Q&A – Should we control our emotions in life?

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Q. Hello Mr. Khera,
X here. You once said I can pop in and message you regarding any query I might have. I am taking you up on your offer now.
As an admirer of Swami Vivekananda, I try to follow his ideals, but sometimes I have a hard time juggling between his ideals and my emotions. There is this particular one. He said that people should try to keep their emotions in check and not let emotions control/guide their lives. And the modern philodophy is that people should let their emotions free and not lock them up. How do I find a balance between them? Is it by facing my emotions but not acting on them intuitively? As a believer of spiritulity, I never thought there would ever be  a day when my emotions will wreck havoc in my life, but they quite have, and I do not understnd how to let go of emotions, as what a spiritual life instructs.
I hope you will be able to help me out. 🙁
Thank you for your time. Have a good day.


Hi X. The debate about emotions is as old as civilization. The creation of stoicism was a large part in influencing the west to control their emotions. Emotional control is a huge advantage in survival at times where we need to be still in order to get food. In the workplace, you can’t showcase emotions right? Wrong. The best leaders (Jobs, gates, Bezos) show their emotions. When people get angry, they express themselves and become human again. See now, human beings can simply let-go of controlling their emotions and focus on changing the world instead. You can finally become yourself and breathe.

See, the popular consensus is that one should either hold on to their emotions, or express them. When you pick one, you quickly fall in a trap. If you just start doing whatever you love doing – all this will slowly fade away. These two poles. These two pillars. The guardians to the gate. This is where Madhyamika (Middle Way) comes in. For practical reasons, follow the middle way when faced with two extremes.

A baby. Would you tell a baby to hold its emotions? No. Will you ask a dog to stop wagging its tail? No. Any theory of this universe is based purely on practicality, as if emotions were not meant to be expressed then why were they created in the first place. If you want to go ahead in life, don’t focus on emotional control. Focus on love and expression through doing the things you love.

Now a moment will come where your free-expression will cause harm. But it only causes harm to someone that refuses to live in a world where people can’t express themselves and MUST be cordial. Imagine a world where everyone hid their emotions and was always still. Would you want to live in that world? Now imagine a world where emotions like anger, lust, frustration, etc was seen as a part and parcel of daily living. Where we can all celebrate this emotional rollercoaster together, instead of having two sets of people – one who hides and one who shines. See a truly happy person, sees both sides of the coin, and chooses to flip around with it instead of being stuck on one side.

In the end, don’t pick one. Feel free to play around with it. But by and large, if you want a happier life – express your emotions, thoughts, desires and love.

Hope this added to your spiritual inquiries. Incase it did, im glad



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