Emotional Bandwidth


Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

It is a lesson in futility, the notion of achieving and maintaining a state of constant happiness. Truth is, we’re designed to experience a number of emotions; some happy, some sad, some beautiful, some tragic, any number of emotions. From moment to moment, we are capable of feeling a broad bandwidth of emotions: highs, lows, and everything in between. This is the human experience.

It is when we are unable to feel a wide range of emotions that we should be concerned. In this state we are unable to connect with other people. We are unable to share. We are unable to be empathetic. We are incapable of fully experiencing beauty, magnificence, splendor, anguish, sorrow, or euphoria. In this state our hearts will not allow us to feel lows. We are unable to shed tears. Any highs we might experience are truly compressed. We subconsciously strive to contain ourselves.

I am confident this state of mind results from many factors, and there are two I’ve personally experienced that come to mind. Firstly, we can find ourselves in this state of low emotional bandwidth, where we are unable to feel any emotional highs or lows, because we’ve been hurt emotionally. When we are hurt, we can construct barriers to prevent being hurt again, ultimately landing ourselves in silos, completely devoid of emotion.

Secondly, we can find ourselves in this state of low emotional bandwidth if our motives are insincere. If we find ourselves aspiring for things that are of a false construct we sense this innately, and the result can be an emerging, systemic fear of revealing what we are truly feeling. We can find ourselves going about with a deep-seated fear of our inadequacies being exposed, of our inability to truly be who we would like others to perceive us to be.

In order to truly experience all of the awe and wonder that we are intended to feel we must come to grips with the fact that constant happiness is not our goal. Rather, the goal is to be in a place where we can feel more in order to relate more with others. We need not aspire to be more, to have more, to appear as more. Rather, we need to pursue transparency, to be content with our shortcomings and our failings.

Happiness is found as we experience emotion with one another. It is found in our relationships with others. It is discovered as we meet emotion with emotion, as we share vulnerably with one another. And this happiness is a genuine happiness, the true, legitimate kind. It inspires and galvanizes us. It restores and revitalizes. In fact, this happiness, borne form vulnerably relating and sharing genuine emotions with others can heal us.