Do you think you shouldn’t feel sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, embarrassment, pain, or powerlessness?
Do you tell yourself you should feel happy, peaceful, enthusiastic, confident, and excited all the time? Do you wonder if you can escape from all those negative feelings?
What are the benefits of not having negative feelings?
Yes, it is not pleasant to feel sadness or pain. And it’s normal to desire feeling happy and excited if you have a choice. It feels better to smile naturally. However, if you try not to feel specific feelings, you may notice you are thinking a lot about those feelings and those situations that led you to have those feelings. It means, we cannot escape from those feelings if you try.
So, I would like you to think about those "negative" emotions and feelings. Before going into the detail, I would like to say a few words that there are no "negative" or "positive" feelings, only "feelings" There are different types of feelings that we experience, but the feelings themselves are not good or bad. However, the word "negative" makes it easier to express the feelings you want to avoid, so I choose to used it here.
First, I would like you to think what would be the worst case scenario if you let the negative feelings come to your mind. What happens to your body when you are angry or embarrassed? When I am angry, my shoulder hardened and I feel my head gets bigger/heavier. When I am embarrassed, my stomach tightened and my face becomes hot. Probably my face turns red as well.
And this is not pleasant for sure, however, THEY ARE what happens when you experience those feelings. Yes, that’s it. Nothing more. It’s not that bad, is it? If the end result of having those feelings is a slight change in your body, you don’t need to afraid of experiencing it. And what can you do if you welcome those emotions and feelings?
Second, I would like you to remember what lead you to have those feelings. For example, I felt embarrassed recently because I responded to someone with irrelevant context. When I remember the situation, my stomach tightened, my face becomes hot, and I want to run away from my memory. However, by accepting the body’s reaction without rejecting it, I start to be able to think better about the situation. I can see I had a desire to respond well in the situation. I had an expectation to keep the conversation smoothly. But my response didn’t meet my expectation.
When you notice your body’s reaction without refusing it, you can observe what you feel as well as what thoughts/ideas you are having. Then, you can see what caused those thoughts and ideas. If you don’t try to escape from your feelings, you can learn so much about yourself and all the triggers which lead to various thoughts/ideas as well as feelings.
And last, experiencing a specific feeling doesn’t mean you should behave in a certain way. For example, when you are frustrated, you don’t have raise your voice or choose inappropriate words.
When you can observe your feelings, and learn your thoughts and ideas, you will realize your mind becomes clear and you can breath. If you can think clearly and breath deeply before saying or doing something, you can make a conscious choice of your behavior. It means you can take take ideal action proactively in stead of reacting to the situation.
It is your first but a huge step for your valuable life long self-care. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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