Why you want to embrace negative feelings
There’s been a lot of crying happening lately.
By my clients, my colleagues and myself. And undoubtedly by many, many other people.
How about you?
The tears I’ve seen represent pain, grief, anger and shame. They’re not the kind of feelings that you naturally walk towards.
The intensity of these emotions that have emerged from the discussion on racism in America, as well as the turmoil caused by COVID, can feel overwhelming.
But it’s so important to feel them – and not fight against them.
These shitty feelings are absolutely normal. And not just that,
Feeling difficult emotions is an essential part to creating growth and change.
That’s why it’s SO important to learn how to sit with them, however uncomfortable it may be.
Here are a few reasons why you want to do this work:
1. When you avoid feeling negative emotions, you maintain the status quo
Avoiding emotions usually looks like:
- Not talking about feelings or the topic that the feelings are about
- Pretending everything is ok, when it’s not
- Distracting yourself with self-sabotaging activities like drinking, emotional eating, binge watching tv, etc.
- Engaging in subtle self-sabotage with apparently positive activities like exercise, cleaning and working (in place of feeling)
Notice how none of the above activities address the cause of your feelings or permit you to fully experience them. When you engage in those things nothing changes.
2. When you allow yourself to feel negative emotions fully, you become stronger
Sitting with a shitty feeling, and feeling it all the way through, will loosen its hold on you.
Instead of avoiding and reacting to the feeling, you allow it to be there. You no longer pretend everything is ok or distract yourself with treats, you simply sit with the crappy feeling.
You stop fighting against it, wishing it weren’t there and getting worked up about it (causing even more negative emotion).
When you’re willing to feel ANY emotion, then that means you’re able to weather ANY event.
Because the worst thing that can happen, ALWAYS, is that you’ll feel a negative emotion.
Accepting shitty feelings as part of life and embracing them will make you so much more resilient. This strength will help you stay in your center, no matter what comes your way.
3. Fully feeling negative emotions can lead to life-changing action
When you become a person who feels fully, you become someone who takes action from a strong sense of self.
You’re no longer just reacting to your anger or your grief. You’re no longer hiding from your shame. You’re no longer wasting the precious hours, days and years of your life distracting yourself.
Instead, you’re present. You’re willing to feel all the feelings.
In so doing, you get to learn the lessons that pain and grief and shame and anger have to teach.
You experience the vulnerability, the empathy and the empowering effects that negative emotions inspire.
You learn to show up, even in fear. Even in uncertainty.
This builds deep understanding of a situation and of the human experience.
This builds self-confidence & power.
And when you take action from this place, your actions are much more in service of your authentic self and your vision for the higher good.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?
So, the next time you find yourself feeling an emotion you’d rather not feel, I challenge you to stay present with it.
- How can I honor this feeling?
- What does it have to teach me?
Doing this work isn’t easy, but it can be life changing. And not just for you.
Let me know if you have questions, I’m here to help.
You got this.
Learning to feel negative emotions takes practice and patience. As a life coach, I can help you learn how to process feelings and apply this work to any area of your life where you feel challenged. You can learn more about how coaching works by scheduling a time to chat with me.