It’s one thing understanding that peace and joy come from within. It’s another thing to actually feel the radiant glow of those positive emotions when clouds of negativity seem so determined to cast their shadows. Emotions can feel as uncontrollable as the weather. While reading Anthony De Mello’s book Awareness, I was inspired to work with managing my own negative emotions as I describe in this post. The more I work with them, the better able I am to keep the clouds away, or at least diminish their effect.
My current practice for dealing with negative emotions involves:
- Acknowledging them
- Owning them
- Not being them
For emotional wellbeing I find I need to acknowledge all my emotions, not just the ones I like. You can’t change what you won’t acknowledge. Ignoring, repressing, pushing away or covering up emotions just doesn’t work. Emotions are the way in which we receive messages from our higher selves, spirit guides, angels and each other. The messages will not be ignored, and the feelings will remain persistent until you get the message. It’s also a good idea to try to determine what, if any emotions you picked up from someone else along the way, because the message might not be for you.
Once I identify my emotions, I accept that they are my emotions. They do not belong to someone else. I own them. We live in a world where people too often blame others for the way they feel, and for the pain they cause because of those feelings. We’ve probably all heard the phrase “you made me feel this way.” Indeed, it can often happen that our feelings are brought about because of our experiences with certain people or in certain situations, and I may feel better in myself when I remove myself from those people or places. However, I opened myself to those emotions by placing myself in those situations, whether or not by conscious choice. Even when I pick up emotions empathically, I must own them, even if only temporarily. That means, among other things, they are my responsibility.
Finally, it’s important to distinguish between having the emotion and “being” the emotion. The emotion is something I feel, it is a part of me, but it is not me. I don’t need to hand over my personal power and control to an emotion no matter how strong or negative it is. I find it can help sometimes if I look at emotions as though they were weather reports: Tonight’s weather is irritable, with a chance of anxiety by morning. When it’s raining outside, I know to wear a jacket to stay dry. By tracking my emotional weather, I can prevent there being any negative impact because of it.
In the end, the emotions are still there, but I don’t live in their shadows. Not focusing on the clouds, gives me more opportunity to focus on the sun.
I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with dealing with your own emotions.