We love to go to whatever lengths possible to avoid feeling negative emotions. We love to suppress, dull, avoid, and resist feeling emotions that don’t feel good.
We often believe that the events and the people in our life create how we feel. We don’t always know that negative emotions are created by our thoughts and that negative emotions are just vibrations that run through our bodies. In truth, how we feel is 100% influenced by the thoughts we think. That knowledge changes everything because we don’t have to wait for circumstances or people to change in order to feel better. The responsibility to feel what we feel is totally ours.
I am now a big advocate of learning how to sit with negative emotions and just feel them. I have learned that my negative emotions come from my negative thinking, so I can decide how deeply and how long I want to feel what I feel. I control all of it.
It took me a long time to learn this. Negative emotions are often just so uncomfortable that alI we want to do is flee as far away from them as possible. To stuff them down deep, with too much food or too much alcohol. To turn our back on them by checking out with too much TV, social media or gossip.
I know because I did this for a long time in my life. I was a big avoider of anything uncomfortable. Constantly overcompensating for any discomfort with over-the-top optimism, denial and trying to fix everything that I could get my hands on, even when I had no business trying to do so.
So what is the real downside of avoiding negative emotions besides perhaps, putting on a little extra weight, becoming a Netflix binger or living in denial? The real downside is that we can miss out of the opportunity to get to know ourselves. We risk missing out on the chance to learn what negative emotions are willing to teach us about what we think and why we are thinking it.
To know our thoughts is to know ourselves on the deepest level. It is this exact deepest level place where we can begin to decide if we have thoughts that we want to keep or change. That choice is our ultimate freedom – freedom to decide if we keep believing negative thoughts or if we want to create new thoughts which ultimately lead to better feelings. We feel better when we think better. No amount of food, TV, alcohol, gossip or drama can make us feel better in a sustaining, life-changing kind of way. Feeling better is an inside job. Sitting with our negative emotions invites us inside and this is the opportunity that is not to be missed.