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PodcastA Dichotomous Situation

A Dichotomous Situation

We’d like to believe that things are always either black or white, but that’s simply not the case with emotions. Having conflicting emotions all at once can be confusing, but it’s perfectly okay to sit with our different emotions and find ourselves within that gray space.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(mellow music) Headspace Studios. Hi there, my name is Kessonga and I welcome you this Wednesday to "Radio Headspace". As I've previously mentioned, before I was a mindfulness meditation teacher here at Headspace I used to be a psychotherapist in private practice. I thoroughly enjoyed the work as I was able to treat a wide variety of clients dealing with a full range of mental health issues. A recurring theme that would present itself is that emotions aren't always cut and dry. There's a lot of gray area that can be confusing and that's okay. One client that comes to mind is a woman, let's call her M, who was concerned about the feelings of doubt she was experiencing in regards to her remarrying. Knowing that marriage in and of itself can be stressful and conjure up strong emotions, so I was immediately empathetic with M's situation. M explained how her ex-husband was undeniably her soulmate. They knew each other from childhood, became high school sweethearts, eventually went to college together, then had two children and settled down. It was a storybook kind of marriage. They were married for over 20 years and then tragedy struck. He got sick, and within two or three years M's ex-husband passed away. M went on to explain that soon after her ex's death a family friend expressed romantic feelings for her. They slowly started dating and after about three years of dating, they started to discuss marriage. M struggled from the very beginning with feelings of betraying her ex by dating this new guy. In session, she would ask questions like, does remarrying mean that I didn't love my ex-husband in the first place? So as the sessions progressed we did reach some important conclusions. For instance, she came to the overall realization that she was still mourning her ex-husband's passing. Also, and maybe the most important, that it was okay for her to still love her ex-husband and her current soon-to-be husband. When she realized that it was okay for this dichotomy to exist, she expressed feeling a huge load of stress lift off of her shoulders. She even expressed this dichotomy to her fiance, who was like, of course you're going through this. He was very understanding. Oftentimes, we go through life believing that things are quote unquote, black and white, so to speak, either or. But quite frequently we find ourselves in that gray space. I think this is particularly true when it comes to our emotions. Feeling different emotions at the same time can be quite confusing. Joy and sorrow, happiness and jealousy, and of course love and hate. As human beings are complicated creatures it's not surprising that we frequently experience this dichotomy, and I truly feel that it's perfectly okay. A mindful approach to sorting out a dichotomous situation is by bringing full awareness to the situation. Once you're aware that you're immersed in a dichotomous situation, allowing yourself to fully accept it and noticing if you're bringing...


Duration6 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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