EMOTIONS ARE USEFUL
AND THEY ARE MISUSED AND ABUSED BY US
E-motions help us change course when there is a perceived (believed) reason to protect ourselves, including to solve problems we run across. They move us toward actions (e = outward, motion = action) that we believe will help us survive - in general, but some beliefs are based on untruths, so the resulting action does not end up having us survive better, but cause us to often experience the opposite!
So it is vital for us to be more knowledgeable about what is true and what isn't in life. [This is obvious, but few seem to act on it - and they continue to re-experience the effects of erroneous beliefs, somehow allowing themselves to hold onto them as if they are holy and unchallengeable. Bottomline: it is insanely stupid not to notice which ones cause bad results and then to no correct the beliefs. Many people do not "know" that anything that results in a bad feeling is, 99+% of the time, due to an erroneous belief. The "duh!" of it is that we don't "get it" that an effect always has a cause and if we don't like the effect, we have to correct the cause!!!
The 'rules' that have us do things to get results are called 'beliefs'. To the extent they are true, they serve us and emotions serve us. To the extent they are not true, inappropriate emotions and behaviors will result - and lots of added suffering.
THE PURPOSES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE SO-CALLED 'NEGATIVE' EMOTIONS
Sadness has us slow down, withdraw, seek quiet time for reflecting on a loss. Failure, in a sense, at least in our minds, is a loss of sorts. In that case we have to spend time to assess what happened and to figure out what to do next time, so that we would avoid this "threat" to our 'survival'.
If one forms a judgment about oneself, it causes sadness and/or depression. If there is a judgment about another person, anger is produced. Judgments are beliefs about the object that is being judged in a pejorative sense - as being "bad", "wrong", breaking "the rules" (that we think protect us from one another). (It is vital that you understand the blame, fault, good/bad, right/wrong syndrome, reading at least the first piece on the links page. While sadness is useful, we have 'learned' (or been trained) to overreact, to assess a negative meaning to being sad. Instead, we could simply accept being sad and process what we need to process and move on - without adding a suffering phase to it. (See Getting Rid Of Suffering - Second Darts.) If we were simply 'patient', allowing ourselves the time we know is needed to do the processing, then life would be much easier, without the extra struggle we add to this very natural process.
And the principles and ways to process emotions are the same for the other emotions.
Shame is an emotion we develop (through training and evolution both) to have us hide something and/or stop doing something that might cause disapproval. So, that is useful. What is not useful is the negative value we add, as we make up stories about how bad it is to have shame and how bad we are as individuals - we must realize that they are just stories and that there is no purpose to adding the extra suffering. (You MUST, if you want to be happy, realize that stories are just stories and not 'truth': What Is A Story And What's Not A Story.) Anxiety - Dramatically overstimulated!
Anxiety is normal and necessary, to move us toward avoiding dangerous situations. It served us well when walking through the forest in caveman days. It is, however, allowed to run amok when we fail to discriminate as to what is a real danger and what is not. We make up illusionary threats that do not affect survival at all. We make up unrealistic expectations or standards or goals about
1. "looking good" to others (getting approval and how disastrous it is if we are kicked out of the tribe, only to starve and die in the wilderness) and
2. how we must not make mistakes, believing that we are doomed from our incompetencies (plus that we will be kicked out of the tribe and starve because we are not competent to contribute enough to be included in the tribe)
3. how we will not have enough to meet our needs in the future
Anger - The secondary emotion to fear
Anger is the "fight' emotion, where powerful chemicals cause us to focus our physical capabilities (while shutting down the non-essentials, like our brain, digestive system, immune systems, etc).to overcome threats.
With it we can fight invading tribes, people trying to murder us, people stealing our food (which is needed to prevent starvation in our caveman days). However, we misuse this to fight to protect our pride, protect us against 'emotional hurt' (which is not a physical hurt and often not real at all), to push to get better service from the incompetent imbeciles in the stores or on the phone (wrongly believing that "punishing" others is effective)
As with anxiety, if we learned enough to discriminate properly as to what isn't a real threat, then anger would happen hardly at all - and only when actually needed.
WE CAN BE IGNORANT AND VICTIMS OR...
If we are victimized by anger or by anxiety or any of these emotions, it is because we are not sufficiently knowledgeable to "manage" our emotions. By managing the emotions, I mean seeing them for what they are and aren't, then deciding what to do with them - plus some preparation ahead of time so that we know how not to create illusionary threats that cause unnecessary emotional reactions in the first place.
In managing emotions, we must have a procedure, in a sense, so that we know what to do. And that procedure is pretty simple actually - and very doable.
1. Notice a "bad" feeling.
2. Take a break from the feeling, to engage the higher brain
3. Use the higher brain to make a factual, reasoned response, which might be as simple as "breathe deeply, let this go, it is of no import..."
Of course, you need to become more knowledgeable about the emotions and how to handle them, in a process that is considered absolutely essential for happiness: applying Emotional Intelligence to our emotions and the emotions of others. No matter how many emotional problems keep cropping, many people persist in not learning enough in this area. They read a few magazine articles or respond to 'bad' instances - and then they drop it, becoming 'knowledgeable' dilettantes who are far short of wisdom, who fail to use the reality (law) of the necessity to complete (finish) what is necessary to get the result. (See Completion - The Process That Creates Great Power.)
MANAGE THEM, DON'T FIGHT THEM
Interestingly enough, we can't control emotions nor "fight" them. It is futile (and fruitless) to resist them, as we will keep them on our mind while we are doing that - this is the basis for the old saying 'what you resist, persists' - if you want to keep a bad emotion around, all you need to do is to resist it, and you'll create more and more suffering the more you do that.
A manager of emotion, like a manager of people, confronts the 'problem' and solves it - and knows not to be afraid of confronting it (or them).
A good manager does not let the problems accumulate, he/'she solves them promptly, being willing all the while to fail and then get up and try again - he/she knows that addressing the problem, even if it feels scary, is superior to experiencing the problem over and over and over and over.
An anxious person is an anxious person only because he/she has simply not dealt with the issues - and has gone passive or belly up, lying there playing the worst possible role, that of 'victim'. He/she finds fault with him/herself for being anxious, making the situation worse. They seem to think they don't have the ability to learn how to handle that, because they have proof that they haven't been able to in the past. However, their 'proof' is not actually valid, as they simply have not gone far enough and quit too soon.
BE AS WISE AS A BABY
They should follow the wisdom of a baby: fall down, get up, fall down, get up...eventually walk, badly...walk a little better...and so on - instead of giving up because of his/her being incompetent at walking.
Anyone who is of fairly normal intelligence can learn this. In fact, anyone who is of fairly normal intelligence can do, with sufficient learning of what to do, can do what anyone else of fairly normal intelligence has done.
You can walk, in a managing of emotions sense, eventually. It does, however, take persistence - and the willingness to not be so good at it in the learning stages. It is entirely doable, period. This is an absolute truth.