Emotional Paradox: Why We Need To Embrace Contradictory Emotions

The reality of our daily experience is typically a swirl of emotions. Rarely, do we feel only one way in any given moment. We often push away, or attempt to push away certain emotions in hopes of feeling “one way.”

As a performing artist and public speaker, I often find myself in the midst of multiple emotional states. Recently while I was guest conducting the Tucson Pops Orchestra, I was conducting Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. This work can be defined in many ways, much like humanity. As I was conducting and connecting with my fellow brass and percussion artists, my emotional state consisted of:

  • Determination as an individual human being
  • Grateful to be alive and thriving
  • Disdain for negative influences in our world
  • Sadness related to many who have never experienced artistic immersion
  • Elation related to the freedom of expression

There were moments where one of these emotional states was most prominent, and other moments where I was in a mixed state of several of them. Much as been written recently about emotional intelligence, and today’s blog references the importance of...

Embracing an emotional depth of being

What does that mean? What can it mean?

Lifting the veil

Something I encourage you to consider is the difference between your needs and desires. It is very easy to stay most connected to only your needs, no matter where you are on the socio-economic spectrum. I have met people of little means who are in survival mode financially and emotionally.  I have also met people who are financially well off, who also are in survival mode, emotionally.

When we stay focused only on our needs, and teach others to do the same, we end up feeling as if something is missing in our lives. Tapping into when we are sad and happy is not exactly what I’m talking about, because this is a surface experience. When we look only at needs, we are typically looking at things in a linear fashion. For example, if someone looks at emotions in a “needs-based” manner, in a way that is easily explained, feeling “happy or sad” is a choice I’ve seen some people make. They’re usually not even aware that they are doing this. When your choices are “Sad or Happy”, “Up or Down” “Succeeding or Failing,” this leads to a life experience that usually produces a great deal of stress.

Re-orienting ourselves

As we begin to rewire our minds to look into our life experience with more depth, we can begin to be the most proactive force in our own life. For example, the idea of failure and succeeding is one which is not embraced in the scientific community. The idea of continual learning in the world of science is normal, yet in many other walks of life, the idea that you fail some times, and should avoid failure at all costs has become commonplace. In my own life, I have embraced what some call failure as a moment of great learning. When I “fail” in the eyes of some, what they do not see or sense, is this moment ignites a flame of both curiosity and intense production in me, and for me.

What can you learn by embracing multiple emotions at the same time? When you first embrace this normal human reaction to life, you’ll begin the process of evolving into a multi-faceted human being, and a linear life will become less appetizing. You’ll being to seek the different; empowering instead of taking power; inviting instead of mandating.

Enjoying the rich broth of life

If you’ve ever had Tonkotsu, you might be able to predict where I’m headed with this blog. Tonkotsu is a profoundly, soothing, tasty, and nutritional bone broth. The broth is the base for this Asian soup. There are many other components which go into the soup, which can vary. Typically, the other components include:

  • Tonkotsu Broth (many different components like Ginger, different bones, garlic, etc.)
  • Noodles
  • Garlic
  • Mirin
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Soft boiled egg
  • Pork or Beef
  • Some type of spicy heat
  • Cilantro

The typical analogy here would be to diversify your thinking, emotional states of being and in general your life, just like a great Tonkotsu broth. This analogy would be solid, but here’s the thing… I’m going to assume you already made that analogy for yourself. It’s an obvious analogy. What I encourage you to do is…

Consider changing out the ingredients that go into the broth

Consider embracing the different emotions which enter your mind, instead of pushing away emotional states of mind, which may at first be confusing to you. We are not the noodle, or the egg, or even the broth. We are, potentially, all of them.

Cheers everyone,


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