhaps. But a bigger part of me says that these are the things that allow you to experience life to the fullest – drinking in every drop; allowing yourself to feel the heights of pure joy even if that means risking the lowest of the low. I’ve heard of many people who’ve worked on themselves, making sure what would be their instinctive, automatic reaction is moderated; socially acceptable, not so extreme, guaranteed to save them from disappointment or funny looks. But is being too emotional such a bad thing? Surely, if naturally, you wanted to shut yourself in your bedroom, hide under a blanket, pound your pillow and wail from the bottom of your lungs, allows all that sadness to escape? We’ve all seen what happens when things get pent-up inside; the feelings of sadness give rise to feelings of anger; as they grow stronger and get further pushed inside, they can only be repressed so much until something snaps. And that’s never pretty. On the flipside, why would anyone deprive themselves from living with their heart caged in by self-constructed walls? Because we’ve been hurt before. Because there’s a risk of everything falling apart. Because people might think we’re strange. I get it. But what we devise to protect ourselves can sometimes deprive us of the heights of happiness. The true depths and heights of human emotion can be amplified when exposed to the outside world, but moderating them takes away the potential for greatness. Why not show the world your true colours, even if that does include jumping up and down and shouting from the rooftops every now and again? When we look back on our lives, do we want to say we lived a sheltered life, never too excitable or too down, or do we want to be able to say we gave it our all, and lived?

After all, as the old saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Are you, too, an emotional creature? Or do you tend to be more even-keeled? I’m interested to hear your thoughts. 🙂

6 thoughts on ““Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?” -The Time Traveler’s Wife

  1. I too live life as a very emotional person. My highs are high, my lows are low. I feel things very strongly, but I feel that I appreciate those moments of joy all the more for it.

  2. Hi Emily Jane,

    We’ve exchanged comments before! Always enjoy your writing. Enjoy your excitement. Lots of people can’t find it anymore.

    Life is a series of ups and downs – a roller coaster of emotions if you will. In youth, the roller coaster can have steeper drops and tighter corners because folks don’t know what to expect from love and friendship.

    Happiness can be thought of as a relative state, reflective of your life journey. I’m sure when the Chilean miners get out, they’ll be giddy with happiness just to see the light and touch the fresh air, something those of us wandering above ground take for granted.

    There’s move underfoot to take the “life” out of being alive. To sanitize it, to make sure no one gets offended, to make sure no one feels pain – what’s left isn’t living, it’s dying.

    Let folks be human! Thanks … G.

  3. Love this post Em! (As usual!) I’m definitely an emotional creature – I became even more so ever since I got engaged. Now I well up at commercials! I used to always tease my mom for crying at silly things but if I’m already like this now, who knows what’s going to happen when I become a mom! 🙂

  4. I tend to wear my thoughts/emotions/nonsense on my sleeve. I like to have all my cards on the table, even if things get ugly.

    Mike, on the other hand, isn’t like that. And one of our hugest struggles has been getting him to openly discuss how he’s feeling, and his emotions. Too many times he’s had a meltdown because things just got too hard, and too many emotions where roiling inside. But, he’s gotten SO MUCH BETTER, and it’s amazing what a difference it’s made to his psyche.

    I’m rambling.

  5. I am definitely a lot like you, Em. I like to feel the full spectrum of emotions, even if that means that other people might consider this “too emotional” or “too extreme”.

    Isn’t that was life is all about? Feeling every emotion and being able to appreciate them (even the bad ones)?

    I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  6. I’m not an emotional creature—I’m a sensitive one 🙂

    You gotta wrap it in a nice euphemism to keep it a pleasantry and avoid the negative connotations surrounding the word “emotional.”

    That being said, I’m the most sensitive (…emotional… ) guy I’ve ever known. Sometimes I think I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body (…who likes women).

    And of course, it can be insane. I’ve cried my eyes to one of my girl friends, telling them how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I cried like for three days, locked away in a room, when LOST ended. I cry everytime I move out of a house or apartment that I live in. I cry at nothing.

    But, just as you say, I’d rather be that way then not. Id much rather go through my life experiencing the rapturous emotions of love and hope, sadness and despair, excitement and joy, than go through my life feeling nothing. I’ll have all the time in the world to feel “nothing” when I’m dead.

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