It was thought negative emotions need to be expressed like a tea pot under a boil whistles. It was then thought emotions need to be resisted with positive thinking, yet they seemed to spring like weeds.
Negative emotions only grow stronger when we indulge them. They only grow more insistent when we resist or ignore them. Negative emotions, like all pain, are signs that tells us to stop and pay attention. Something is wrong. Pain is good. Without it we would ignore wounds until they kill us physically or spiritually.We need to sit down with our friends and listen to what they have to say.
Letting anger and other “bad” emotions rampage just encourages them because we never really sit down and listen to what they have to say. We just let them react. Likewise keeping our friends locked up will just make them rage until the lock cannot held them any longer. Rather we need to use reason and examine exactly why we are feeling as we are.First, you have to get a handle on your emotions. Take a few moments to focus on your breathing. Notice how your stomach moves out when you inhale and in when you exhale. Is your stomach still but your shoulders moving when you breath? Focus on that breath until it moves to your naturally belly breathing. Now focus on your belly movement. Say to yourself In, I calm myself. Out, I find peace. Or more simply, in. Out. When you are a little calmer turn your mind to why you are feeling negatively. Continue to focus on your breathing as you listen to your friend.
The direct causes of our emotions are often apparent. You just had a fight with your spouse. Your boss just yelled or threatened you. Think deeper. Why did you fight with your spouse? Why did your boss threaten you? Look at the problem from their perspective. It doesn’t matter if their grievance is valid or not. It is apparently valid for them; otherwise it wouldn’t have been brought up in the first place. Examine how your action, or lack of action, influenced the source of your “bad” emotions. Most events are caused because of our actions or the actions of others.
Because thoughts drive actions we need to get control of our thinking. Negative emotions help us examine what aspects of our thoughts and behavior cause us trouble. These friends also provide solutions when we listen and examine the causes behind them. I must stress again, we have to use reason and honesty when we listen and look into the source of our suffering. Simply lashing out will continue suffering’s chain.
Positive thinking doesn’t help matters. You have to shift your thought habits at the root. Only by listening to pain can you learn how and where to shift your thinking.
Let’s make a negative emotion checklist.
- Calm yourself. Step back and focus on your breathing. Feel your stomach move and note your in breaths and out breaths.
- Examine why you are feeling as you are.
- Look for the causes behind the immediate surface reasons
- Look at the event from the other side of the situation
- Examine your thoughts and actions with reason and honesty. What did you do to cause the situation or add to it?
- Forgive yourself. You just made a mistake.
- Learn from what you found: change your thoughts, change your behavior.
Remember, pain is a good friend who only wants you to be healthy and happy. A teapot shrieks until you take it off the heat source. Only then can you make delicious tea.