The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Untangling the Web of Mixed Emotions

Understanding and validating your feelings can help to sort out the complexity of mixed emotions.
Torch Design / Megan Chapman

Many aspects of the media focus on dealing with negative feelings — but what about mixed feelings? Whether you are changing jobs, starting a new semester of school or have lost a close relationship, having mixed emotions is a common sensation. 

Mixed feelings refer to the partly positive and negative reactions to a situation or person. If you are having mixed emotions about someone or something, you feel both pleased and displeased at the same time. These feelings are generated by multiple things happening at once. Endings, for example, generate more than one meaning for us and thus more than one feeling: sadness and grief, but also excitement and relief.

If you have ever had mixed feelings about someone you love, whether it be a partner, family member or lifelong friend, you know the discomfort that comes with complex feelings. 

Below are some strategies and tips on how to effectively navigate and cope with mixed emotions.

One of the best first steps in any healing process is to acknowledge, accept and validate your feelings. It’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions, and denying or suppressing them can lead to further distress. 

By taking a moment — or even a few days — to identify and label your emotions, allows you to properly understand what you are feeling and how to move forward.

Once you’ve recognized your emotions, it’s important to validate them. Understand that your feelings are valid and that it’s okay to both love and be angry with someone at the same time. 

Avoid judging yourself for experiencing mixed emotions by practicing self-compassion and kindness. This way, you give yourself the same grace for your emotions that you give to others for theirs.

The next step is arguably the most important: identify your triggers. Try to pinpoint the factors that contribute to your mixed emotions. Is it a particular situation, event, person, thought or even phrase that is causing these feelings? 

Understanding the root cause can help you to address and manage your emotions moving forward. It’s crucial to note that a trigger may not be obvious, so ensure that you are patient with yourself.

If your mixed emotions have not yet manifested, taking care of yourself can help them come to the surface. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and joy, such as exercising, spending time with loved ones, practicing mindfulness or meditation, listening to music or reading; these will help nurture your emotional well-being. 

Consider keeping a journal to express and reflect on your thoughts and emotions. Writing can be a therapeutic outlet for processing feelings, gaining insights and tracking patterns or triggers in your emotional experience.

When your emotions are deciphered, if certain situations or relationships consistently trigger mixed emotions, consider setting healthy boundaries to protect yourself. Communicate your needs and limits assertively to prioritize your mental health.

Dealing with mixed emotions is a normal part of being human. By acknowledging, validating and managing your feelings, you can navigate through mixed emotions and seek support when needed. 

Remember that it’s okay to not have it all figured out and to give yourself grace in times of emotional complexity.

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About the Contributor
Megan Chapman
Megan Chapman, Design Editor
Megan is a junior graphic design major with a creative writing minor. This is her second year with the Torch as the Design Editor. Outside of the Torch, she likes writing, running, playing guitar and reading. Her favorite artists are R.E.M. and Elliot Smith. Megan can be reached at [email protected]
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