Should we ignore negative emotions?

Should we ignore negative emotions?

A splinter in your finger or a pebble in your shoe are both uncomfortable physical sensations. If we experience either, we are encouraged to reach for the tweezers or take our shoe off, to relieve our discomfort.

When we feel anxious, sad or angry for example, we are presented with a host of uncomfortable physical sensations. Some of the physical sensations can be dizziness, heart palpitations, tummy discomfort or muscle tension.

Like with the splinter or the pebble we seek to remedy the situation. We ask questions and investigate. We draw our attention to the discomfort and without much thought we are able to take action because we’ve dealt with this before and it worked, therefore we know that a pair of tweezers will help the pain experienced by the splinter.

What do we do when we experience uncomfortable emotions? Do we pay close attention or do we label these sensations (called feelings) and ignore them?

Whether we think an emotion is “good” or “bad” it is part of a group. Emotions come as a package not in isolation. When we discount our feelings by minimising them, we are in some way doing this for all feelings and emotions. If we succeed in dampening one, we might discover that the ones we desire such as joy, love or pride are dampened as well.

So it is easy to see how we can get into a sticky situation where we no longer experience healthy emotional levels and feel flat, we could be heading for depression. Another extremity is feeling too much emotion and being overwhelmed when we can no longer manage emotions in a healthy way which could be anxiety. If you are nodding your head and thinking “yes, I can see that” and want to learn new healthy ways of managing your emotional discomfort, I would encourage you to give time to the negative emotions as well as positive. This does not mean to say that we pity ourselves.

I will leave you with this question – “are you seeking relief from an emotional splinter?”

Are you experiencing that feeling of being “stuck”?

Are you experiencing that feeling of being "stuck"?
Have you ever felt that you were not living to your full potential? Would you use the word “stuck” when describing how you feel in life? Do you wish you could just “get on with it”, like you see others do? I like to use the analogy of a bird that stays in the cage, even though the door is open. Invisible barriers. While the bird can fly, and other birds do fly, one does not, but longs to. What gets in the way? What is that invisible barrier? Why does the bird not fly, even though there is no physical barrier?

Outdated messages

We are conditioned from childhood to be cautious, to keep us safe, and perhaps rightly so. “Don’t jump on the bed, you will fall off and break your arm” or “Don’t talk to stranger”. These messages serve us when we are kids, however they serve to limit us when we are older and want to achieve more with our lives. The child who was told not to jump on the bed, may survive youth intact, however they might not grow up to be risk takers. The child who does not talk to strangers may be safe, however may not feel overly confident in speaking in public.

False messages

Have you ever said “I can’t do that” or “I am not good at that”? Again, like outdated messages, false messages can be unhelpful and inhibitive. We can often tell ourselves things that are actually not true. When I hear “I can’t” I always think of the phrase “We can put a man on the moon, so why can’t…”. How does the bird leave the cage which he is imprisoned by? The following steps could be useful:
  • Be clear about what it is you would like to do that you are not currently able to
  • Look at the message that comes up when you think of doing what you want to
  • Challenge the message, “is it true”? Sometimes the answer is yes, which means looking for alternative ways to achieve what you would like. If the answer is no, ..
  • Begin to test the theory and learn to replace the message with a helpful and more accurate message, such as “I can do it, if I have help”,
In most cases “can’ts” are in the mind and are not accurate. We know when something is truly impossible and struggle less than when we know deep down that things are possible. I would invite anyone who experiences a feeling of being stuck to examine the evidence and challenge the outdated and false message that are holding you back from doing or achieving your desires.