There is a common misconception in the world of self help and spirituality that we are supposed to be happy, positive, mindful and thriving, all the time.
We equate feelings of happiness, love, joy, motivation and passion with success,
and feelings of sadness, anger, hurt or disappointment with failure.
As human beings we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We have adopted the belief that feelings are either good or bad, and connect how we feel with either our successes, or setbacks. In truth, there are no good or bad feelings, there are just feelings. A feeling only becomes negative when it is suppressed, denied the right of expression, or believed as being so.
When things are going well, we are so quick to express it. We are fuelled by our egos, and when we feel good, we want others to know it. And yet, when we feel bad, we immediately put up a guard. Our egos try to protect us from feelings of hurt, judgement, or shame. We use so much of our energy trying to deny our negative emotions; pulling our focus away from them, rather than embracing, accepting and releasing them.
It is okay to have ‘negative’ emotions. We are human beings, having a human experience, living in an ever changing and high pressure society.
Yes, practise self-care and mindfulness, establish healthy habits and routines, and rely on any practises that can help you to cultivate a sense of happiness and wellbeing, but don’t accept that you are a ‘failure’ if you have days where you let these practises slip. Don’t believe that you are inferior for a having a normal response or reaction to an internal or external stimuli.
it is normal for our emotions to ebb and flow. And while yes, we are responsible for how we choose to respond to triggers and stimuli, the reality of the situation is, we are human. There are going to be days when we feel down, flat, unmotivated, upset, or anxious. Our lives can change in a moment; we could experience a loss, or a trauma, a diagnosis, or a disappointment. Or we could simply just be having an off day.
And that’s okay.
Where we can begin to go wrong with our emotions however, is by suppressing them, and accepting the belief that our negative emotions equate failure, shame, or inferiority.
Feeling sad, angry, impatient, hurt, scared or upset, is JUST as important as feeling happy, excited, motivated and loved.
Our emotions serve us.
Don’t run from them, don’t fight them.
Face them, and invite them in.
Remember, it is what stays inside of us, that makes us ill.
When we fail to express our emotions, our brain signals a stress response and we enter into a state of ‘flight-or-fight’ mode. Our body uses energy needed elsewhere in our bodies, such as our immune and digestive systems, to deal with the perceived threat that it believes we are experiencing. Our body responds in this state of stress by increasing our blood pressure and heart rate, causing feelings of anxiety and depression, and supresses our immune system leaving us susseptable to illness and disease.
“The opposite of depression, is expression” – Edith Eger
So how can we healthily express our emotions?
Recognise them. Accept them. And Express them.
Recognise what it is you are feeling, feel it, and accept it.
You can even delay your response to your feeling, just remember not to let it go unchecked. For example, if somebody does something that makes you angry or upset in a social situation, it might not be the ideal or appropriate time to start yelling and screaming.
You can say to yourself, “I am feeling angry right now, and that is okay. I accept this feeling, it is a normal response, and I am deciding to sit with it right now.”
Or, let it out! Its okay.
Cry, shout, scream, punch a pillow, throw yourself a pity party!
Just don’t stay there!
That is the key.
Expressing our emotions is a release. And when we release the feelings, we can be free of them. We don’t need to remain imprisoned by our emotions. We don’t need to be bogged down by our own high standards of what we think should and shouldn’t be feeling. Just feel it. Really feel it. Accept it. And let it go.
When we don’t accept, feel, express or release our negative emotions, they begin to take root and become embedded in our being, our subconscious, and our beliefs.
The quicker that we are able to recognise our sadness, fear, anger, or any other low feeling emotion, the quicker can acccpt it, express it, release it, and replace it with higher feeling energies and vibrations that are in alignment with our true selves.
Remember, life is a balance. Take the good with the bad, and be kind to yourself. Stop striving for perfection, and strive for being human.