One afternoon, my son and I got into a heated argument. I can’t even remember now what it was about, yet this was a pivotal moment for me. As he stomped off upstairs, I sat on the couch feeling so infuriated my head felt like it was going to explode. And yet, as I saw his feet disappear at the top of the stairs I had this stark realization ~ my depth of anger for my son at that moment equaled the depth of my love for him. All of the sudden the anger that had scared me just a moment before seemed OK. In fact, I actually embraced it because in some weird way it also reflected the great love I had (and still have!) in my heart for him.
Oftentimes we mistakenly believe that happiness is the absence of negative emotion.
But that’s not really the case.
Happiness is actually the joy you feel as you’re working towards your potential.
And guess what?!
Working towards your potential *will* involve overcoming obstacles, which also means experiencing some undesirable emotion along the way.
Resisting negative emotion (a.k.a., pretending it’s not really there) doesn’t make it go away.
In fact, resisting emotion creates so many problems (i.e., feeling stuck, physical ailments) and it keeps us from experiencing what it is to truly be alive.
The next time you find yourself buffering from a negative emotion (i.e., distracting yourself with social media, food, exercise, etc.), try allowing yourself to feel that emotion instead.
Name the emotion.
Notice where you actually feel it in your body.
Allow it to be there (sometimes acknowledging out loud can help, “This is [regret].
I’m feeling [regret]”).
Get out some paper and write down everything in your head.
Don’t judge it, just allow it, and be curious.
Allowing yourself to feel the negative emotion, instead of resist it, will enable it to actually go away ~ which is very different than pretending it’s not really there.
It allows you to be a real human being living here on the earth where we’re supposed to experience the good and the bad.
There is no hope without disappointment.
There is no joy without sorrow.
There is no faith without doubt.