People that ask about intuition are usually looking for an answer to a big question in their life. They are wondering what to do to get unstuck or to feel happier. Sound familiar? I know it really well.
Dealing with the triggers that push our buttons and getting unstuck are really dealing with the same problem. We must be willing to change how we see negative emotions. They aren't something to ignore, push away, or rush through.
Negative emotions have a purpose, we humans are not meant to feel positive and happy all the time. Anyone that tells you otherwise should be chucked into the nearest river immediately. Negative emotions are incredibly effective at showing us what we don’t want, and also inspiring us to take action to change the situation.
When we have a negative emotion we can see it as a signal. It's a alarm bell that we are tolerating something that we don't really resonate with on a deeper level. That means we need to take a look at what's causing the negative emotions and we can address the problem.
It also requires you to actually feel the feelings that are coming up. Don’t push them away, don’t ignore them. Just like when you’re swimming in the ocean and a wave comes along. You can’t run from it and you can’t go around it. You have to dive into it and then you are safe from the crash.
Dive into the negative feeling. There is something there that is asking for your attention.
This is why it’s actually a good thing when your buttons get pushed. They’re triggering some negative emotions, which is just a starting point to growth. You’re being called to be greater. Go into it, answer the call.
Here is my process for dealing with negative emotions.
The first step to dealing with negative emotions is to recognize and notice that you’re feeling them. Sometimes I can get into a funk without even noticing it, and then it effects my mood and how I treat the other people around me all day without really being aware of what I’m doing. This actually happened the other day. My boyfriend pointed out I was being a grump, and at that time I wasn’t ready to hear it, so I laughed it off. He brought it up again later, and I thought maybe it was time to take a look at why he’d say it twice. Was it true, was I grumpy?
I checked in with myself and did a mental scan of my body and my emotions. Sure enough, some really grouchy feelings were hanging out. I was trying to push them down by ignoring them.
After I noticed the feelings and acknowledged that they were real, what did I do next?
My next step was to get distance. An idea that revolutionized my coaching was the concept that I am not my thoughts. Thoughts are things, they are not who I am. Think about it this way. If your thoughts were like tiny little frogs hopping around, you could watch the frogs. If you were all the frogs you wouldn't see them, you would BE all of them. I am separate from the frogs. I can see each frog as something separate from who I am.
So, that means my thoughts are just that – thoughts. Most of the time they’re not even mine because I’ve picked them up from somewhere or someone else. I chose to label them to give myself extra distance from identifying anything as “mine.” When we claim something as “mine,” it becomes a part of you and therefore it becomes really difficult to give up. And that’s what we’re trying to do, right- give up the bad feelings and move to something that feels better.
When I was feeling grumpy I labeled it by saying “It’s the grumpy feeling.” Or “I’m noticing the feeling of dissatisfaction.”
After labeling the feeling and giving myself a little distance, I get really curious. What is this feeling about? What caused it? Can I backtrack and find where it started? Are there any similarities to other times that I felt this way? What clues can I find about these thoughts and feelings?
As I get to know the negative feelings, I start to see patterns and the cause. When I was feeling grumpy this weekend, I did a body scan and memory scan and noticed I didn’t have anything particularly to feel grumpy about. But I did realize I burned a lot of calories on my long training run that morning. I get grumpy when I’m hungry. Ding ding ding!! Problem found and a solution was easy.
Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s great for you Sarah, that you were able to identify you were grumpy because you were hungry. But I have some really big stuff I’m dealing with. I’m feeling depressed most of the time. I’m tired. I have no energy. I just want to feel better.” I promise you that the process is exactly the same, even if the solution is different. It may take some time to get to the solution, but the process goes:
Identify. Name it and distance yourself. Get curious. Find the solution.
It sounds simple because it is. It isn’t always easy, and that’s the distinction. It asks you to be courageous enough to be completely honest with yourself.
To be clear, it’s not about going from feeling really crappy to totally joyful and in love in 60 seconds flat. Sometimes it’s about baby steps. You reach for feeling something that is just a tiny bit better than what you’re feeling right now. By baby stepping to get a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better you will soon find yourself feeling a whole lot better.
Here is my invitation to you. Share this post with a friend that is going through some negative emotions. Let them know you want to support them through their process, that you see the struggle and you are there for them. Offering your support and presence is the greatest gift you can give someone. I encourage you to do that today.
Did you find this blog post helpful? Do you want to increase the love in your life? It all starts with yourself, which is why I created a simple self love meditation. Claim yours here and get more love immediately.