Negative Emotions

I really like to follow different websites and facebook pages like Lifehack, Paradigm Shift, Tiny Buddha and many others.  I always get new perspectives, reinforce current beliefs and sometimes have beliefs overhauled and reworked.

Calling an emotion negative insinuates that it is bad and that a positive emotion is good.  I don’t believe this type of polarized thinking.  Negative emotions can be full of information about your inner workings just as much as positive emotions can.

A couple of days ago, Lifehack put out a post about getting rid of negative emotions.  I read the 9 points they posted and listened to what they had to say but felt like some major components were missing.

Negative Emotions are real, valid and important for learning more about oneself.  In my opinion, getting rid of negative emotions is unrealistic, impossible and in the long run detrimental.  It’s like saying you are going to go in the ring and never get hit.  What are you going to do when you actually do get hit?  How are you going to use the information to learn?  Bottom line, you are going to get hit… are going to experience negative emotions.

Below, I’ll list a few of the points in italics the webpage post made and then my take in bold on their advice.  Please read the original content in full at the following link:   Then, read my content and form your own opinion!

1.  STOP JUSTIFYING–First and foremostly, you need to stop justifying getting angry and upset over everything. Stop thinking that you’re entitled to be so negative, because you’re not. The only person responsible for this is you. Do you really want to become that cranky old man or woman that tells everyone they ever meet why everything is awful and why everyone sucks?

Justification-  Rather than just stop justifying, what is it that you are justifying.  Listen to what you are insisting is reasonable.  It must be something important to you.  You must be trying to get your own attention.  Something that matters to you is trying to be expressed and can tell you more about what you are feeling on a deeper level.  

2.  STOP MAKING EXCUSES:  You need to stop making excuses for both yourself and others. Perhaps you rationalize your own actions and why it’s okay for you to verbalize your anger. Or maybe you create explanations as to why other people deserve your anger. Either way, you’re trying to invent a socially acceptable explanation for your behavior. The only problem is that it probably isn’t acceptable and all it’s doing is keeping your negative emotions alive and making you miserable in the meantime. Eventually there will be no one left to care but yourself. Stop making yourself a victim. Really think about whether or not these other people have actually done anything wrong.

Verbalizing anger:  If you don’t verbalize it, then how are you going to hear what you are actually saying.  Anger is a valid expression with a value.  While it’s true that it isn’t socially acceptable to verbally assault others, trying to not verbalize an anger that is there usually results in a bigger blowout.  If you are feeling angry and blaming others, you probably aren’t going to be in a place where you can see if they have really done wrong or not.  If you are angry at something someone has done, it is more about the action done versus them doing it to you.  Hopefully you can really listen to the actual content of your anger versus the person who may or may not have caused it.  It is the content of your anger and the depth at which it affects you that makes you miserable versus the labeled negative emotion, anger.  And hopefully you are surrounded by people who care for you and can endure a bit of your barrage and you in turn endure theirs until what needs to be heard is heard.  We are in this experience together after all. 

 3.  START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY:  …….it’s time to take some responsibility for yourself and your actions. As soon as you do this, you will start depriving your negative emotions of the power they hold over you. What right do they have to your life anyway? Own your problems and your actions and stop blaming other people. It’s called being a happy, functional adult

I do agree with starting to take responsibility.  But, you can’t just stop blaming other people until you really know what you are blaming.  What are you protecting yourself from feeling by blaming?  If you start with your blame, then you are acknowledging that something  you feel deserves to be recognized.  Right now it feels like it’s because of someone else. It might be a little easier to see it if you throw it out on someone else before you back it up to yourself.  Again, here’s a place you have hopefully built a contingency of cohorts who are in this with you and will patiently listen to you blame.  Maybe they can give you different perspectives or help you figure out your own.  

RISE ABOVE OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS:  So I’ve done a lot of ranting about how you need to control your emotions and take responsibility. The truth is that this can be difficult when other people can actually be jerks, or if you care too much about what others think of you. You need to stop giving them so much power. Don’t let anyone but yourself define your self image and self worth. 

If a person “gets” to you with their opinions, it is typically because you already have their stated viewpoint on your own.  They are merely a reflection of what you already believe, so rather than rise above their opinions, thank them for saying out loud something you are probably already struggling with internally.  They just gave you a gift by making it known and now it is out there for you to investigate and do something.  A person could be a jerk to you, but if it isn’t something you are attached to, then it typically just slides off and you keep moving.  

Boxing is a very direct way to practice all the above points.  You take responsibility for your own performance or lack of it.  If someone is hitting you, it is because you are not implementing a skill you have learned or you need to learn a new way to deal with the incoming forces.  You can make excuses, blame, justify and do numerous other things, but ultimately it is up to you to protect yourself at all times.  It is up to you to learn and grow and increase your skills so you can handle anything that comes your way.  It is the same way in daily life.  It is up to you to listen to your experience, surround yourself with the community you want to affect and be affected by.  It is up to you to take responsibility for your life and negative emotions are a good tool to accomplishing responsibility.  They are a treasure chest of information.

Hope this perspective helps you and in the mean time, Box on and spar often.

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  1. Pingback: Blame | Quality of Life Ministries

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