You’ve heard the saying ‘What you resist, persists.’ So, when you find yourself in an annoying or emotionally challenging situation it is normal for negative emotions to arise.
Yet, when you are resistant to feel those negative emotions, all you’re doing is prolonging your upset and the unpleasantness of the situation will continue to affect you – mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Recognize that resistance is futile, and changes nothing. Instead, put your energy to positive use by working towards feeling better or towards creating a better situation.
There’s also no good reason to spend a lot of time complaining about what got you into a difficult or uncomfortable situation. That merely keeps you stuck where you are.
The first step in moving forward is to stop looking backwards. Stop wishing that things had been different and start working to make things a whole lot better.
Take focused action and create a better feeling state for yourself by working through your emotions.
For example, when you feel angry, sad, or hurt, let yourself feel the emotion. Dive into it. Really feel your unpleasant emotion and release it, so you can free yourself of it.
Yes, this is contrary to what many life coaches, self-development books and courses tell you. Most will teach you to distract yourself. Take your attention off how you feel. Focus on something else to make the emotion go away.
However, it won’t go away because taking your attention off your emotion does not remove it. All that happens is it subsides a bit and the remaining emotion trickles into your subconscious. There it is stored and simmers…
You experience something similar with the other popular method you’re taught when you want to learn how to manage your emotions.
First you are encouraged to think about why you are feeling these emotions. Then you’re told to manage and control them. In other words, try and ignore them so that you no longer feel them.
When you do manage to control and continue to ignore your emotions, they do eventually subside.
At this point, most people erroneously proclaim, “I no longer feel (particular emotion) so it’s gone.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
When your emotion is managed and controlled (i.e., suppressed rather than expressed), it does not go away. It sinks into your subconscious. There it is stored and simmers…
Imagine a boat sinks to the bottom of the ocean. It will remain there until another boat comes along and pulls the sunken boat to the surface.
Similarly, when you have an experience that causes you feel to the same emotion you’ve suppressed on a previous occasion, some of this suppressed emotion (stored in your subconscious) is pulled to the surface and intensifies the emotion you already feel.
For instance, when you feel sad, some of the sadness stored in your subconscious from past experiences resurfaces and flows into the sadness you currently feel. It intensifies and you feel even worse.
Now for the good news.
You can prevent this scenario from happening to you in future. All you would do is engage with your unpleasant emotions as they arise and release them completely. (Want some help to release them properly? Have a look here.)
What’s important to remember is any emotion – positive or negative – is energy that wants to be expressed.
Rather than suppress them, it’s particularly important to express negative emotions because of the detrimental effect they have on our body and mind – as many scientific studies in the field of PNI (psychoneuroimmunology) and epigenetics have shown us.
When you’re holding a yellow balloon in your right hand and you decide to let it go, you open your hand, and the balloon is released from your grip. It drifts up and away. Never to return.
When you’re in the grip of a negative emotion, how do you let it go?
Not by ignoring it, or distracting yourself from it, nor by managing and suppressing it.
But simply by engaging with it. When you do, its grip loosens. Its energy is released out of your body. It drifts up and away. Never to return.
As you can see, resistance (to feel your negative emotion) is futile, and changes nothing.
The point is to let yourself feel your unpleasant emotion so you can be free of it.
Remember: the more you feel your emotion, the faster it is released, the sooner you feel relieved.
When it’s gone, you are free.
Free to move forward, beyond the unfortunate situation that caused it.
Free to notice the good things you can take from the experience.
Every experience in your life, serves you in some way.