Have you noticed that feeling anything other than positive emotions can be viewed as a negative thing? Almost like there is something wrong with you for not being perfectly happy and chipper all of the time?
People tell each other to cheer up, put a smile on your face, don’t cry, don’t feel bad, you shouldn’t take it so hard, no reason to be so bent out of shape.
I am generally a very positive, happy person but sometimes I’m downright angry or sad or disappointed or frustrated or……(the list goes on). For the longest time I would feel so guilty for feeling negative emotions because I thought it meant that I was being ungrateful for all the good in my life. Or that I was being too picky or whiny.
I would try to convince myself why I shouldn’t be feeling the negative emotion that I was experiencing.
Then it dawned on me that I am supposed to feel a full range of emotions throughout my life….even throughout a single day! That’s the wonderful thing about being a human being. We get to feel a variety of ways and combined, this makes a more full life.
I can’t imagine living a life where I was perfectly happy all of the time. How would I really even know what happiness was if I didn’t know the opposite feeling of sad?
How would I feel satisfied and fulfilled if I hadn’t experienced disappointment?
I wouldn’t want to live in a world where if someone you love deeply passes away and you don’t feel grief or sadness. Or if someone hurts us we aren’t able to feel disappointed and angry.
If we all are humans and feel a full range of emotions, then why do we try to prevent all the negative emotions in ourselves and others? After thinking about this for awhile, I came to the conclusion that it has to do with fear. We are afraid of feeling certain emotions.
We know that some emotions will hurt and be unpleasant and we generally steer clear of discomfort in our lives. We like to live in our comfort zones.
But how are we supposed to push ourselves to our highest version of ourselves if we don’t push against this “comfort zone” boundary? In our comfort zone we usually only expose ourselves to situations that bring about the emotions we desire to feel. We don’t take lots of risks or test the waters.
Doing something you’ve never done before is scary. Pursuing a goal that you may or may not be able to achieve is frightening. This is why so many people often settle for their “good enough” life because it’s where they are comfortable and the feelings they experience are more predictable.
I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone 6 years ago when I decided to leave my full-time job and pursue my housecleaning business. I felt so many negative emotions during the process that it was very exhausting.
I decided that I was willing to pay the price of the negative emotions of fear, overwhelm, uncertainty, anxiety, doubt, guilt, and embarrassment in order to make my goal come true.
I expected to feel uncomfortable and when those uncomfortable emotions came I recognized them, accepted them and waited for them to leave. The funny thing is that they always leave….eventually. The emotions come in waves so I chose to ride them out almost like I ride out the waves of hunger if I’m unable to eat at the first sign of hunger.
If you just accept the fact that you’re feeling a negative emotion and don’t try to resist it, it’s amazing at how your body lets it flow through you and leave.
Focusing on the positive emotions you have can really help carry you through the times when you feel the negative emotions because you know that better times are coming.
I challenged myself recently to keep track of all the emotions I had in a single day. I think I experienced every single one! It is amazing to actually write your emotions down for a day and see what experiences trigger each emotion. If you want to get to know yourself on a deeper level, I highly recommend you do this exercise.
Also, if you have emotions that you are terrified of experiencing, try writing down what’s the worst thing that would happen if you felt that feeling, and what are the benefits to feeling that emotion?
If you can prove it to yourself that the emotion is worth the price you pay, then you may begin to resist that emotion less and less and take chances towards reaching goals that you otherwise wouldn’t attempt.
I wish you the best in reaching your dreams and being open to experience any emotion that may arise.