Fleeting Happiness; Enduring Sadness?

Have you ever noticed that moments of happiness are often short lived, while less enjoyable feelings like sadness or anger can last what might seem a lifetime?
I don’t see too many folks getting hung up on joyful events, whereas it seems more common for someone to dwell on an experience that brings grief, anger, resentment, or other emotional pain.
I’d never given it much thought until browsing the bookstore yesterday I happened across this intriguing title: Working On Yourself Doesn’t Work.
The authors share three principles to transforming your life, including that

  • whatever we resist persists (we know that one well) 
  • you can only be with what is right now (theme of allowing, being present, and no judgment, although I could be remembering this one wrong)
  • and the third one I especially liked: Allowing yourself to be with it will complete it

With that third principle (which clients will recognize from the Tom Stone homework I often assign of feeling your feelings fully), the authors suggest releasing any agenda of getting rid of something, and rather letting yourself be with it fully.  Then whatever it is will complete.
They told a personal story that involved the experience of physical pain, but shared that we also see this with emotions as well.  Like how happiness is often fleeting, while sadness can last for weeks.  Or longer.
What’s gives?
The reason, they say, is that when we don’t let ourselves feel something or be fully present to what is, it will continue.  Conversely, when we do allow ourselves to feel it fully, it completes. 
(Whoa, thinking of the physical examples of orgasms vs. headaches.)
Anyway, since happiness is easy to feel fully, it completes faster than things like sadness or grief or anger which we might not be as willing to fully feel.
Interesting, huh?
Some of you have heard me tell the story about how I accidentally practiced this several yeras ago when my dog Sophie died at home: 

It was the first time one of my animals died at home when it was just the two of us.  Usually I’m either at the vet’s office, trying to keep it together.  Or the vet is at my house, and I’m trying to keep it together.  Or I’m with a (human) friend, trying to keep it together. 
This time there was no reason to keep it together.  After Sophie died at the front door, I walked to the back porch, sat down on the top step in the sun, hugged my knees to my chest, and let myself be sad.
I was REALLY sad.  I was so sad, I remember being in absolute awe of how sad I was.  I actually observed it with the thought, “Man, look how SAD I am!  I didn’t know anyone could BE this sad.  This is really sad!”
I felt it intensely; it was the saddest I’ve ever been. 
For about four minutes.
And then it was gone.
Just that like that.
There was no more sadness.  Instead, just peace.
It was really bizarre – and cool – that the sadness could be that strong, without being overwhelming.  And then be gone, just as fast as it came.

When I ran across Tom Stone’s “feeling fully” work a few years later, I realized that’s what I had accidentally practiced that day on the back porch.  I let myself feel the sadness all the way.
And when we do that, it completes pretty quickly.
I thought it was a useful awareness when it sometimes seems like happiness can be so fleeting while other feelings seem to drag on forever.  This seems like a pretty good key as to why that’s the case, and how we could work with it differently if we wanted to.
Anyone else have experience with this? 
Ha – or does anyone have any experience with resisting happiness to make it last longer?  (I’m not sure I even want to attempt that experiment.)

  • March 6, 2010
  • Tammy says:

    Hi again, I think it’s one thing to be aware of our emotions and inner thoughts, but another to think about them. It’s an extension of the Paradox of Hedonism: the more you analyse an emotion, the less you feel it. My friend said that it’s like trying to go to sleep by thinking about sleep. It’s one of those things that just happens. If you focus on the sadness, the sadness disappears; if you focus on the thing that makes you sad, then you get all the sadness you want. So, to live with happiness, all you have to do is think about interesting things, and not about happiness itself. Everybody gets sad, angry, frustrated, and so on sometimes; feel it, let it go, and don’t keep returning to the thing that made you feel that way.
    Right now, I feel like I have woken from a bad dream. I used to be happy most of the time, and I never used to feel pleasure or happiness was fleeting- it always seemed to last just the right length of time. Then, somehow, I got attached to things that made me happy, and before I knew it, I could hardly ever enjoy anything. After a lot of thinking, I finally realised that thinking is not the answer: just getting on with life is. The most miserable people I ever met were those who could not let things go: if they didn’t get something they wanted, they never forgot about it; and if they did get something, they tried to hold onto it for way too long. Either way, they were never satisfied. Now, I have awoken, but I feel a bit unsteady: I let go and feel happy, but occasionally I get the urge to grasp. But I know what to do, and with practice I will get better at it.
    By letting go, I don’t mean just forgetting. Rather, I think that everything that happens fills up our life house. Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t help go around their house picking up all the dirt and broken things and staring at them. I suppose a wise person picks up the broom and sweeps them out, and then contemplates the beautiful things, putting them down again when they are satisfied.
    If I understand you properly, then I guess we agree: it’s important to recognise our emotions so that we can find and continue to do things that make us happy, and stop doing things that make us unhappy. My caveat is that if you search too hard for your emotions, then you cannot feel them. But why search so hard for them, anyway? Pleasure and happiness only tell you that what you are doing is healthy, but they are not the purpose of living. As to what that might be, that’s going to be a whole other discussion 🙂

  • Jessica Earl says:

    Tammy, you make an interesting point! I like the re-frame of “fleeting unhappiness” as it reminds me that any pain I have IS fleeting!
    I’m curious about our focus though. On one hand, I understand how when we get “outta our heads” by being aware and start treasuring the world around us, then we can feel good; however the opposite is true as well. Being aware of our inner world, emotions, thoughts, etc, can lead us to a deeper understanding of the world around us. If we can’t be present within first, we can’t be present/aware of the external.

  • Tammy says:

    I don’t think happiness is fleeting. In fact, it can be durable and ongoing. Happiness is not an event, activity or a sensation; it is just what getting on with life makes you feel. Get stuck on something and you feel miserable (e.g., dwelling on a painful event or trying to hold on to something sweet); flow with life, and life flows. If you didn’t hold on to your pain, then maybe you could talk about “fleeting unhappiness” instead 🙂
    I have literally just realised that the less you concentrate on your own feelings (“are we having fun yet?”), and the more you focus on outside things (music, the taste and texture of food, other people, nature, daydreams, whatever) the better you feel. One could make a lot of money selling the “Secret of Happiness”, but I just want to give it away!

  • WaniT says:

    I think that when we accept a feeling for what it is, which is important, we need to make sure we don’t get stuck there. I think we need to accept it as “what is”, that we can’t change or control what we perceive is causing that bad feeling, so it just is. But I don’t want to stay in that feeling because its not much fun. Obviously we can stay there if we want to, but if I want to be experiencing something better I need to think and feel the very best I can of the current situation that is causing the feeling. Then I keep reaching for the next very best feeling until my focus has shifted, and I am now focused on how I do want to feel (who doesn’t want to feel great!), instead of the feeling that is not how I want to feel, which can keep feeding itself and growing if I stay there with it too long. Yes, see it and accept it for what it is, but if I don’t want to stay there I have to change my thoughts to change my feelings to change my reality. Accepting and being with it is great, but we would want to be careful not to stay there too long and so begin to believe it is our reality. (Oohhh, I’ve been stuck in depression for a long time in the past and I did end up believing thats who I was – but I realise now was just my manifested vibration, not the true me). But the way I feel at the moment, I don’t want to stay anywhere at all that doesn’t feel good, for any longer than is necessary. So as soon as I realise the thought that is dominating my bad feeling, and so my reality, I am changing my thought, to move on as soon as possible, back to feeling great and being positive.

  • Wyatt Jameson says:

    This seems to happen to me with anger. When I get mad, I jump up and down, stomp, scream, kick my bed, punch my bed, basically blow up. (I never hurt anyone, anything, or myself, though) Then after about a minute, peace. It’s impossible to be mad for quite some tine after that.
    Also, I can stay happy for hours upon hours if I lust reflect on everything good that is in my life. Then, instead of taking a break to fully savor the happiness, I move on to the next thing. All while carrying out my normal life. This keeps my in a unbelievably cheery mood all day!
    For example, right now I’m happy about my family, fruit yogurt, stereo headphones, and spell check.

  • Debbie Lattuga says:

    Everyone is trying to get rid of their baggage. But baggage has velcro. Only by being with it completely, can you slowly unhook it and let it go.
    So true, so true. You are very wise, Jeanette.

  • Coach T.I.A says:

    S’what struck me about the book “The Happiness Trap” – what we call happiness (emotions, reactions) is fleeting, fulfillment is not. And fulfillment looks quite different from our traditional views of what happiness looks like. I like that fine distinction, makes so much sense to me!

  • Leah Bach says:

    I was really stuggling with this one. I had something in my life that I really needed a shift on. After reading all of your thoughtful comments, I realized that I needed to sit (and accept) my discomfort. I keep busy, I didn’t want to give it the attention. I had tried changing it and flipping it around but nothing worked.
    Then I had a chance to recreate the “worst” of the feeling. I realized that one of the triggers for my feeling was the “ballooomp” noise my iphone makes when an email comes in. The sound “baloomp” caused an area in my sternum to lurch.
    So, I sat with that. I didn’t turn on the phone, I didn’t read my incoming “baloomp”… I sat with the feeling in my sternum. But what mattered was it broke, like a fever.
    The Dr. tells me that a fever needs to be high because it is when the healing occurs. Maybe, it’s like a fever that “cooks” a virus and is a natural process. My thought was without feeling that fever, I was doomed to suffer longer.
    Really, truly feel better for feeling what I was scared to feel.

  • livingtheloa says:

    I *believe* there are as many ways as there are people to let go of or work through a certain unwanted emotion or feeling and giving over to it and fully feeling it certainly can be effective. If I choose to use that as my path, I prefer to set a time limit with a goal of not carrying the same vibration into a new day. If my mood the next day is only one step higher on the vibrational scale, that’s okay. I’m still moving in the right direction and eventually know I will find my way back to the Vortex. Setting the right intention before going to sleep works wonders for me and usually sends me several rungs up the ladder.
    But I wonder if giving over to anger, grief, sorrow and other similar emotions makes us feel as if we have worked through them more quickly simply because the contrast to feeling better is so great? When i feel really, really angry, the contrast of even one step up the emotional ladder feels HUGE. So it’s not that I necessarily “completed” the emotion or feeling (nothing is ever completed, right?) – it’s just that I created such delicious contrast that I FELT the transition up the emotional scale a lot more VIVIDLY. Even though I may not enJOY them at the time, feeling true anger/grief/frustration and even (misperceived) hatred allows me to know and feel true joy/happiness/peace and love.
    Ultimately, my goal is to feel as good as I can possibly feel as often as I can possibly feel it. If feeling really, really bad gives me the contrast I need to feel really, really GREAT, then I’m all for doing that. Occasionally. And maybe that’s why I attract or create the situations or events that arise to give me those feelings in the first place?

  • Mitch, yes!! I haven’t read all of the other comments, but what you said is spot-on in my opinion. Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks talk a lot about getting in touch with the physical sensations in your body that are associated with particular feelings, and just observing them as they are, while *completely* bypassing the story in your mind. Once you break it down, feelings are just energy patterns we hold in our bodies in a particular way. If you can tune into that and forget about the stories behind the emotions, you’ll find that the emotions just release and clear up immediately. Once that happens, the story won’t even occur to you anymore!

  • Mitch says:

    Interesting point, Brigitte. And great response, Nicole!
    What this brings to mind for me is what Tom Stone and others have said when they talk about fully experiencing your feelings. Often when we feel really overwhelmed by a feeling, it has two components: the physical sensation and the mental story that comes with it.
    If I’m depressed, chances are I feel heaviness in my body or tension in my chest. Negative emotions always come with a physical feeling. But they usually come with a story too like, “This is never going to get better” or “I deserve to feel this way” or “I’m just not good enough.” It’s the story that we tend to get stuck in and perpetuate, so the feeling itself can’t process.
    When I want to feel a feeling fully, I will repeat the story long enough to get the physical feeling fired up, and then I ditch the story and go right down into the feeling. The more I can look at my emotions as physically oriented and leave that darn story behind, the faster I can work through them. Shakti Gawain suggests feeling your pain fully while at the same time holding a conscious awareness that this story doesn’t serve you anymore and you are ready to let it go. It can be tricky, but it’s good stuff.
    So that’s my two cents.

  • Nicole says:

    Brigitte – We can fall into thought patterns that have served us some benefit at one point, and then it becomes a habit to participate in them. You believed you were naturally depressed, and therefore were. Now you are obviously at a new state, your true self must have known that the truth you believed was a lesson on your path, not the destination.
    It seems as if depression is more of a state of being, rather than an emotion. But perhaps, there was a pivotal point in your life that you suppressed your emotions and didn’t live them out fully. In turn, the depression became a constant.
    A key step in LOA is recognizing what you want first. There have been moments when I’ve faced the dark truth that I want to be ’emo.’ There is great bliss in rolling around in the muck, harboring hate and negativity. I like to call it the Anakan/Darth Complex…
    The funny thing is when I would beat myself up for feeling that way, it would only get worse. Now, I embrace that side of me (my best music & art is created in this state) and have learned to go into solace when I feel that way, so as not to drag others down with me.

  • Brigitte says:

    I agree, Jeanette, that we shoul allow ourself be as sad as we have to be to complete it.
    But I have a doubt. See, I had depression for about 3 years and I allowed myself being sad most of the time. But it came the day that I realized that I was, somehow, addicted to sadness. Not that I LIKED being sad, and not that I liked to be seen sad (in fact, I hated it). But I was addicted to that feeling, and it was no longer a feeling, it was a STATE. I pretty much believed it was my natural state of being. (EPIC UNIVERSAL FAIL)
    Did I allow it… too much???

  • sophia says:

    Hi Jeanette and GoOd Vibe readers!
    I love this topic and all your wonderful insights. It’s inspiring and I feel a sense of comfort of being home because I can connect and relate to all of you. Great tips everyone!
    Thanks Jeanette for creating a place for all like-minded people to gather and pour their hearts out.
    My turn! hehe. Hopefully you guys don’t mind if I hog the page for a bit, its a bit long but hopefully it is as insightful as all yours.
    Here’s my personal story that I’d like share.
    While I was growing up I was always told that I was too sensitive. Which was partially true. I was sensitive too to people’s comments and took it to heart quite easily. The part that was untrue which I didn’t know was that, it wasn’t wrong to feel it too much b/c that’s what brings us relief which i didn’t learn until later in life.
    When I did feel any kind of emotions, I felt them quite strongly, so strong it felt like it was 10x’s more than the next person. Growing up with an a culture than rarely
    shares their emotions I too, thought that I shouldn’t feel or cry. Crying I couldn’t avoid but feeling I did however did my best to avoid.
    Avoidance only led me to my depression as an adult and caused it linger longer than it needed to.
    After 10 yrs of being unhappy with myself and feeling “stuck” I finally had enough. Enough of feeling sorry for myself, enough of placing blame on others and myself for PAST choices that lead to my unhappiness, enough of crying to myself to sleep many nights, enough of suicidal thoughts.
    I thought that ending it all would bring me peace b/c then.. I wouldn’t have to feel the excruciating pain that I felt day in and day out.
    Once I allowed myself to go through all of my roller coaster of emotions, and then DECIDING I had enough was when I went out and seek help from counselors and friends for support.
    The one statement that stuck out with one of my Counselor was “Do something, anything that will make you feel good. Even if it is as small as putting makeup on.” this is before I ever heard of Law of attraction.
    This statement surfaced when I felt ready to move forward with my life, what came to my mind next was SHOPPING! LOL.
    Which was odd b/c I use to hate shopping prior to the depression. I was a little overweight and couldn’t find pants that would fit me right. The back would have a gap probably b/c I had too much junk in my trunk. LOL
    Anyways, I think I felt inspired to do this b/c I had lost 20lbs throughout my years of depression. The fear that surfaced from this inspiration was: “OMG I would have to shop alone, I can’t bring someone with me. I will just bring them down. What would people say? Oh wait. I KNOW. They will think I’m such a loner!” but thank God/universe the thought of fitting into summer clothes outweighed my fear. It created excitement for me and I did it!
    I killed 3 birds with one stone. I overcame my fear of shopping alone. I overcame my depression which was a major breakthrough in my life. Which I have never gone back to feeling “stuck” in that state of mind again. I have short bouts of it and shake it off once I allow myself to feel what I need to feel in that moment that I’m aware that I’m off balance.
    What was funny was that I enjoyed that breakthrough so much I didn’t realize it was until I woke up the next day feeling better and better each day. All I was happy
    about that day was that I managed to go home with a whole new wardrobe that made me feel great about myself b/c everything fit just perfectly!
    I was happy Gal from that day forward. For the most part. LOL. I have my days, we all do. When we stop beating ourselves and allowing and accepting ourselves to be the human beings we are, we are able to feel peace within ourselves.
    It’s amazing how things turn out when we stop to listen to our innate desires, we then feel peace and everything seems to magically fall into place.

  • Mitch says:

    Ding ding! I made a decision about a week ago to start working with Tom Stone’s ideas again. I love how your posts sync up with my life. 🙂
    In a book by Shakti Gawain she suggests a similar exercise, and she states that often when we give in and fully feel a painful emotion, we receive insights about how that pattern got started in the first place. So in addition to feeling better, this is a great exercise in self discovery.

  • leslie richter says:

    There is such grace to your story Jeannette.
    I think we have two bodies, a spiritual body and a physical body and we have grace when our spiritual body is at the helm, when we come from spiritual awareness allowing the physical body to feel the feelings.
    Where there can be a difference with this experience is when you have the physical body leading the way – The physical body buys into the story and perpetuates the drama. Where as when you approach it with spiritual awareness the body does it’s thing and the energy flows in a healthy meant to be way.
    I know you had a strong spiritual connection with Sophie and because of that you were able to let go. The body buys into the sorrow and the gremlin’s talk about loss, while the spirit knows love never dies. And so once in awhile we have these incredible moments where we know the spiritual truth and feel the physical truth.
    I think this is the difference between processing things with lightening speed to dragging it on and feeling it forever. It’s that subtle Mack truck called awareness and it makes a difference who is driving.

  • danae says:

    Another great Post!
    I love the title of the book ‘Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work’! I completely agree. As someone who has related to herself as a total f@#$ up for most of adult life – I have only in the past few years decided that enough is enough. Self-help seems to perpetuate what I call Heroic Overcoming – which in turn constellates the archetype ‘Victim’ within.
    the other thing that struck me about this post is the beautiful concept of feeling all feelings fully… which is a challenge in a world where we are taught that feelings – any feeling aside from happiness – are inappropriate, dangerous, scary. Many of us (I am learning), myself included, have been trained out of being able to identify what feelings ARE. Its hard to feel something fully and allow it when you don’t know what it IS. So there’s a process of getting to know what is going on, where in the body there’s a felt sense, what it is related to, and then to let it have its fullness.
    I love the Sedona Method – but where I struggle is the ‘letting go’. How does that feel??! After a lifetime of stuffing down, letting go is hard to experience.
    I better get down to that right now 🙂
    d x

  • Nicole Cody says:

    And here it is. Channeled message from Amon.
    Carolyn, Dear One,
    This is Amon. What gentle miracles are unfolding in your life this week! You are indeed shifting and moving back into flow, so it is natural that as you do this, things come to your conscious awareness so that you may simply acknowledge them. And that is all that is
    required. As these memories and experiences and emotions come up in front of you, just FEEL THEM FULLY.
    When you allow yourself to feel an experience or emotion fully, without limiting or judging or repressing or seeking to modify, the experience and emotion resonates and then dissapates, making room for
    the new.
    Let me explain so that you can really understand me. Imagine you are cold and tired. You have a hot beverage in front of you. You hold the mug in your hands and it is warm and reassuring. You take a sip and
    oh! The smell is divine. The warm liquid passes over your tongue, warming your mouth and delighting your senses. It is delicious! You close your eyes in a moment of pleasure as you enjoy the taste and sensation, and you let out a small sigh of pleasure. You may even
    stretch your body out a little. Aaaaah, that feels good. That feels better.
    And then the moment is over, and you are well satisfied and content.
    It is highly likely the moment will soon be forgotten. Or at least
    left behind.
    Now imagine something unpleasant. A man you don’t like is drunk. He has rough whiskers and sour breath. He kisses you and forces his
    tongue in your mouth.You are shocked. You resist him. You are angry and repulsed. So many thoughts and feelings. You push him away. The whole incident lasts just a moment, but seems so much longer.
    Days later, you are still reliving this experience, angered by it, saddened by it, sickened by it, or whatever else it brings forth for you. You may well analyse it. Why did he do it? Did I encourage it? Should I report it? Do I say something? Do I take revenge or punish him somehow?
    Years later you may still think about it, or something will suddenly bring it back to the forefront of your consciousness after it has lain dormant and forgotten for years.
    Any experience and emotion not fully felt, can also not be released. That is often why happiness seems fleeting, and unhappiness so much more lasting.
    The message in all of this? Whatever the situation, whatever the emotion, give yourself over to it fully. Allow yourself to become fully immersed in it – without censorship or judgement. Just allow yourself to deeply and fully FEEL whatever comes up for you. Then
    WHATEVER the emotion, you will fully experience it and be able to easily move on. And move back to your natural state of flow, or more deeply into flow.
    This is evidence of great progress, Carolyn.
    Know that you are deeply loved.

  • Nicole Cody says:

    Hi Jeanette, I read the title of your latest blog post and it kept resonating… Couldn’t work out why at first. Then I realised. I channeled something using the same expression of ‘fleeting happiness’ just two days before, as part of a mentoring group I”m running. They’d been asking about how to clear blocks.
    I just love this synchronicity, and the power of your words and message. And how so many of us are manifesting the same insights and delights. Just beautiful. I’ll see if I can dig it up and post it for you.
    Loving your work!

  • MissyB says:

    Why were we given emotions ? Not to just label them I hope. 🙂
    They are there to be felt and I like what has been written here to help me feel them.
    I’m off to feel the need for chocolate…and hope it passes quickly !

  • Jenny says:

    Thanks for your reply, Jeannette. I’m excited just thinking about it. Do you have a book or website reference for the specific Tom Stone stuff you’re referencing? I’m always up for new resources.

  • Jason D. Kirton says:

    Hello Jeanette and Friends,
    I am one of those readers who enjoys the conversation without actually participating, but today I actually have something to share, and not just learn. For many years I have followed the writings of Barbara Sher, starting with her first book “Wishcraft”, she taught me how to wish, and then how to craft the wish into reality, much more nuts and bolts work than LOA, but they both work really well together. Jeanette, your post brought back to my memory a technique that that Barbara calls the “Hard Times Journal”. You get a journal, and in it you vent, you let out every nasty, mean thing you could never say to someone else, in fact you try to be creative in your complaining and venting, you make it fun, and by the end of your entry, the emotions have played themselves out, and you are smiling and laughing at the situation. Its similar to the letter technique mentioned above. Once you are done, its your choice to save the entry, or to burn it. I find that burning it works for me. Plus it get rid of the evidence, because no one needs to read the garbage that we take out of our minds. 😉
    Thanks for bringing this back to my awarness Jeanette.

  • JLAChereIam says:

    Oops! Sorry – Jeanette.
    Thanks none the less though!!!

  • JLAChereIam says:

    Hi Janette,
    Just want to say thanks for this post.
    I’m in the middle of reading Brandon Bay’s book “The Journey.” I was especially moved by her story of how she first discovered going through her layers and down to Source by practicing the idea of not moving, and just letting be completely present to an intense negative emotion. And once through to Source, there she found completion.
    And before I read your post, I was eyeing something else from you on Four Short Steps for manifesting change, with first step being to “feel our feelings” so they don’t get stuck inside.
    And then your post.
    The Universe doesn’t need to hit me over the head three times for me to see that I’ve got some things I need to feel fully.
    Ok, no more than three times 😉

  • Christine Jenkins says:

    Hi Jeanette,
    I love the post. It’s really true that to feel things fully, is the best way to release them – not to dwell on the story of them, and to keep going over that, but to let your body lead you to fully experience it. It’s such a relief when you eventually let release something that you have been carrying around for years.

  • WaniT says:

    Has anyone tried revising thier day (Neville Goddard). I’ve tried it once. I said something to someone a couple of weeks ago that I realised was damaging, not to the other person but to my own path. So I revised it. In my imagination the conversation started as it actually happened, but instead of repeating the damaging comment, I changed it to talking about the weather. Normally I would keep replaying my mistake in my mind over and over continuing on a downward spiral for maybe a week or more. This time, each time the gremlins brought it up, instead of letting it replay, I replayed my imagined scenario. I only had to do this about 3 times and it was gone! I don’t know that I changed the other persons reality but for me it was far better than carrying around the negativity for days on end and living in the depression it would have taken me to. It worked for me!

  • Maria says:

    P.S. Jeannette, I love the pictures you use to illustrate the topic you discuss! They are always a perfect reflection of the saying “a picture has a thousand words”.

  • Maria says:

    Very interesting topic and comments! I haven’t had much personal struggle with this type of resistance but I’ve had a question around this issue that I could not find a good answer to for a while. I work with people from different communities and a tendency to dwell on unhappy events, even if they happened long time ago has been very puzzling to me. For example for several years now I hear people having huge family and even community gatherings when someone passes away. Then family members continue to feel depressed and talk about the death of this person for years and years. I couldn’t understand why anyone would “choose” to be affected by the past for such long time. At the same time I’ve never heard a happy event like the birth of a child or a wedding being the reason for such a gathering or celebration. Needless to say that the members of these communities have lots of issues around depression, alcohol and drug abuse etc. It’s almost like a community “emotional cultural distortion”. Not being able to let go and resisting the sadness or the fear or whatever the unpleasant emotion may have been just suddenly fits this picture perfectly. It’s like people are stuck in “I don’t want to feel the pain” and keep on feeling it none the less.
    I feel like the next time I interact with someone who is still in the grip of a sad event I will suggest that he/she allow to fully experience the emotion and see if this would help them get over it. Unfortunately most of these people are not big readers, so it’s unlikely that they would benefit from a recommendation to read any of the books mentioned above.
    Such great idea! I can’t wait to see if I can help someone feel better!

  • Neha Wasnik says:

    Hey Jeanette,
    I practice the law myself and I am sometimes wondering how do I let my instincts or intuition of something ahead in life or existing in present come into reality as I am living? I can sense something that is about to take place like for eg my business profits are gonna soar high and it happens too but how to I make it realise in life without the anxiety of not knowing when ?

  • Janette says:

    Holy Toledo!!!
    After my comment above, I went ahead and used Tom’s technique on that ancient terror, which I was pretty sure first showed up when I was around 7 years old.
    During the process, it really really hurt – intense, physical choking pain – and I haven’t sobbed like that for years. It was difficult at first not to resist, but I allowed it to flow through me, even having that feeling of “OMG nobody has EVER felt this bad in the history of the world”… and once I let go, it moved through me so fast!
    I kid you not, it took less than 10 minutes from start to finish – and half a box of tissues, LOL!!! – but that old fear has GONE. I feel nothing but peace when I reflect on the triggering event and the subsequent chain of emotions and beliefs that had me so stuck.
    From experience, I know that in another few days I’ll struggle to remember what it was all about, and the only record will be what I journalled immediately afterwards.
    There is an immense difference between dwelling on past troubles, and feeling them fully. Conscious thought had nothing to offer me. I needed to heal my heart, and while that old stuff was still hiding there, I couldn’t. Now I feel utterly liberated!!
    And I’m patting myself on the back for manifesting you reminding me about Tom’s work!! Heheheheh.

  • Jessica says:

    Just a quick note before I go off to bed… can’t wait to come back and read the comments!
    Because I know the benefits of non-judging (as we all discussed on the chocolate cake issue) I find myself resisting feeling my feelings when it comes to being angry with someone, and I don’t like judging someone. Although, recently, there have been occasions where I shoot off a rip-roaring pissed off email venting to my sister about something (because I know she gets it) and it just goes away. I forget I was even mad or upset! It has been eye opening for me! I guess the right person won’t follow you down the rabbit hole and allow you to dwell and make it all dramatic. My sister is good at just saying “yeah! That’s right!” haha. Then she makes some joke about it and we laugh. I can’t do that with others like I can her. So this is new for me, as I never want to have negative feelings toward someone, as I know I can probably be just as annoying! haha. Anyhow, it is a good thing to find the balance between feeling it fully and dwelling. It may be a hard distinction sometimes, right?!
    And I’m not sure I’ve resisted happiness in the good way. I know there have been times in my life where I felt guilty for feeling happy, so I resisted it… but it just created more conflict so for some reason I don’t think it works the other way around! I’ve seen people who hold on to the “good ol days”… like every weekend telling the same funny stories from their youth. It is one thing to re-live a great moment, but every week? Every party or family gathering?! And really, it just ends up seeming like tortured souls who can’t move on!! Do you know what I mean? Like the HS football star who at 45 still thinks he’s in HS playing football. So to me, even though they are trying to make happiness last longer, they are really just making themselves sadder by not living in today, wishing it could be like it used to be. So, no matter what, it seems we should feel it and move on! There will be just as many more happy moments to come!

  • Jenny, I think you’re onto something good with that!
    In fact, in the book they told a story about a leg burn from a hot motorcycle exhaust, and how the pain was so excruciating that she could barely walk and only sob, but they practiced this technique and it disappeared.
    On my facebook page in response to this post, Melanie said, “Anything felt fully becomes bliss.” When Meg challenged her on that in regard to migraines, Melanie posted this in response:
    “Actually Meg I used to, it is how I healed that. Now, if I get a headache I move into it fully, feeling every bit it, completely surrendering to it, I haven’t had a headache last for more than a few minutes since I started to practice this. It may work for you too. I sure hope so:-)”
    Cool stuff!
    Thanks for reading and especially for posting, Jenny. 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    Perfect timing, Jeannette. I had a killer headache for hours and had just been ready to try a new tact because lying in bed and advil hadn’t made a difference. I picked up my phone as a distraction and saw your post. I immediately went to the couch to feel it through. Now it’s nearly gone.
    I am a big believer in feeling emotions fully, and I have experienced amazing things when I let myself be angry or sad or afraid until it’s all gone. It was quite new and a bit odd the first few times, but now I know it is the way to what I want. I haven’t had as much luck with physical things, but it seems like today started a new trend. Thank you!
    Is there a particular book by Tom Stone that you recommend? I’d love to check it out.

  • Barbara, I wonder what the difference is? Because I’m sure others can relate to the experience you shared here.
    I’m super curious about that … if anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them.
    And Robin, isn’t that the truth?! A little LOA knowledge just inspires many to avoid the “negative” feelings even more. I know I did for a while. 🙂
    Thanks for posting, you two!

  • Robin says:

    wow, that is so true! It’s a classic example of what you resist, persisting! I mean what’s the first thing I want to do if I feel bad (especially in light of some LOA knowledge) “ooh, gotta get rid of this, it’s bad!” soemtimes that translates to trying to deny it or ignore it…Another great post, thanks.

  • Barbara says:

    Hmmmm…interesting ideas here. I will be honest in saying that on passionate emotional issues that are really important to us, I’m not sure that sitting with it helps. In fact, I think it could make it worse, because letting it go is a challenge, when you still are passionate and emotional about it all.
    I speak from a place of personal experience on an issue that I sat with night after night, some years ago. I truly felt it fully–over and over and over again. It was depressing, actually and my constant attention to it gave it the energy to make it bigger! It only made things miserable for me. It took me a few years to figure out that I needed to approach it from a different angle, even though the issue was and is still part of my “physical reality.”
    Sorry if I’m sounding vague–yes, it’s intentional on my part–It’s still an issue, obviously, although it’s not as intense as before. (I still have work to do on this one.)

  • I get it, Kimberly! That being able to laugh about it so quickly after letting yourself be upset about it – been there, done that!
    Kinda cool, huh?!
    Especially the way that unfolded (with the gift card)!
    These are exactly the kinds of examples I thought would help others understand that this stuff works in practice, not just theory.
    Thank you for posting, and congrats on your new site (if this is the Kimberly I think it is)! 🙂

  • Kimberly says:

    This is so interesting. I love it. Last weekend my boyfriend and I had verbal confrontation with a mean, irrational man. It was out of the blue, shocking, and boy was I angry. When we finally were on our way, I tried to swallow the emotions, but they kept bubbling back up so I finally just allowed myself to feel offended, angry, frustrated, blah blah blah and then it was over.
    The next day I was able to laugh about the situation and now I think back on it with humor and with a bit of empathy for the man.
    Two days after the showdown we received a Starbucks card in the mail with no return address and only initials as a signature. My boyfriend, the detective, figured out that it was from the angry man’s wife. She sent it as an apology.
    Funny how it all worked out. Great post!!!

  • What a lovely habit to grow up with, Sue!
    That also explains a lot about you. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing that story about your brother, in particular. I’ve got this funny feeling it’s one I’m going to remember for years.

  • Sue says:

    This has been so good for me to read.
    I didn’t fully realize what a good “Milking it for all it’s worth” person my mother was.
    She may not have been perfect at creating her dream life, or going with the flow as much as she would have preferred, but…………..
    she was extremely good at rehashing good times, and reliving funny experiences. In turn we all became good at it too, always remembering funny stuff from old camping trips or holidays, whatever……
    She would even reminisce about how my brother, who was 8 at the time, summoned out to the limo driver to wait for us, when he was there to pick us all up for our own fathers funeral.
    (and also how he yelled out that he wanted a window seat, which he was pretty assured in a limo)
    She milked it, no matter what it was, and I can honestly say that our happy has always lasted longer than our sadness, due to her innate knowing that laughter was the better choice.
    I was a very lucky kid to have that!

  • Greg, when I read your post, it reminded me of how dogs – well, animals in general – don’t linger too much on things. They have their fight, they shake it off, and minutes later someone’s licking the other’s ear. lol
    I’ve experienced it myself, the tremendous relief when I just let myself be really mad. It’s like Laura said, “and then it’s gone.”
    Thanks for reminding us of the letter writing tip, Greg. That can be super effective in feeling the feelings!

  • And that’s not a bad process, is it, Laura? I mean, there’s nothing that scary about really feeling it out, is there?
    And the benefits – HUGE!
    Very cool you’ve been this way all along. I like to think you’ve inspired others with your example!
    (Well, it’s happening here, for sure.)
    Thanks, Laura!

  • Laura says:

    Jeannette, as I was reading this I was thinking…OMG makes total sense. First I thought about the orgasm/headache analogy from a “well, we focus on having the headache that we don’t want…etc. and was like, no, that’s not it…. – although it may have something to do with why heachaches linger, but in regards to feeling fully I can totally relate to this.
    I tend to be the kind of person who always wanted to FEEL through whatever I was going through and not look for escapism which is why drugs/alchohol never appealed to me. I didn’t want to escape it, I wanted to feel it more. I was like this from a very young age. So what happens for example when am going through a break-up is I grieve…talk about it to whoever will listen to me..go through all the feelings and then…gone. Done. Usually does not last more than 2 weeks. It’s like..ok, I am sad, disappointed, whatever and time to get the equilbrium back and move ahead.
    Another great topic Jeannette!

  • I’m thinking of having another listen, myself, truth be told, Janette. (To Tom Stone’s work on that.)
    Auretha and Nick were telling me yesterday about one of Gay Hendricks’ books that was about feeling fully, too, but I can’t remember the title.
    Anyone else know?
    Thanks for posting, Janette – always a pleasure to see you here!!

  • Janette says:

    Oh, get out of my brain!!! No, don’t – it’s too much fun having you there 😉
    I’d forgotten the Tom Stone work and it’s precisely what I needed to remember, after butting heads with an ancient terrifying but completely irrational fear yesterday. The old pattern may never leave, but my fear of the fear has kept me from completing it.
    Rock ‘n’ roll! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend… 🙂

  • Greg Blencoe says:

    I just remembered that another effective way to move past negative events quickly is to write a letter to somebody but don’t mail it. This can work really well when you are angry at somebody, but you have kept your feelings bottled up inside.
    For whatever reason, putting the words on paper has the effect of releasing the feelings from inside yourself. While I have only done this once, it was very effective. I felt quite good once I had completed the letter and never had any lingering negative feelings after that time.

  • Greg Blencoe says:

    What a fantastic post.
    It is quite interesting that moments of happiness do indeed seem to last only a short time. But the more negative feelings seem to get replayed over and over (and over!) in our heads.
    The concept of fully feeling the sadness or anger in order to make it go away makes a lot of sense to me. Honestly, I probably cry a few times a year. However, I’ve noticed that I always feel better after I do. Perhaps I would be wise to let myself cry a little more instead of holding back!
    I also completely agree that feeling bad is often due to focusing on the past or the future. The drama in our heads that is constantly replayed seems to usually be a lot worse than the actual event that happened in the past or could happen in the future.
    Thanks for the very insightful post! I’m going to do my best to start fully feeling the negative events soon after they happen, so I can move on to happier places mentally.

  • Yeah, when I read your first paragraph, Theresa, it made me think of the traditional wisdom: “The way OUT is THROUGH.”
    I love how you recognized your resistance on top of the resistance and gave it up! WOO HOO!!
    And I couldn’t agree more about how those negative feelings often come from living in the past or projecting into the future. Practicing being present in the current moment would alleviate much of that automatically, wouldn’t it?
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights here, Theresa. MUCH appreciated!

  • This makes so much sense in the light of “what we resist persists”. If we are trying to resist feeling bad, it’s just going to create more bad feeling. If we feel it fully, maybe that truly is the key to letting the bad feeling go.
    Recently, I had an experience that speaks to this. My husband has MS which is a progressive disease. He had an attack which indicates the MS has progressed significantly. This brought up a lot of crap for me all of which were simply imagined lizard fears. But, I noticed that I was beating myself up for feeling bad in the first place. “I’m a life coach, I’m not supposed to feel this bad. I’m supposed to be able to coach myself around this. I have to be strong.” Yada, yada, yada.
    When I realized what I was telling myself and how it was making me feel and act, I stopped and allowed myself to be in the moment and feel miserable WITHOUT judgment. I was just sad. And then, it was gone moments later.
    I think that we do not have a resistance to feeling happy (or at least most of us don’t 🙂 so we can be in the moment with it. We can feel it, we can accept it, revel in it, and let it go. Maybe we somehow know and trust that it will come back. Feeling bad, however, seems to often be the result of living in the past or the projecting into the future which seems to draw all that bad emotion to the moment which we don’t want to revel in. It seems easier to deny it than feel it.
    This is sooooo very interesting. I can tell this one is going to be with me awhile! Thanks Jeannette!

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