This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about emotions.

I spent years believing that I was a very emotional person. My sisters have always been theĀ  cool, calm, and collected type. And then there was me.

They were busy pursuing careers in nursing and business. I was busy flying off the handle.

I was always “the emotional one.”

It took a long time and a few counseling sessions for me to begin to realize that the way I saw myself was not completely accurate.

See, my counselor told me that everyone has the same amount of emotions – it’s impossible to have more emotions than the average person. I may just think about them, analyze them, and communicate them a lot more.

Great. That made me feel weak – I have less control over how I communicate my emotions than other people.

And that idea of myself also stayed with me for a long time. Kind of depressing.

What’s bugged me the most is that there are things that I feel pretty passionate about, and I long for so much more in this life – more of God, for me and for other people.

And when I make dumb choices that bring me away from all that I long for, or I see other people making those choices, I usually end up getting really frustrated and angry.

Then I make Ben listen to me rant and rave, and get all worked up, which really doesn’t help anything.

And I end up sounding really critical and judgmental, and things just go in a bad direction.

But this week, a friend told me something that could possibly change my life.

She said, “When you don’t know what to do with sadness, it can become anger.”

And something just clicked.

Since then, I feel the truth of this again and again. The longing for change and for more of God is good. But when that doesn’t happen, when wrong choices are made, I feel…sad. I really do. I just never recognized it before, and skipped right ahead into being frustrated and mad.

I’m noticing what a huge difference there is between sad and mad.

Sad makes me cry instead of yell.

Sad makes me hurt for someone and what could have been, instead of looking down on them and judging them.

Sad can make me quietly carry a heavy burden, instead of making me say or do things in the heat of the moment that I will later regret.

Somehow, sad is leaving me a little calmer, and allowing some extra head and heart space to realize that I need to bring my sadness to my Father. It was never a burden that I was meant to carry, sad or mad.

I like it. I think I’ll keep giving it a try.