Which Emotion to Process First?

Hurt Anger

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off.
Jim Rohn

If one is angry, is that the emotion to process? If one is hurt, is that the emotion to process?

Usually, the primary emotion we are experiencing may not be the only emotion to process. The emotion that is obvious is the emotion we are more comfortable demonstrating and/or experiencing. The emotion that is obvious might be the emotion that society dictates as permissible for that gender.

For example. It is usually okay for a boy to be angry, but not a girl. (Yes, I deliberately used the terms “boy” and “girl” because these are lessons we learn when we are young.) It is usually more acceptable for a girl to be hurt than a boy. Usually.

Growing up, I was the only girl among four brothers. I was not the princess nor treated like one. To survive, I had to be just as tough as them. Anger was okay. But, when I showed hurt or weakness, they pounced.

When a guy is “sensitive,” he is thought to be a sissy. When a woman is anger, she is called some unflattering names.

So, which emotion to process? Which one do we process? The primary emotion we are feeling and demonstrating or the emotion hiding under the primary emotion? You might want to start with the primary emotion since that is the emotion you are most comfortable with. As you let go of the primary emotion, the feelings underneath will rise to the surface and then they can be processed as well.

If it is okay to show anger, process the anger. The hurt beneath the anger, most likely, will make itself known. Then process the hurt.

If it okay to show hurt, process the hurt. When the anger beneath the hurt makes itself known, then process the anger.

© Tessa Cason, 2022.

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