On Healing and Embracing Negative Emotions

Feel your feelings. All of them.

Hello, my lovelies!

I hope everyone in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you were able to enjoy every moment with your families. My weekend was certainly fun- and family-filled, and I’m really grateful that all my family members are so close to each other and healthy. My thoughts go out to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones right now—especially since the holiday season is upon us. May you have the strength to move through your days, may you be comforted during times of heartache, and may you be surrounded by infinite love.

Anyway, this is such a fitting time of year to begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and invite greater levels of positivity into our lives. It’s a time to reflect upon the things that are meaningful to us and give thanks for them. Realistically, this should be done all the time, but if you’ve been struggling to recognize all the things you have to be thankful for, now is a great time to be more intentional about that. If you need a little nudge, take a look at my article about gratitude journals. They’re a great tool to get you started!

This year, I’m really thankful for all the things that are clearly “good” in my life—a healthy and loving family, supportive friends, a cute little apartment to live in, my educational opportunities, and my newfound independence, among other things. However, I’m learning more each day about the importance of also giving thanks for the things that aren’t so clearly “good.”

You have probably noticed that I focus on the theme of positivity quite a bit on this blog. Everything I have written so far has been done with the intention of uplifting both the reader and myself. This is well and good; however, it is important to honor ourselves wherever we are on a given day. We should not feel happy all the time.

Yep, you read me right.

Here’s what I mean:

While keeping a positive attitude in general is a wonderful way to attract abundance and joy into our lives, we have to allow ourselves to feel whatever feelings we may be having. Especially when we are going through difficult times that require us to heal ourselves. It seems like there is a general sentiment in our society that certain emotions—anger, sadness, resentment, hurt, and jealousy, to name a few—are “bad.” We refer to them as negative emotions, and it seems that this carries with it the assumption that we should do what we can to not have them. Why not? Maybe because having them can make the people around us feel uncomfortable. Maybe because we worry that if we allow ourselves to feel them, they’ll never go away, and we’ll turn into a bunch of “negative” people. This is speculation, and I’m sure there are a variety of other reasons, as well.

Here’s the thing, though. If we try so hard to ignore our “negative” emotions, all we’ll end up doing is burying them within us, which can easily result in unhealthy and toxic patterns of behavior in our close relationships (especially in our relationships with ourselves). We may be more prone to blame ourselves or others for misfortunes that occur. We may become defensive or insecure. We may lose sight of our inherent worthiness of good things in life. We may keep making the same mistakes over and over in relationships. Overall, nothing good comes of it.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I do something that’s probably not that uncommon. When I experience something difficult or hurtful, I almost immediately jump into fix-it mode. I think, “What do I need to do to heal right now?” I make lists of things I can do to take care of myself, with ideas such as working out, taking bubble baths, trying new recipes, listening to uplifting music, meditating, and laughing with friends. The reasoning, in my mind, is that I want to be back to my best self as soon as humanly possible. The problem with this, however, is that a lot of times, I forget about the first and arguably most important part of the healing process—feeling the feelings.  Rather than allowing myself to fully experience my anger, sadness, or loneliness, I sometimes jump straight into thinking about how I can get rid of those things and return to a place of joy. (Don’t do this. It’s a trap, and you will end up taking longer to heal than you initially may have.)

If you ever have a tendency to do this, as many of us do, please remember how important it is to allow yourself to open your heart, acknowledge the negative emotions you might be feeling, and sit with them for a while. Notice how your body, mind, and spirit react to them. Take some time to think about where they come from. Go down the rabbit hole and allow yourself to experience and feel all of it. It doesn’t matter if you have to scream at the sky, cry all night, avoid all people, or neglect your responsibilities for a period of time. Be raw; do what you need to do. In order to truly heal from any hurt you might be experiencing, you have to move through those emotions—not away from them. If you’ve been conditioned all your life to believe that having negative emotions is “bad,” you’ll have to be intentional in giving yourself permission to feel them. If you’re struggling to give yourself permission, there’s nothing to worry about—here’s your permission. Feel you feelings. All of them. The worst, meanest, most hurtful ones. And then let them go (you’ll know in your heart when it’s time to let them go). Move through the pain. You will survive, and you will be happy soon.

Additionally, I hope you’ll join me in my efforts to show more gratitude for the things that don’t go the way we’d like them to. The things that hurt us truly make us stronger, and experiencing some darkness once in a while reminds us how beautiful the light is. The negativity in our lives is the force that pushes us to grow the most. It pulls us out of our comfort zones and forces us to take a raw look at how we live our lives. Take advantage of these periods of forced growth, and—if you feel like it’s possible—embrace the uncertainty that comes along with them. Everything happens for a reason.

Anyway, it is important to have a general attitude of positivity, but it is also important to honor our emotions—no matter what they may be. This is the first (and most important) step in healing.

With love,

Sonia

9 thoughts on “On Healing and Embracing Negative Emotions”

  1. Although I do agree that we should feel all our feelings and if required expose them to people who really care, but not every can jump out of the rabbit hole. The feeling of sadness can be additive… It sounds strange I know. It requires a lot of strength and support to actually move forward. And if that is not available, one might get stuck in the rabbit hole.
    A well written article… Stay blessed.

    Like

    1. That’s an excellent point. I guess the hope is that once we spend enough time in the rabbit hole, we will begin to feel the need to work to pull ourselves out of it and continue on our healing journey. But maybe it depends on if a person is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? It’s situational, for sure. Very difficult, indeed, and I definitely see what you’re saying.

      Like

  2. Great article. I agree we need to give ourselves the permission to feel our feelings. Grief, sadness, anger- rather than masking them and treating them as if they are the plague or a disease that needs a bandage, we should honor them and find support in our lives, if needed, to help validate, to help us through the rabbit hole, and to help lift us out if need be. You’re a wise woman.

    Like

  3. You are the best! Very sensitive article indeed.
    Not all persons may be able to feel motivated to get out of the hole in a reasonable grieving time. Creating a cause (purpose) to give positive direction to the feelings (thoughts) may help. This was my conversation early today with a man who lost his 62 years old marathon runner father without any sign of illness or accident. He was on a bicycle ride. Family is very much affected with some anger and some hopelessness, darkness. Any suggestions on ways to get out of the hole after a reasonable grieving time?

    Like

    1. I’m very sorry that happened. However, I think what is considered “reasonable” grieving time differs for everybody, so it’s important not to rush anybody through their healing processes. They (and only they) will know when it’s time to move forward, and hopefully they have a strong support system to help them through that.

      Like

    2. Also, I think it’s important to recognize that feelings and thoughts are not the same thing. Our thoughts reside completely in our heads and can be controlled relatively easily, while our feelings tend to affect our entire bodies, minds, and spirits. There may be a link between thoughts and feelings, but they are definitely not the same thing.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s